Charlotte Yates is a Wellington-based singer-songwriter who has released five albums of solo material to date. Her songs have been heard on Shortland Street, Jackson's Wharf and The Strip; Yates has composed music for children's shows What Now? and Giggles.
Her single Red Letter, from debut album Queen Charlotte Sounds (1991), was an APRA Silver Scroll finalist. Yates also spent time alongside Jackie Clarke and Robin Nathan in comic musical group When the Cat's Been Spayed. The group released two albums and appeared on TV commercials for Lotto.
From 1993 to 1996 Yates was based in Melbourne, where she studied Contemporary Music Technology and Composition at La Trobe University. During this period she was also director of the Melbourne Fringe Arts Festival for two years. Before returning to NZ, Yates recorded second album The Desire and the Contempt.
Thirty of her lyrics were published in the 1999 book One Lady Driver. The same year Yates appeared in the short film Rolling, Rolling. Her lyrics also feature in How You Doing, an anthology of NZ comic verse.
A year later Yates co-ordinated and produced Baxter, a compilation CD of James K Baxter's poetry, set to music by Kiwi recording artists. The roll call ran to 12, including Dave Dobbyn, Emma Paki, Sam Hunt and Yates herself. Live performances of Baxter featured in the NZ Festival 2000, followed by arts festivals in Taranaki, Christchurch and Hamilton.
Yates also toured extensively with late singer/songwriter Mahinarangi Tocker. In 2002, they released live album Touring. After performing at the Christchurch Arts Centre, Yates returned for two months as Artist-in-Residence.
Yates was commissioned by arts organisation Toi Māori Aotearoa to produce Tuwhare, a compilation CD which applied the Baxter format to the poetry of Hone Tuwhare. Tuwhare was released in May 2005, showcasing Tuwhare's words against a range of musical platforms, from rock to dub. Yates also worked with director Lala Rolls on the short companion film Tuwhare, to mark the album's launch. Rolls later used footage as part of the multi-media imagery accompanying a live concert of Tuwhare at the 2006 NZ International Festival of the Arts, and the 2007 Auckland Festival. Yates directed.
The 2011 Auckland Arts Festival saw the debut of a similiar project, this time based on lyrics written by Whale Rider author Witi Ihimaera. NZ Herald reviewer William Dart called the show "fascinating and provocative". Yates worked again with Lala Rolls on a documentary about the Ihimaera project.
charlotteyates.com Website. Accessed 2 April 2015
William Dart, 'Arts Festival Review: Ihimaera'- NZ Herald, 5 March 2011 Accessed 8 April 2011