Maxim Meyer-Horn

4 Oct
Music

Interview: Meet Celeste, London’s Most Interesting Upcoming Soul Singer

Sometimes, you hear a voice and feel all the emotions put into a song. That was the case when we discovered the British soul singer Celeste this summer. The 24-year-old artist rose to stardom these past few months thanks to her insane voice that will help her get to the top very soon. After a short walk from the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels to our studio, we learned some interesting things about the singer.

Hi Celeste, how are you?

Thanks, I’m good. Thank you for bringing me here.

You’ve started your career without a big label. Why did you decide to change that?

That’s a good question. Actually, I’ve been writing for quite awhile and I had some music I felt confident and proud of. I just wanted it to be delivered to the world in a way that I didn’t had the opportunity before. 

You grew up in the UK, where you developed your love for music. Who has inspired you as a teenager?

Most of my inspiration came from when I was as young as three years old until now. The thing that really stuck in my head and is the most significant are the singers I heard when I was about eight. Those were soul singers like Tammi Terrell, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. Aretha Franklin as well, because that was the music my family was listening to.

I think, when you’re a child, that’s the first music you hear and then when you grow into a teenager, you hear the music of your peers and what they like to listen to. But those were the singers that taught me how to sing and sort of made me discover my voice because I would just sing along to them. I kept doing that until someone was like, “You can do that!”. 

You blend poetry with soul and R&B. What makes it so powerful in your opinion?

I think the language in poetry can be very powerful and it feels like you can say a lot more. I know a band called Fontaines DC. They’re very inspired by poets and they kind of see themselves in that way. They’re a band I love listening to.

Poetry is a bit closer to the rhythm of your speaking voice, so you can kind of say more and get more words out, whereas singing a melody kind of, sometimes, puts a limit on how much you can say. That’s, for example, why rappers can say so much more, because their rhythm allows them to. I think, when you sometimes write in that form, you can kind of deliver so much more clear narrative that has a story from start to finish. It’s more laid out.

You have the gift to tell a story with your voice. Is it difficult for you to put deep emotions in a song?

When I’m about to write a song, I just let it naturally come out as it wants to. If that’s a day that I might be feeling really empowered, or might feel really sad, I let my body speak for itself. Some days, it’s hard because it doesn’t really want to come to the surface. But most of the time, in the music I’ve written, it all came quite naturally.

A live show is completely different compared to a studio environment. How do you try to create a special live experience?

I’m kind of lucky in a way compared to some people that my music is written from a live perspective anyway. When we’re in a room writing, we’re kind of jamming with different musicians and then bring it all together in the end. It translates quite easily to a live show where I can have a band. My early music was much more electronic, so when it came to a live show, it didn’t sound like the record. Whereas now, it sounds a lot closer to it and than there’s an interpretation that I think I prefer live shows sometimes. There’s a lot more freedom to different things, which I love.

You want to make music that sounds timeless. How do you approach this?

I don’t know if I have the answer to that question yet, because there are a lot of artists that have reinvented themselves over the decades and that’s somehow maybe also why they have survived the test of time. But for me, as long as I still like the music myself when I’m performing it one, two or eventually ten years later, I think that’s the way for longevity. As long I feel like what I’m saying is honest to myself at that moment in time, I’m sure that I’m able to keep singing it. Hopefully, that means that people still listen to it.

Lately is your most recent project. What did you want to showcase with the EP?

The first song I wrote for the EP is “Both Sides Of The Moon” and in that song I discovered the sound that I wanted to set the tone for the rest of the music I make pretty much forever until I change my mind and like something else. It seems like that was the point I was trying to get to for a while. Whereas live sounds with slight manipulation in terms of the recording and engineering process after the song was recorded and all the arrangements were recorded. I just felt like with that song when it came, I knew that I wanted to paint the picture around it and I feel like I did that, but more stuff to come!

When can we expect your first album?

At the moment, everything that I write is in consideration for my album and I hope I have something to play for people by March 2020. In January or February, I will really start looking which songs should go where and all that sort of thing. I’ve been writing for a while and I’ve been especially writing a lot this year, so I’ll be more getting into that at the end of the year.

 

Celeste’s latest EP “Lately” is available on all streaming platforms.

Photos by Robin Joris Dullers for Enfnts Terribles

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