Hailing from the Bay Area, California, Celiane The Voice is a driven, passionate and charismatic singer with a truly unique approach. Her music is very kaleidoscopic, borrowing from styles as diverse as R&B, Soul, Latin Pop, Electronic, and Broadway to ignite her own personal Hip-Hopera style. Inspired by influential artists, the likes of Amy Winehouse, Origa, Tina Quo, Lindsey Sterling and Herbie Hancock, Celiane’s work is very versatile and groundbreaking – her tunes can’t be put in a box, as she breaks the boundaries at every turn, allowing her creativity to set the bar higher and redefine people’s ideas of what’s possible with music.
- Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
Celiane the Voice: I am from California, the Bay Area. I have been making up songs since I was 5 years old, but I have been seriously training vocally since 17 years old. At that time I fell in love with music and the artistry it is.
- Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
Celiane the Voice: I have had formal training since I began training seriously. When I began, I was training for Opera. I have a Broadway/classical legit voice with soulful undertones. I have learned enough to teach myself at this point but when you have bad habits, you need someone to hear what you can’t here. Later, I received Jazz training and that was so needed.
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences?
Celiane the Voice: I have always loved Whitney Houston. I love her spirit, her fire. I was also influenced by Herbie Hancock and Bobby McFarrin, worlds ahead of their time. Peter Gabriel and Daft Punk. I love musicians that push envelopes, pave roads for us that are more eclectic.
- What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners?
Celiane the Voice: Key elements are the messages of love, depth and inner reflection. Genre specific would be electronica, classical, dubstep, hip hop beat, heavy bass, strange sounds and noise at times. It is definitely different and out there, but blends.
- For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as Electronica Hip-Opera?
Celiane the Voice: My journey has been a long one. Let me explain. I started as an operatic vocalist. As most vocalists start here because it is the basis of vocal training. My mother stopped me from emulating other at a young age. As she put it, “We already have this artist, why would we want a duplicate version? You make it sound like you should be singing it.” That advice has never left me. This is how I approach all my creations. I didn’t want to be like anyone else, I wanted to be myself. This is a life long quest to find self on this plane when so many try to program you to be like everyone else. NO. Not me. Whatever you create as an artist, comes from the depths of your spirit. You cannot lie. So as a musician, I created my genre because I got tired producers and beat makers asking me to sound like someone else, or down playing my ability as a musician and vocalist. To take my ego out of the equation, I created my own genre and my own music. It was important to find a producer to not only understand each genre, and teach me what they know in real time; but also believe in my work and go this journey with me. That is Bill Williams. My artform is constantly evolving and it is mine. It is where I can call home and don’t have to change a thing. It is me.
- What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
Celiane the Voice: Music’s role is to touch everyone at some level where they find an expression just for themselves in that moment. Music for me is so many different things. I don’t want to give music a job, that gives it limitations it doesn’t need to have. It is funny how human swear things have to be here for their benefit or for their purpose, no Music just is. Just like love, it just is. We shape and create it but it is a partnership, to get that flow, you must work together with it. Have a relationship with music, not in a commanding way…but let it speak on it’s own. When I approach my songs, it doesn’t start out as artistry, it starts out as a message. What do I want to convey? How will it effect people? These are things I think about. The only function I try to make sure music serves is breaking the programming and spreading real love among each other.
- Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfilment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different?
Celiane the Voice: You know, if you chase a dollar, it may multiply, and it will still be a dollar; but if you chase a dream, the possibilities and all that come from it is limitless. My music gives back so much to me as I hope I give to others. When I get a fan who comes up and honestly tells me, “You get it!” and they can smile, my art form was successful. If it even reaches one, it was worth it. Now don’t get me wrong, this is how I would prefer to make my living, but I have to love what I’m doing or I can’t do it. Right now, I put in way more but there is always a prep time before the ball really gets rolling and you have to be ready. I didn’t expect this project to evolve the way it has and I didn’t know where this train would go, but I’m riding it and enjoying the process.
- Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
Celiane the Voice: My creative process very rarely starts with a tune. I am a Lyricist, so the words are the most important to me, after that the chord progressions that can express these words properly. Bill has a different process once I bring everything to him. What I like about our process is that we take line by line, note by note. I visualize and see where the song can go, before I know whether or not to invest in it. When I am stuck on a tune, then I go to Bill and he knows what to do.
- As a female artist, what has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
Celiane the Voice: Just that, being a female creator. What I create isn’t just music, it also has other components to the enterprise so what I get is, “There is no way she created that, she must have a label.” No. Or, “No indie artist is this professional, she couldn’t be this way on her own.” Or “Why do you need to hide behind a mask, show your face it’s so pretty.” These comments further solidify my conviction I am on the right path. I am no stranger to people’s disbelief in my abilities. I am a black, overweight, middle aged woman. To the industry, 3 negatives, to me – challenge excepted! But I am also not an industry chaser. Meaning, because of my age, the industry knows it will be more difficult to sell me on anything because I conduct thorough research. I am not going to change my esthetic, my style and especially my voice because I am old enough to know what is working and this is my business. I run it like one. You have no clue how many people have tried to tell me I don’t know what I am sitting on. I simply reply back, “Then clearly if you can’t see I do, you are not worth me talking to. Thank you.”
- On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
Celiane the Voice: Something significant to me is performing for my first Comic-Con and to see the looks on people’s faces. When I perform, I am full character the whole time. So what you see is who you get. I don’t know if you are aware but Comic-Cons don’t really allow singers to perform, something I am trying to change actively. When I came out at my first Afro Comiccon, the reception was amazing! The interest and the curiosity was awesome. This is very much how I am. I am not a typical person you would talk to and I am not someone you will forget easily. To see people fully engaged in the show, and gigging with the music, what a feeling!
- Putting aside the accolades or criticisms that fans or the media may afford your releases, what’s the one thing about you or your music, you think people may overlook or misinterpret most often?
Celiane the Voice: The one thing they may overlook is the message of love. However, I deliberately make my shows answer these questions. People may mistake what I am trying to do, that is easy to mistake. I represent technology, love and consciousness and the question of how human that combination really is. I try to express in my artform how the fans themselves are love warriors and we all have a job to do spreading love to each other before it is too late.
- If I switched on your media player right now, which artist or song will I most likely hear?
Celiane the Voice: Honestly, Bruno Mars, “Leave the Door Open”. I am old school and so is how I do things mostly, so this song I love because it takes me back to the rigor of when music was real. When you had to train your voice and work hard at your craft. Bruno Mar’s song is me in so many ways both artistically and esthetically.
- You have already worked with a lot of people, but is there any acclaimed international artist you would like to work with in the near future, and why?
Celiane the Voice: I would love to work with Herbie Hancock and Aoki. I love their innovative way of looking at music.
- With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
Celiane the Voice: Easy, I don’t. No one can judge you and negative comments only have the purpose of trying to harm most of the time out of the lack of self-love and self-respect for themselves. In looking at this perspective, I don’t engage. I don’t value my success on Social Media like everyone else. I know the correlations of fans to actual butts in seats is more applicable when you have more fans and you have a bigger name. In knowing this, I am not going to go out of my character just to be seen. Not my thing. People have to have their own accountability to how they want to be seen. This is why I don’t have but a few social media links.
- Could you tell us something about how your latest project ‘Inner Universe’ came about and the concept behind it?
Celiane the Voice: Inner Universe Reloaded, if you are an anime fan, knows this original song is sung by Origa. When I first heard this song 15 years ago, I fell in love with the song. I promised I would cover it my way, in its entirety. It is sung in its original languages to keep the integrity to the fans and to express how much I really love the song. I am very proud of it.
- Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own personal way?
Celiane the Voice: I think it should be both what they find and understanding the story. Celiane has her own story, the rest the fans can enjoy the journey.
- Creative work in studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excite you most?
Celiane the Voice: Interaction with an audience excites me the most. To get fans involved and interacting with the show is a great feeling.
- What’s your favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?
Celiane the Voice: The motto I live by is, “Love is the greatest power there is. It is all! The more we live it and share it, the more we become real and wake up! So love!”
- How essential do you think video is in relation to your music? Do you have a video you suggest fans see, to get a better understanding of your persona and craft?
Celiane the Voice: Yes, my video, “Systematic”. I would suggest they watch the Intro video to Celiane first and then Systematic. This will give them a good start as to knowing who Celiane is.
- Do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?
Celiane the Voice: My goal is to perform world wide and share my audible art. I want to get on stage and perform and one way or another, Covid or no, virtual or live…I will do just that.