Celeste: ‘I wanted songs to exist for just the reasons of being true to the music’ – Music News

On this week’s episode of Elton John’s Rocket Hour on Apple Music 1, Elton chats with rising singer Celeste about her debut album ‘Not Your Muse,’ charting at number 1 in the UK.

Celeste on creative integrity and making the album her way

‘I feel a sense of accomplishment in the fact that I managed to do most of it my way. And of course, I came across moments of give and take and compromise and finding that middle ground with my label, where they had songs that needed to do a certain job. And then I wanted songs to exist for just the reasons of being true to the music that I’m interested in. And so I feel proud that eventually an album that is the majority of songs, which have come from a place of real honesty and feeling like I’ve maintained my integrity in a commercial sense.’

Elton John’s advice to Celeste

‘I would say that your instincts are absolutely right because I don’t think you are… And I read an interview with you in The Guardian and I don’t think you are necessarily a chart person. It’s nice to be in the chart, but what you have ahead of you. But I think after the album’s been to number one, you should do what you want to do. Your instincts are right. You know what you want to sing. You know what you can sing best and what brings out the best in you. You’re a young artist, it will come. This is your first record. Just soak it in, be proud. And then as the next record comes, you can be more assertive about what you want, but the album is fantastic on its own merits anyway. ‘

Celeste on the delay in releasing the album and making use of that extra time

‘It has taken a really long time. But I think actually in this extra space last year, when everything happened with Coronavirus and I wasn’t able to actually go into the studio because I worked with my band, it ended up being 12 of us in the studio with the engineers and the producer. So when all of that happened, we just weren’t allowed to go in. And so I had an extra four months to actually look at the songs that I’d already started and then think really what’s missing and actually have time to focus on that. And purely that without all of the other manic stuff that can come with, like performing and traveling and all of that. So I felt quite blessed.’

Celeste on missing touring

‘There’s so much more spontaneity in the live show. I tried to bring that into making the album by having a live room set up and bringing all my band that I play my shows into the process, but it was much further on I’d already written the songs and they were demos and I took it to the band, but I really miss playing shows. And I just can’t wait until we can just let loose, basically.’

Elton John on Celeste’s various influences

Elton John: ‘I hear so many different influences. You’re like a sponge. You aren’t just influenced by soul music your influenced by other types of music. And that shows on this album. Did you ever like Minnie Riperton?’

Celeste: ‘Oh, I absolutely love Minnie Riperton. Yeah.’

Elton John: ‘I was in love with Minnie Riperton. She made so many great records with Charles Stepney at Chess Records and with Rotary Connection and then on her own. And I can hear a little bit of that in you. I can hear so much in you. And as I say, you’re just a little snowdrop coming through the earth and you’ll soon be growing into an oak tree and that you have a huge career ahead of you. What Celeste wants to sing will bring out the best in Celeste and I know that. I don’t have any worries about you whatsoever. But, in meantime you have a number one record and there’s a market for people who want great singers singing great songs. You’ve proved it. It can be jazz. It can be anything you want to do, just be Celeste. And I’m so impressed with what you do. I’m so impressed with you.’