Celine Love is a London based, Hamburg born, singer songwriter who draws from so many combined influences. She has a real acoustic folk story telling sensibility that has inspired her own style of heartfelt R&B that is brilliantly illustrated in her new song ‘Good Girl’ that came out this week.
Produced by TR33 who has brought his own style to the mix, the single features home recorded vocals that bring a real authenticity to a song that merges lyrics of self-discovery with a R&B vibe. To try to pigeon hole this outstanding artist would be a mistake though. Having had the chance to see her play live, I can vouch that her musicality and warmth shine through above all things. An enthralling artist with a real talent for drawing the listeners into her world, her music has honesty at its core and has garnered enthusiastic support from BBC Radio.
Celine says of the track: “The inspiration behind this song was my desire to shed the ‘Good Girl’ image that has been almost imposed on me by my family, and in turn I always felt that’s the way I needed to be in order to be accepted. I’ve always been afraid of being judged, but this year has been a huge journey of self-love and growth and coming to terms with the fact that sometimes I’m not at my best, and that’s ok. I am an over thinking, people pleasing, stubborn, either emotionally unavailable or far too available Aquarius and needed to own that!My hope is that my music inspires people to me more vulnerable about their struggles with people who care about them. It can be a great trait to not want to burden others but some people are happy to share the weight. Own your truth, be a good girl, be a bad girl or don’t be a girl at ll. No one but yourself makes up the rules!”
The single is out now, the EP drops on the 16th February and her new video is out too along with some brilliant live Roundhouse sessions. Make yourself familiar with Celine Love; I get the feeling we will be hearing a lot more from her. I was lucky enough to get to chat with her about her single, her music and what makes her create her art.
EP: So, ‘Good Girl’ was out on the 2nd February and it’s about your desire to shed your good girl image. But that’s only half the story as I get the feeling it’s not so much about being more edgy but more about not conforming to the image other people have of you generally. About shedding that urge to please people. Tell me a little about the song.
CL: That’s exactly what it is. It’s not about being more edgy or the other stereotype of, you know, good girl gone bad or anything like that. It’s mainly about letting go of this fear of judgement. You know, I think I have always been caught in my head about what people think of me, even though I hate to admit it and in this song, it’s just kind of a way of telling my friends, telling my family and telling myself that, you know, I can just be whoever I want to be without having to overthink it. That’s what I do a lot.
EP: Do you think that by trying to be less trouble to everyone, to be good all the time, you actually end up in a far more vulnerable place because nobody really understands how you feel? Do you hope your song helps people to be less inclined to people please at their own detriment?
CL: Absolutely, absolutely. I think it’s a good trait to want to, you know, make sure that people are comfortable around you but if that’s at the expense of your own comfort then there’s no point doing that. Absolutely.
EP: This is a bit of a family affair with your Dad providing bass virtually and you recording the vocal at home. Was the intention to create a feeling of vulnerability with the production by making it feel more like a home created thing and therefore a little more accessible than a hugely overproduced number?
CL: Yes. It kind of was a happy accident how that happened? Because I wrote this song with the producer TR33 over Zoom in one of the lockdowns and this song, actually, almost got scrapped because he created this beautiful production and wasn’t able to write to it. It took me three days to come up with the concept and once I did, it poured out. It was really difficult to stop it, but once I’d started it did feel like one of the most personal songs.
EP: I was lucky enough to catch you live when you played with Cha:dy before Christmas and it was evident then how you have a real ability to draw an audience into your charming lyrical web. Do you feel the honesty and self-discovery of your lyrics are the reason people seem to relate so easily to your music? It’s so unusual to see a support act, for want of a better description, have the audience so much in the palm of their hand. You smashed it that night, the audience were totally enthralled.
CL: Thank you so much, I really appreciate that. That’s always nice to see hear because that’s why I love doing it; I do hope that people can relate to it even though that’s not necessarily why I do what I do. I do it because it feels good and I enjoy doing it and the benefit of that is that it can end up hopefully helping people. With this song in particular, I just was really happy that I was able to dig deeper when it comes to that. I think I do overthink lyrics sometimes as well, not putting things in the song that are too personal where I could like, you know, make any friends or family angry about anything that has been expressed. But, I think everyone who knows me enough to know, knows that it’s just me, just an extension of myself and I just sing.
EP: I thought you were amazing, the first thing I did was research your other music. I knew how good Cha:dywas but you felt like a wonderful discovery for me that night. Does the honesty of your music feel like you are almost letting complete strangers read your diary? Music like yours is such a personal expression, I feel. Is that difficult?
CL: It really is. It really was for the longest time. I’ve been writing since I was 12 years old and it’s been getting easier since then. Now I’m at a point where, yeah, I am just trying to not overthink it anymore, but it definitely wasn’t difficult to get into detail. The best lyrics are the ones that are really in detail and just kind of give you a real insight into what happened in the story. Those are always my favourite songs and those are my favourite writers. So I didn’t want to limit my creativity, you know?
EP: I think it’s really important isn’t it? To write about things that people can relate to because that way you bring people along with your story.
CL: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
EP: You have so many cultural influences being from African-American, German and Jamaican descent and living in multicultural London. Do you think being able to draw on so many musical, social and cultural references help you really make music for a modern world in which we try to move away from a perception of others and towards a perception of one?
CL: I do think it kind of made me want to approach music differently. I guess because in Germany, words arevery important. There’s a lot of big German poets; poetry was a very big thing when I was at school. So it always made me want to write really clever lyrics. But then, when it came to the music aspect, I’ve had the influence of my parents. With my Mum being African American and my Dad being Jamaican German, having those influences made me want to create music that made you feel the music itself, feel the melody and just have the satisfying combination of both those worlds, I think it is really important to me. So, it makes me want to make sure that I’m able to keep both parts; all those different elements of creation.
EP: I guess it gives you an opportunity to be a slightly genre-free doesn’t it? Coming from an acoustic background? But with this release you may be moving more towards the R&B stuff, it allows you to sort of experiment more, because you’ve just got so much to draw on.
CL: Yeah, I think especially coming here, I’ve finally been able to move into the R&B set of things more. I think I was really scared to do that because I didn’t want people to just assume. I feel like the second that you say you’re an R&B artist, especially if you’re a mixed race girl, people can assume a really specific thing and they just think, okay, R&B, and that’s it and they kind of tune out afterwards and I was really cautious with using R&B because I wanted to make sure that people didn’t think that I wasn’t multifaceted. Now I’ve embraced the term because I think now it means so much more. You know, all the artists that I listen to, all the amazing artists that use the term and make it their own. I think there’s a lot of power in that as well. So, yeah, I’m not trying to over think genre; I think genre is dying, people are just making music and it’s great.
EP: Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. It was really evident to me that you seemed to be genre free live. It was a really nice thing to realise when I looked up your music after I saw you play. I saw the Roundhouse sessions that you did which were very much a girl with a guitar. It was a lovely thing to see the acoustic beauty of your voice away from the band scenario that I’d seen you with. And, you know, it’s great to have so many strings to your bow. I don’t believe in musical genre. I think music is its own genre really, isn’t it?
CL: Absolutely, of course, sometimes you want to be able to describe yourself to a degree and you want to, you know, make sure that people can sort of understand what you do but you don’t want people to then just assume the one thing. You know, you want people to make up their own minds about whether they like you or not and not just hearing one word or one description and then deciding I probably wouldn’t like that because I don’t like R&B. Just have a listen and then decide for yourself.
EP: Do you get pressure, whether that’s pressure that you put yourself under and maybe that’s essentially what this single is very much about, but do you get pressure to try to conform to the preconceived ideas of what you’re going to sound like before you’ve even opened your mouth?
CL: Yeah, absolutely. I definitely do and I think that’s why creating this project, in particular, was really special because I really wasn’t sure what it was going to be at first because I wrote the whole EP with the same producer over the span of a month and we just created it just really not overthinking it at all. Every day, we would just send each other ideas back and forth and just make music and not think this is something I do or something that you do; it was just this sounds good, I like this, let’s go with it. I think in my head it was Oh my God, I’m going to have this whole big release plan, I’m gonna make music videos, I’m going to do all this stuff around it, I just over thought it. But I’m glad that I just took it step by step and then once I had a finished project I was like this is what it’s going to be and I’m going to put this out and you know people might like it or people might not but I love it you know, so I think that’s why it was really fun writing this.
EP: So in that way, ‘Good Girl’ is very much a flagship anthem for what you want to be. Not trying to people please or be constrained by pre conceived ideas but just to make extraordinary music and try to bring people along for the ride. The single is a next step towards the release of your debut EP ‘Aquarius SZN’, released on the 16th of this month. Do you think the fact that you are Aquarius born helps you to make music? After all, Aquarians can be both calm and sensitive, or enthusiastic and active. Familiar traits are invention and innovation which must surely make for exciting music or does the fact you belong to the air element make you an over thinker?
CL: I like to think so. The whole reason of using the ‘Aquarius SZN’, and to call it that, was yes I’m an Aquarius but also that we wrote the songs within the Aquarius season. We wrote the songs between the 21stJanuary and 19th of February back in 2021 and so that was part of it as well. I think, people leave out the stubbornness part of Aquarius and that was definitely part of creating this project too because, oftentimes, I would, you know, be very like kind of put my foot down with things. But the great thing about working with TR33, the producer, was that we are very different and sometimes we would just have to compromise because we wouldn’t be able to move forward because we just think very differently when it comes to music which is why it’s the perfect blend of our worlds
EP: Did you not think that maybe stubbornness is an essential if you’re going to create good music because I think at some point you have to be stubborn and put the music out that you want to put out or you just end up being a product of the pop industry.
CL: That’s very true as well. The intro to ‘Good Girl’ is not on the single but on the EP the lead into ‘Good Girl’ and at the end, you hear conversation between me and the producer. He says “you don’t necessarily have to come in right at the start” and I say “no, I want to come in straight away” and then the song starts straight away. I think it’s a fun way of showing the creation process. It also kind of giving you an insight into how we were working.
EP: The single and the EP is produced, as you say, by TR33 and he is very much R&B based. Does his influence blend well, do you think, with your soulful acoustic background? You’ve alluded to it before but do you think that’s helps you to further develop your sound?
CL: Absolutely. The first song that we wrote was the last single, ‘Like You Like That’, which is like the most R&B leaning tune and from then on we brought in more acoustic elements and I think it really helped me leaninto the R&B. So, I think, like I said, I always used to be really careful about doing that, always making sure to add organic instruments. So that people would, you know, have me in mind with an instrument and think I’m more musical. But, again, the perception of what musicians do and what artists do is changing, I think people aren’t necessarily just hearing one song and thinking that’s all that you can do. I was really worried about that at the beginning. I think the fact that we kind of went back and forth with the songs have meant that they all turned out pretty different. They all ended up having a different process.
EP: Yeah, all the songs on the EP have their own personality. The songs have a very distinct personality within themselves.
CL: Exactly. I think that the one thing that does blend them together is the fact that I’m such a vocal production nerd. I did go absolutely crazy on all the harmonies and everything. I think that’s the one thing that kind of brings them all together, but other than that, I felt like every single song was really different when we made it.
EP: That’s awesome. What can we expect from Celine Love in the future?
CL: So, I mean a lot of lives. That’s always been my world. So I’m really excited to hopefully do a couple of festivals in the summer and just yeah, play live a lot but also I have songs that I’ve been working on for the past year that I’m still finishing up so you will most likely be seeing another project towards the end of the year.
EP: That’s great. I can’t wait for more music. Did you find that lockdown has been quite a productive period for you? A lot of the artists that I’ve chatted to felt that the enforced need to take their foot off the pedal, because they couldn’t do live performance, gave them more chance to be creative.
CL: Absolutely, I think I didn’t necessarily make me more creative but it made me more open because I wasn’t overthinking what I was doing with it. I feel like that beforehand, you’d kind of always think of like, okay, I’m writing this song for this purpose but because obviously the pandemic happened, planning wasn’t a thing. I stopped overthinking what the purpose of a song was and just made the song, you know
EP: The process just seemed to become more organic. It’s certainly paid dividends with your brilliant new music and I wish you all the luck and success going forward and look forward to catching you live very soon. Thank you for the music.
CL: Thank you so much.