There’s a quiet softness to Celeste that makes you feel instantly relaxed by her presence. The track ‘Both Sides Of The Moon’ subtly introduced her voice last year; one oozing with sophisticated, undeniable soul. Her voice has that natural ease that seems to just escape her throat, but contains so much detail, so many stories, such complex personal histories. For a 24-year-old, it’s staggering how much she shares with the greats, both modern and old: Amy, Etta, Ella, Otis, etc. Like their voices, hers doesn’t belong to a specific time or place, and yet it’s always welcome. It’s always needed.
From her bedroom in West London, she talks about where her voice and perspective came from, and she does so at length. Celeste can talk for Britain. She grew up in Brighton but she was born in Los Angeles. “It’s an odd and long story,” she laughs, remembering the tiniest fractions of sensory memory as she paints scenes from her young life.
Celeste is mixed race. Her mum is from Dagenham, and her dad is from Jamaica, and both of them wound up wherever the wind would blow. Her mum is a former raver, who went to beauty school in London and wound up working in LA via Hong Kong as a makeup artist. That’s where she met her dad, who had moved to the States to be with his mum while she was studying at university there. He returned to America after a stint in the UK where he had married and had kids. After the divorce he met Celeste’s mum in a whirlwind romance. They broke up when she was young. When her mum was pregnant she returned to the UK to visit, realised her US visa was expired and flew to Mexico to be smuggled back into LA by her paternal grandmother. Celeste was born soon after.
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