Rising Songstress, CELESTE STONEY Chats With All Access About Her Hit Song, “My Kinda Crazy” and Much More!
Posted On 22 May 2015
Tag: All About That Bass, All Access, All Access Music Group, American Idol, Artist Interview, Bang Bang, Beyonce, Celeste Stoney, CNN, Destiny's Child, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Foxy Brown, Gordon Lightfoot, Ja Rule, James Brown, Janet Jackson, Jessie J., KATY PERRY, La La La, Latch, Level Music Entertainment Inc., Madonna, Making The Band III, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, My Kinda Crazy, Nas, Perez Hilton, Pharrell Williams, Phil Collins, Pink, Quincy Jones, Raekwon, Ray Stoney, Sam Smith, Stay With Me, SWV, The Bangles, The INC., The Mint, Tina Turner, Tracy Chapman, What's Love Got To Do With It
Late last year, the powerhouse pop soul vocalist, award winning songwriter and record label CEO Celeste Stoney released her highly anticipated debut single, “My Kinda Crazy” to all major digital and streaming outlets. She has created quite an industry buzz and even the celebrity blogger, Perez Hilton says, “Celeste Stoney reminds us of Pink” and that her single, ‘My Kinda Crazy’, “could be the 2015 ‘All About That Bass’.” CNN says, “Thank you! There is a female who brings ‘true music’ back.”
With a very bright future ahead of her, Celeste chatted with All Access about that hit single and much more!
Can you remember the moment you decided to be a performer?
The moment I really decided that I wanted to be a performer was April 2014. I have been performing since I was a child but I never really made the decision to be a performer until then.
Your grandmother was an opera singer and your father was a self-taught musician. Did this have an influence on you becoming a musician yourself?
Ya know I cant say that it did. I mean, I would hear my dad playing the guitar or flute around the house & I would sing with my mom. My grandmother would sing to us occasionally but I don’t think that this was the influence that made me want to be a singer songwriter. I think it is something that I was born with, a gift. Something I couldn’t help but to follow.
Why do you think this is the right calling for you?
There is a burning in my soul for this. There is nothing else that I could ever imagine doing with my life. I have so much to share, so much to give. God had me go through a rough life to get to where I am and I know he did that so that I would be able to help others through my story, through my music.
I have read that during your time with The INC., you earned a platinum record with Ja Rule and collaborated with other hip hop artists including Nas, Raekwon and Foxy Brown. What was that experience like? How do you think your music has changed since then?
It was a bit surreal. I was just a teen at the time and didn’t really realize the magnitude of the talent I was in the room with. I was just having a good time enjoying the ride. I didn’t know much about the business side of things at the time and had some legal issues back then because I didn’t know how to protect myself. It was a tough lesson and I learned a lot. Much has changed since then. I am now a woman. I am now a CEO running my own label. Musically, I used to have more of an R&B leaning sound as that was what was being asked of me to write. At the time, that was the style that was hot on the radio. I have now grown into my own sound which is more pop infused with soul elements. I also am very careful of what I say lyrically, what I share with the world. I understand the impact that an artist can have on others and I plan on always being a positive influence.
You were a semi-finalist on American Idol and a finalist on Making the Band III. Did you enjoy being on those shows? What did you learn from those experiences? Did they prepare you for being in the public eye?
American Idol & Making The Band III were interesting experiences. Believe it or not, back then I had no confidence in myself at all. I never thought I would even make it past the 1st audition. I was actually shocked when they kept calling me back. I feared singing in front of people. I would get sweaty palms and butterflies in my stomach. My voice would tremble because I would be shaking and the fact that I made it as far as I did on both shows still shocks me. I will say that I am grateful for the experience as it has opened many doors for me and I made friendships that will last a lifetime. For some people this can be an amazing way to launch a career.
Just last year, you founded the independent label Level Music Entertainment, Inc. Tell me why you decided to do that? What are your dreams for this label?
I have been in the industry professionally for 13 years. I have seen all sides of this industry. What I have learned is that you can create your own destiny. You can build your own future and when you are in control, you can be sure that things happen the right way. I cant tell you the number of artists that I have written for that are signed to major labels that are just waiting for the labels to decide to release their album, that’s if they ever do. When they do, the artist will make a small fraction of the income, have very little control of their project and be in debt to these labels for most if not all of their careers. With the internet and access to an abundant fan base at our fingers tips, we live in a time when a record label or an artist can be successful independently. I do believe that the right partnership with a major can be a smart decision. What I am working to achieve with Level Music is to be one of the most successful independent record labels in the business. I plan to have a roster of exceptionally talented artists, songwriters and producers signed to my entertainment company. In addition to the record label side of things, I plan to have my own independent publishing company as well as a management firm all under the Level Music Entertainment umbrella.
Your song, “My Kinda Crazy” is incredibly catchy and fun. Where did the inspiration for it come from? The video is also really fun. Where did the idea for it come from? Were you very involved with the making of it? How did you get your husband, actor Ray Stoney to be in it?
To be honest, “My Kinda Crazy” was a song that I wrote when I was still just writing songs for other artists as a songwriter. We wrote the song with Jessie J. in mind. We actually pitched it to her and her team passed on it.
When I made the decision to be a performer, I wanted to use the song because it felt like me. The inspiration for the song was actually from a combination of my own past relationships as well experiences of family and close friends. I’m actually in an amazing relationship with a man that makes me happy all the time. So many people have that crazy relationship where they love the hell out of someone but they just drive you nuts. I just want my music to always have a message that means something.
The music video was soooo much fun! I was very involved. I have a type A personality, I tend to micromanage, I am a bit controlling and I am a perfectionist (WHAT A MESS!!) So, I was involved in every aspect of this video from conception to the final edit. As far as my husband being in the video with me, I made the decision that if I am going to have a love interest in any of my music videos it will be my husband, Ray Stoney. He is an amazing actor in is own right and I am just honored that he shared the screen with me.
We have the EP slated for a spring release April/May 2015. The EP is still untitled. I am toying with a few names as well as the idea of just a self titled EP. I usually have a very clear vision on things like this but this one has not come to me yet.
When it comes to songwriting, where do you get the inspiration?
Man, I get inspiration from everything; personal experiences, the personal experiences of others, dreams, other music, news, current events, movies, a sunset or a storm, poverty, the overly rich, world issues and sometimes it can just be a phrase that someone says that sparks something. Most times it comes to me when I am in the moment, in the studio when I hear chords being played.
Why do you prefer having your 8-piece band with you on stage?
I love real music. I love to hear real instruments. I love the way they make you feel. I love the energy that comes from having my band with me. Singing to a track is so empty to me, missing the spirit. If it is up to me I would have a bigger band; 2 drummers, 7 horn players, double keys, 3 background singers, guitar and bass like the great Mr. James Brown.
How do you think your sound is retro yet relevant to 2015’s pop music trends?
The lyrical content is very pop leaning and fun while my vocal tone is nothing but soul. The music has a perfect blend of pop & retro elements. The fact that all of my songs have real instrumentation already gives it a different feel than most of the synth sounds that you hear in popular music. The horns really add to that retro vibe as well.
You’ve done some amazing covers- Jessie J’s “Bang Bang”, Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”, Tina Turner’s ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It”. How do you choose which songs to cover? What’s been a favorite of yours? Are you currently working on one these days?
I personally was against singing covers being that I am a songwriter myself. My team are the ones that convinced me that this would be a good idea especially as people are discovering me. Sometimes its easier for someone to connect to an artist if they already know the song they are singing…that made sense to me. Jessie J’s “Bang Bang” was a recommendation from one of my team members. They said that I would kill that song and when I first heard it I fell in love with the vocal delivery and it’s so fun to perform. “Stay With Me” was also a recommendation from my team. I have been a fan of Sam Smith from “La La La” and “Latch” back before he crossed over to the US. I just love the emotion behind “Stay With Me” I love the cry of the song. Its such a spirit moving song and I love to move the spirit. “Whats Love” was a recommendation from my husband. At first I wasn’t sure about it. It was not a song that I had any connection with growing up but once I started singing it and putting my own flavor on it, I fell in love. Its a beautiful, classic that I enjoy performing. I am not working on any other covers at this time. I am focusing on my EP and plan to sing more of my own songs.
I get asked this one a lot. My musical inspirations would fill this entire page and are all over the place… Everything from Michael Jackson to Gordon Lightfoot, Fleetwood Mac, Phil Collins, Madonna, Destiny’s Child, Mariah, SWV, The Bangles, Eric Clapton, Tracy Chapman, Janet Jackson, James Brown, Beyonce, Katy Perry…and the list goes on.
Living or dead, who would you love to work with and why?
Michael Jackson because he was the greatest to ever do it. Quincy Jones because he is the best producer that has ever lived. He is a real producer and is behind some of the greatest music to ever touch our ears. I would have loved to have a live jam session with James Brown and his band. He was sooo alive on stage, soul would just oooze out of him. He was one of the greatest performers of all time. I would love to work with Pharrell Williams on my album. He is innovative but yet still knows how to make a song that will be classic. He also is not afraid to make music with a positive message and doest care what anyone thinks… I just love that.
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something quirky that’s taken place with the band (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
Oh man…. After my single release party my entire band picked me up and I was basically laying in their arms. It was so symbolic of how they support me and hold me up. It was a beautiful moment.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
I want people to feel. I want to put a smile on someones face. I want to make someone feel good after a bad day or help them to get over an issue. I want to open up peoples eyes to things that as a society we tend to overlook. I want to wake people up and cause them to pay attention. I want people to dance. I want them to stand up for something. I want them to fall in love. I want them to believe in themselves. I want to touch the soul.
Is there anything else you would like new fans to know about you or your music?
I am just a girl following her dreams. I want to leave a good legacy. Have fun, enjoy life and share the gifts that have been given.