Jamaica is home to renowned artists, including the late Bob Marley and Grammy Award-winning artist Shaggy. And one of its most consistent female voices is veteran Ce’Cile, who just dropped her latest single, “Cherish My Loving” featuring Bahamian artist Padrino. The upbeat tempo is part of Ce’Cile’s return to the game after her slight hiatus.
Known for her sultry voice, thoughtful lyrics, and incredible talent, the queen of reggae is back and better than ever. Her hope for her return is to create a new paradigm for fans of what it means to be an artist.
“I wanted to remind people who Ce’Cile was.”
Her musical artistry is unmatched, but unbeknownst to many of her fans, her road to fame began with a pen, a pad, and poetry.
“I was a poet. I have been writing poetry for as long as I can remember. I loved English literature. I used to read all my books before the school year started. I lived through storytelling/ I would live through my books. For me, writing was therapeutic.”
Transitioning her poems into songs was a slow grind heavily influenced by melodic rhythm and blues sounds she heard in her childhood home.
“My mom, who loved music so much, used to listen to Anita Baker. She always listened to ‘Sweet Love,’ I fell in love with that song and felt like I could sing it. I started putting melodies to my poems, which was very private.”
While she often kept her desire to sing private, it was during her mid-teen years that she finally opened up to her father and took a leap of faith to record her first song.
“I didn’t tell anyone until I went to live in Malibu with my dad, and he used to come to Kingston every Sunday to gamble, and one of his friends is [Michael] Ibo Cooper, the keyboard player from Third World.”
Ce’Cile’s first song wasn’t released, but it would be a launching pad for her to discover her talent, expand her growth, and harness her creativity.
As an emerging artist, Ce’Cile said the music industry was different early in her career. It was specifically regarding the limiting opportunities for women attempting to pursue the kind of sounds they wanted to showcase.
“The reggae songs that are coming out now that are accepted now are what I was doing 20 years ago,” she said, “You always had every type of music being produced, but the hit was what the atmosphere dictated and what was acceptable at the time and from whom because it was very gender-biased.”
Never one to follow the status quo, she found herself forging a path within the industry that had never been explored. Unable to find an artist she could emulate, Ce’Cile must lean on her intuition and define her way.
“I didn’t know anything about dancehall at the time because I was sheltered. And, of course, I knew Beanie Man and Shaggy, but I didn’t know anything about hardcore dancehall, and the atmosphere was just about dancehall. You had reggae, but it was for the older folks the way it was presented.”
A New Era of Reggae
The emergence of social media, according to Ce’Cile, has ushered in a new era of music. It has democratized music that allows fans to connect directly with the artists they enjoy. In turn, for new and existing musicians, this has presented the opportunity to corner multiple markets for fans eagerly awaiting their unique sound.
“Music has changed in terms of there are no limitation rights now whether it be genre, whether it be the types of lyrics you’re singing or age demographic because everybody realizes that you can just listen to what you like and whom you like.”
Breaking Out of the Box
When your catalog is as diverse as Ce’Cile, it results from sheer talent and an unwillingness to be pigeonholed into one genre.
“I didn’t want to be defined as a dancehall artist or a hardcore artist because I’m not any of those things, but I’m all those things. I’m a reggae artist, I’m a producer, and I’m a songwriter. For me, music is art. And my art is not based on any one person or any one person’s opinion,” she explains.
Interacting with her fans has been a staple of her brand. She shines during festivals where she says she can openly express herself with no limitations.
Fans waiting for new music to drop can expect a body of work full of fun, uplifting, and a testament to her love of the art form. Ce’Cile also notes she is eager to get back on the road and deliver immersive experience audiences have grown to love.
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Photo credit: ROJHAY ANDERSON