You might be wondering what’s with the title of the blog post. Well, it’s the title of the debut album by indie artiste Johnathan Celestin. He’s currently a 26 year old student enrolled at Columbia University majoring in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. However from an early age he had always been passionate about music. I conducted an interview with him to talk about the new album, the inspiration behind it and his future endeavors.
Question 1- Describe your upbringing. Where were you born and raised?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – I born in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in the neighboring city of Chesapeake. My upbringing was peaceful. I was your regular boy, outside a lot, always getting into something. My dad had one role, be in before the streetlights came on, other than that, me and my sister roamed all over the neighborhood. As I look back on it, we actually had a lot freedom, I can’t believe we and our friends, used to hang so far from the house. That was a different time; I don’t think people let their kids roam around like that anymore.
Question 2 – At what age did you start to sing?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – I was always singing, from church to Disney films (lol). But I was always singing, but I have to say at about age 9 I started to look at singing as something I might be called to do. It was about that age that singing became more than just fun to me, and something deeper.
Question 3 – Do you possess any other musical talents besides singing?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – Yes, I play the piano. I’ve been playing since I was about 9 years old as well. I used to write songs only on the piano, only especially when I was younger. That’s how I started writing songs, and then I got into the game of songwriting and I started working with producers.
Question 4 – You just released your freshman album, “..And then the rolling stone fell in love.” It’s quite an interesting name for an album title. What’s the meaning behind it?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – I think everyone knows me as being sort of a rolling stone. I’m the guy who could be one today and another tomorrow, and I have never really called one place home. I think I get that from my dad. Additionally, I had never been in love until last year, and that’s the focus of this album. It recounts my experience of falling in love for the first time. Funny enough, when I was in love, I finally felt like I had a place I could call home, but like the last song of the album says “I thought I had a home, I guess it’s back to rolling stones.”
Question 5 – How has the response been for the album?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – It’s been really great. I’m so happy that people are connecting with my music. People from all over the world, all walks of life, with all different musical taste have been affected by my story, and that feels great. I love that music can bring people together, and I love it even that I ‘m telling a personal story, and an honest story.
Question 6 – The album has only 5 tracks. Did you record more songs that did not make the cut or you only wanted five (5)?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – Well five tracks was both strategic and organic. Strategic because I wanted my introduction to the world to be measured and I wanted to give people a strong, short dosage of my artistry. Organic because I wanted to keep the album focused in its theme and in its story. There’s an overarching story throughout the album from the intro to the last song, Best of Me. I did record a lot more for the album: dance track, thematically different songs, but I decided I’d save it for the next album.
Question 7 – How would you describe your musical sound?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – I think when people hear me, they’ll hear honesty and tenderness, even when I’m singing forcefully. I definitely want to explore as many genres as possible, but I want to emote a certain ternderness with my sound, that’s still visceral. The musical sound for this album is edgy, pop, rock, a little bit of everything. I feel like with each song on the album you get a different sound. None of the songs sound alike, which is what we wanted when we started. I worked with two producers for this album: Nicholas Wright and Arthur Moyler.
Question 8 – Who are some of your greatest musical influences that inspired you to become a musician?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – If I could make pie chart of my musical influences, Lauryn Hill would be a huge slice. She really helped heal me through her music. That experience inspired me to want to help others with my voice. But the list goes on and on: Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, Sam Cooke, Nick Drake, Allman Bothers, Eric Clapton, Bob Marley, Kirk Franklin, Pavarotti, Debussy, Mariah Carey, I could on. But all of these people had a crucial part in who I am as an artist.
Question 9 – Are there any artists with who you would like to collaborate?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – I would love to collaborate with Lauryn Hill, Aretha Franklin, Prince and Stevie Wonder! I could retire after that, lol.
Question 10 – I understand that you’re in college. What are you studying?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – Yep, I’m in school. I major in Political Science, with a concentration in International Relations at Columbia University. I’ll be applying to International Relations Grad Schools this summer along with promoting the album (touring, etc.). I like tackling multiple things. I used to be an “or” person, but now I’m an “and” person. I used to think that I had to do one thing or the other, that I had to choose. But now I know that life is about fusion and diversity of experience. Think about it, none of the renaissance of yesteryear, focused on one thing. People like Michelangelo, Galileo, etc were artist, mathematicians, scientist, poets, chemists, they did everything. It’s kind of strange, but nowadays, people seem to prefer specialist as oppose to the person of many talents.
Question 11 – In 10 years, where do you see yourself?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – In 10 years, I hope to not be a rolling stone anymore. (lol) I hope to have helped a few people with my music, and I hope to be a part of (or start) a few organizations that provide empowerment to marginalized sects within (or should I say without) society. I want to have my own private school(s), that’s always been a dream of mine. I was a tutor for a few years in New York. Educating, to me, is really an act of love.
Question 12 – When you’re dead and gone, how would you like to be remembered?
Johnathan Celestin(JC) – I like to live in the present, but I will say that I want people who I love to remember how my love feels, even if I’m not there in the physical.
JC’s lyric video to his hot single “Superman”.
My favorite song from JC’s new album, “12 steps”.
Track Listing: …And then the rolling stone fell in love (Now Available on iTunes!)
1. Down on my Love (Part 1)
3. 12 Steps
4. Steal a Heart
5. Best of Me