The Strange Case of Celeste
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
Celeste Epiphany Waite is a British Jamaican upcoming artist that will leave you awestruck. The combination of her vibrant, jazzy and dynamic sound accompanied by her shockingly soulful voice is a breath of fresh air; a sort of intertwining of old school soul, say, Nina Simone, with the modern sounds of our age. This refreshing approach to music can be attributed to her exposure to the classic legends like Aretha Franklin from a young age, whom she revealed in an interview with I-D magazine to be the first tape of the queen of soul she's ever listened to front to back growing up. On the other hand, we’ve got Kanye West, Frank Ocean and Solange named as a few of her other inspirations.
The 26-year-old artist has earned both a Brit Award and has been named ‘’the number-one predicted breakthrough act of 2020’’.
From this brief description, I hope you're just as excited as I am to hear more of her music.
The first single of hers I stumbled across was Strange, and boy if I was stunned. Her rich, passionate, velvety, soulful voice literally made me stop in my tracks, sit back and take in everything I was experiencing. The song is a simple tune composed of a piano, strings and powerful lyrics. I found this to be a very thoughtful arrangement; the instruments’ melody is accompanying her singing rather than drawing it out, which enables the emphasis to be placed on the lyrics and the emotions elicited thereof. A bit like the constant rhythmic thudding of the rain on a drizzly evening as you entertain yourself with a hot drink and your favourite Netflix series. As we zoom in on the lyrics, we get caught up in the brutally honest reflection of the universal narrative of life.
Isn't it strange? Isn't it strange? Isn't it strange? I am still me You are still you In the same place Isn't it strange? How people can change From strangers to friends Friends into lovers And strangers again
- Celeste in Strange
I believe these lyrics can be extrapolated to explore any sort of relationship, not just romantic ones. In the chorus, Celeste alludes to the reality of people changing. This is referenced in the first lines of the same chorus as something that you, as an individual are ignorant of. She states that neither her nor ‘’you’’ have changed in your own eyes but at the same time the change has actually occurred. It's always harder to see a change in your own self compared to the people you’re in a relationship with. That’s why we so easily point at people’s faults first without assessing our own selves with our many flaws.
Celeste goes on to explore how this change inevitably results in us moving around in the hierarchy of intimacy: ‘’from strangers to friends, friends into lovers’’ and finally ‘’to strangers again’’. We cannot escape this vicious cycle of relationships, for we are constantly changing and becoming different versions of ourselves.
As melancholic as this may sound, this is a fact that we cannot neglect nor ignore. I love that the song ends with ‘’to strangers again’’. To me, this sounds like an open invitation to ourselves to either depart from the stranger that we used to call our friend or lover or to get to know this now stranger and to welcome them into our lives as we learn to love this new version of the individual we used to know.
The choice is ours.
Now, I hope that I have convinced you to check out this artist’s music and that you will welcome her creative work and analyse for yourself the strange, and yet, beautiful case of Celeste Epiphany Waite.