Words: Izzy Bassett
Following her recent In The Round performance, BIMM London’s alumni Celine Love sits down with LDN to share her transition from student into celebrated songwriter, supporting electro-pop giants Years & Years, and turning her one-year residency at the Roundhouse into a fabulous five. With over 18,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and her debut EP Aquarius SZN’ gaining over 300k streams across the platform, she also lets us in on some industry tips and tricks.
LDN: So, first up, how are you? How is everything on this unusually lovely day?
Celine: I am good. I’m a little bit nervous [for tonight’s show] but my soundcheck went really well so I’m excited.
LDN: You grew up in Hamburg with quite a diverse background. When did you first move to London and why did you choose this city?
Celine: It feels crazy but I’ve been here for seven years. [It] doesn’t feel like it but I came just to study a bit and now here we are. I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to stay.
LDN: What was your first gig like, can you remember it?
Celine: I don’t think I can! I definitely remember gigging first in London and it felt different to Hamburg because in Hamburg people weren’t really used to what I was doing. It was very much a mixture of R&B and folk. In Germany at that point, everything was really genre strict. Now things are a bit more open and diverse. But I felt more welcomed in all these different genres in London.
Photo Credit: George Bell Instagram (@georgethomasbell)
LDN: Your parents are musicians, were they the reason you started music or was it just something you felt was right for you?
Celine: I mean, they definitely are the reason why I was able to start so early. I do wonder sometimes, I feel I have a little bit of an identity crisis because I was made to be and maybe didn’t want to do music but we are here now!
LDN: Your music’s been described as having a blend of soul R&B and folk. For many artists, it’s hard to find a sound, especially ones trying to get into the industry. How did you find your sound and are you still exploring different genres?
Celine: Definitely, I’m still exploring. I don’t think I will ever stop exploring because when I first started, I was a lot folkier. When I came [to London], I started getting more R&B influences because that was what was happening here. And now it’s definitely a blend of those worlds. Even now I’m opening for a country artist, you know, that speaks for itself. And the fact that I tried to play around with whatever I can, I think it will keep evolving forever.
LDN: What would you say is your inspiration for your music style?
Celine: Good question. Because I think that also is really dependent on where my headspace is at, but I’d say some of my favourite people are Tori Kelly and Jeff Buckley. I’m doing a Jeff Buckley cover today actually.
LDN: You write your own songs, what’s your songwriting process like? Do you need anything when you write or is there a specific place you have to be in?
Celine: I used to always write lyrics first. I gathered lyrics on my phone or on the tube. In class, when I should have paid attention, I’d hear a word I like and note it. And now I’ve started producing more so I do like to sit down and create a little bit of a beat first because once I start writing the lyrics and melodies, that’s where I get distracted. I wouldn’t work on the production and upgrade that. Now it’s become the opposite and I’ve started writing with other people.
LDN: What would you say are your biggest strengths and weaknesses when it comes to performing?
Celine: I’d say my biggest strength is that I can feel comfortable in front of an audience. I like talking to an audience. I like conversing and creating a friendship. I want to feel like you walk away and got to know me. But I think that sometimes that can also be bad because I do it too much. My dad comes up and he’s like, ‘Why are you talking for 10 minutes?’ I can get distracted, and I can then get flustered if I realise I’ve talked too much and then I try and backtrack. Like, What am I talking about? I’m meant to be playing! It’s both a blessing and a curse.
LDN: In 2020 you recorded a cover of Aretha Franklin’s iconic ‘Natural Woman’. What is your favourite song to cover and why did you choose that one to release?
Celine: The ‘Natural Woman’ cover actually came about through the artist, Marie Naffah, who was looking for a few other female artists to record and release a song for International Women’s Day and we were all put together. We all have the same publicist who was like, ‘Yeah, go ahead and get together!’ We had never met each other. We just got in the studio and filmed and recorded the entire cover on the same day. Then, surprisingly, that song turned out good and is still doing so well. Spotify loves that song. I haven’t really covered any of Aretha beforehand so I loved doing that. As far as covering songs goes, I actually just started this little cover series where I’ve been collecting vinyl and I want to get inspired by different artists. So I’ve done Avril Lavigne and now I’m doing the Jeff Buckley cover again tonight.
LDN: You were a BIMM student. What advice would you give to current students in a similar position to where you were?
Celine: I would say really go to everything. Go to every Masterclass. Go to every workshop. Take every tutorial. Don’t take them for granted because you get to walk away and be like, ‘I could have had all this free time with people that know their way around the industry and didn’t take it’. Meet your peers, depending on what course you might be on, it can be a bit more difficult to mingle but songwriting courses are a lot easier because they have open mics. Mingle with producers. Mingle with the music business students. It’s really important.
LDN: Following that, have you made good connections and how did you make them?
Celine: I think what I got from Uni definitely was finding musicians. There are people that I went to school with and I’m still able to play with and you feel like you can ask people for advice. You know, if I have seen someone who played at a certain venue or worked with certain artists, I can feel more comfortable asking them to put me in touch. I think if you’ve gone to Uni together, there’s a bit more of an understanding.
LDN: What artist out of all the thousands of artists out there would love to just collaborate with?
Celine: I saw RAYE here, like a month ago, and she was absolutely incredible. I think she’s just absolutely incredible and to be in a room with her and work with her, to see her creative mind would be amazing.
LDN: You are a resident artist here at the Roundhouse, which is a huge achievement in your career. How did you get the post and how did you feel once you had been told?
Celine: So we’re meant to be residents that last for a year. I auditioned in 2018 right when BIMM was ending so it was a way to move into a new community. I felt like I wasn’t quite done yet with meeting people and that’s why I started here. But the great thing about the Roundhouse is that even though technically, I was only an official resident artist, then you stay on the roster. I’ve been able to play gigs and festivals here.
Photo Credit: George Bell (@georgethomasbell)
LDN: And what’s the highlight of your career so far?
Celine: I would say, I can’t even really pinpoint one thing that feels like it was the biggest achievement. But what I can really appreciate is the growth, especially thinking about how far I’ve come. That feels like the achievement and the highlight, looking back and being like, ‘You know what, I can actually talk to people without getting too anxious. I can produce, I’ve combined all these different genres.’ And that’s something that I just didn’t necessarily know I could do or even thought I was good at.
LDN: Lastly, what are three things that you just cannot live without?
Celine: I would say any sort of recording device. It could just be the recording app on my phone. I really love Tony’s chocolate and I’ll say my vinyl record player. I’ve really grown to love it and being able to just get inspired. Having to listen to an album in the full just changes your perspective.
Celine Love’s EP’s are available to stream on all available platforms including the latest single ‘Silver Lining’. Stream on Spotify here. Catch up with more of Celine’s On The Record series @celinelovemusic_ on TikTok.