Groove Odyssey catches up with Paris Cesvette ahead of the launch of her stunning new album, Celestial.
Paris, how are you?
I am GREAT! Thanks for asking!
You have been living and breathing music since the age of 5 when you were taught how to read and write music. Looking back, was it always an ambition of yours to work in the industry?
Always! From about 8 years old I said “I am either going to be the greatest music producer or Rapper.” (My strong Hertfordshire accent killed my rap dream before I even hit 12) MUSIC PRODUCER IT WAS!!! The training at school was strictly classical, traditional Jazz & Stage music. At home It was completely the opposite! Jazz Funk / Hip Hop / Rare Groove / R&B and Reggae. I literally knew the lyrics to Blackstreet, Earth, Wind & Fire & Jodeci before I knew my ABC’s. This gave me such a broad musical vision from a very early age. My would always claim that there was a Paris sound in what I did and reminded me of that EVERY time it came to being assessed reminding me NOT to lose that. Realising this I really focused on composing, arrangement and production. Before I even finished school I was constantly in a recording studio. I didn’t party or have a social life.
Every opportunity I could I was learning, watching & session playing on my sax and keys. It was an obsession.
NOTHING HAS CHANGED & HERE WE ARE!!
After you finished school you got a job at record label and agency MN2S. What did you learn during your time at MN2S that has influenced how you make music and who you are as a producer today?
At MN2S I saw a whole new world & it changed everything! Seeing the core of what goes on behind an international DJ, clublife, event & music management the total opposite world to what I was used to as a musician. It’s also where I wrote my first ever song for an established artist which became my first traxsource release!!
MN2S offices were above Stock, Aitken & Waterman Studios. For months I had been itching to experience what it was like down there. Every day different artists would be turning up and I was like a kid in a sweet shop. One day Danism & Kathy Brown were recording a song for MN2S records and they were on a limited recording time due to Kathy having to be back in New York. The director suggested I go down and have a go at helping them work on this song. I COULD OF SCREAMED. I had 30 minuets to write a song for KATHY BROWN and something came over me. I just went into action mode and the song Light Up My Life was born!! The time at MN2S was like the seal on the deal, my desire to produce, DJ and make musical house music was all I wanted to do. It also inspired me to have my own record label, Jack 2 Jazz records!
Not many people know that you are classically trained and spent your younger years touring in orchestras. How did the transition from classic to house music come about and where did your earliest inspirations come from?
I GOT IT FROM MY DADDY! Dance music was just as present in my life as classical music, just from very different places. I HAD to do classical music because that was the main style in which music education at my school was taught but my father LOVED dance music.
I remember being in his car blaring Artful Dodger, The Streets, MJ Cole, David Morales, Roger Sanchez and Masters at Work, but he also loved classical music too. There was one corner of my dad’s record collection that I was fixated by to the point he had to make a special intervention as he was SO FED UP of his records going missing upstairs.
I was a total music nerd. When I hit my teens internet stations were just forming particularly Musicmatch Radio, Smoothjazz.com & Deepinside and this is where my obsession went into over drive as now I could have a worlds worth of music at my fingertips without leaving the house. So knowing what I was like Dad held up two records and told me to choose one, he felt that either of them would help guide me into a creative slip stream. It truly did! His diverse ear and both of my parents belief in me became and remains my strongest inspiration.
Your much anticipated debut album Celestial is coming out on Groove Odyssey on 12th February. Was it something you had been sitting on for a while? And much time did you spend on it?
Every song was specifically made for the artist you hear performing it. So as the final line up of artists would slightly change, so would the productions. To produce the album that way was not actually my initial idea. After starting on House FM and building a great working rapport with Groove Odyssey we spoke about doing an album. Mikee asked for 5 songs to start off the process and I went to work.I made them and he loved them. A week later that computer blew up and with it went the first concepts of my debut album. On the hard drive were only the drafts. This was actually the best thing that could of happened as I hit a revolution in my DJ style and production.Without that happening Celestial would of sounded NO WHERE near it does now, I started creating the album again and this time Mikee guided me into being endorsed by the British Arts Council which helped fulfill every vision I had for the album.
Over the years I had built up an amazing production process with my mixing and mastering engineer Luis “Loowee R” Rivera. The moment I finished a song it would go straight to mixing and mastering. When he was done so was the song. It was the most intense & challenging process but because of that it took a solid but swift 6 months of being on it EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY.
What is behind the title Celestial, and how does it relate to the album?
Throughout my career I have been very lucky to be among great musical company. This album is absolutely star studded and because of this Celestial is the perfect title.
Now word on the street is that the first single from the album ‘Sacred’ recently hit number one on the Traxsource soulful house chart. That’s incredible. How did you feel when you found out that it had reached the top spot?
It felt amazing! This song was the first reflection of my album and to have it received that way was literally mind blowing.
Why did you choose ‘Sacred’ as the first release from the album?
We all had so many favorites from the album, we were between five songs but Mikee fell in love with 'Sacred' from the moment he heard the demo! So as him being head honcho of the label and me having to many favourites and Josh Milan being such a house legend(!!) we couldn’t go wrong.
Aside from ‘Sacred’, what tracks from the album stand out in your mind or hold the most meaning for you?
I can not even answer that because every song and artist has special meaning to me!!
Celestial features an incredible 12 artists including Will Downing, Mikie Blak, Omar and Dawn Tallman – what was it like working with such talented people?
Humbling and simply life changing. To work with Will Downing was one of my bucket list moments and working with him over the past year on multiple productions on his album and mine probably is one of my greatest achievements to date. Omar & Junior as soul legends and british icons this is something I am going to be telling my great great grandchildren!! Mama worked with OMAR & Junior!!! Look heres the Vinyl!! lol
The amazing thing with these artists is that they are probably the most humble and professional set of musicians I have ever worked with and I just cannot wait for everything else we all have to come!
Is there anyone that you missed out on working with that you would love to collaborate with in the future?
Okay in terms of Legends, Bobby Caldwell is my missing piece to the puzzle but believe me when I say!! Next album... we have got it in the bag!! My next project I am hoping to keep pushing the boundaries and working with a variety of artists. I love Xavier Omar, SPZKRT, Kali Uchi, Daniel Caeser, H.E.R , Sabrina Claudio, DVSN and without a doubt Tom Misch.
What do you want your listeners to walk away feeling after hearing the album?
I made this album with the idea that however you enjoy YOUR music Celestial has a place in your playlist. Whether you enjoy your music in the middle of a dancefloor or chilling at home with a glass of wine or a cup of tea, there is something for everyone to relate to and share me, my passion & story in the music.
Are there any mixes from the album in the pipeline? And who would you like to remix your work?
My engineer and Collaborator Luis “Loowee R“ Rivera has a very exclusive engineer cut of my song with Darryl Walker – 'In My Life'. That is going to be so good! My other collaborator Ian has a remix of our production with Omar!! I haven’t heard that yet.. but phew!! It's Ian Friday!!
I'd love to have Kaytranada, FKJ, Karizma, Moon Boots, Kerri Chandler or Peggy Gou remix my work! They all have seriously unique sounds and would love to hear how they rock it!!
What, if anything, do you think that you’ve learned about yourself during the making of Celestial?
My persistence! I never really understood how powerful my commitment and focus could be until it came to this album. My self discipline took a new turn of strength. There were so many challenges on this journey and I managed to stay positive and most of all creative through out every brick wall that arose!
You’re going to be launching the album at Ministry of Sound on 10 February, where you’ll be playing alongside Bobby & Steve and the one and only Louie Vega - What does it feel like to share the stage with one of house music’s greatest artists?
Louie Vega and his Elements Of Life are one of the biggest inspirations on my journey as a music producer he was fusing jazz and house to the highest degree. I was 19 years old when I first met Louie and that was the first house night I went to by myself! I was so inspired by his productions I just remember watching him in absolute awe! 10 years later I am playing with him at Ministry Of Sound and launching my debut album at the same time. PINCH ME NOW! Hahaha
And finally, what more can we look forward to from you over the coming months?
SO MUCH MORE PRODUCTION... I've just got my first single of the year back from mastering something very current and edgy. Just started the production of another song which features an amazing Neo Soul legend and
I am currently remixing The Groovejunkies and Reelsoul! You can also catch me spinning in Bournemouth, Spain twice this year as I will be doing Groove Odyssey Ibiza and a beautiful festival along with a fellow DJ Queen of mine but more details on that too come!!
It is very busy right now but I wouldn’t want it any other way!!