I recently became aware of singer, rapper and producer CileoJewel’s music online. I was impressed by her talent and unique approach to music. I recently got the opportunity to talk to her about her music, background, and new EP, which you can listen to below.
Here’s what she had to share with Southern Laced…
Q: What inspired you to want to get into music?
A: I started at a very early age. My parents played a lot of R&B, soul, Hip-Hop and gospel. Hearing how that music made me feel, it made me want to do it.
Q: When did you start singing?
A: I can’t put an age on it, but I started taking it seriously in high school around the age of 15 or 16. However, at the time there was a lot I was insecure about with singing. So I explored other avenues like producing and rapping .
Q: What was the process in learning how to produce? Did any particular producers inspire you?
A: At that time, everybody would freestyle beating on the table. So I thought it would be cool to be the one to make beats for them to rap to. I looked up to Timbaland, Dr. Dre and definitely Drake’s producer “40” really had an impact on me.
A friend of mine in college introduced me to a website online to make beats. I evolved from using that site to using other equipment to make them.
Q: Do you play any instruments?
A: I started out playing the trumpet, but I ended up putting it down. I tried to teach myself guitar and piano. I don’t consider myself a pianist, but I know my way around it.
Q: Do you still like to incorporate rap into your music? If not, are you mainly focused on singing?
A: I definitely like to incorporate both. Sometimes not within the same song, but definitely on the same project.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your new project.
A: It’s called “Novelty”. I thought about how in school you need a book for a particular class. So I looked at this as a prerequisite for my album.
Novelty means something new and fresh. I see myself as trying something new with music as well as my life.
Q: How many song are on there?
A: It includes five songs, which are all written and produced by me except for 2.
Q: How would you describe your sound?
A: Very R&B… very soul… Something you can feel in your spirit; real experiences. I tried to be more vulnerable. There’s definitely some storytelling involved and some hip-hop in there as well. Something you can vibe out to.
Q: What does your name mean?
A: My government name is Jewel. So I kept that in there. In the past, my friend gave me the nickname “Cielo” which means “Sky” in French. I switched up the spelling and gave it its own meaning, which is “Special One” or “Queen”. Like I said, I wanted to add Jewel because that will always be a part of me. The name definitely came from the heart. I think I embody what they mean.