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Interview: Cen'C Love

Interview: Cen'C Love

Interview: Cen'C Love

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"Probably as soon as I could talk I wrote my first song"


Cen'C Love is an up-and-coming reggae singer-songwriter. She is the daughter of the legendary Bunny Wailer. Her new single Casanova, was released in September last year and her debut album 'Love Letter' is about to be released on February 9th. Cen'C recently discussed her songwriting process, memories of her childhood, and her lyrical inspirations.

Cen'C Love

How does your songwriting process work?

I get divine inspiration from Life. Sometimes it begins with a melody in my head that I turn into chords on the guitar, or a "la la la" that I turn into lyrics. At other times it starts with a thought, a catchy phrase, a poem that I turn into a song. Not all the songs I compose are completed in one day. There are those magic moments when everything just flows out at once, but often I develop my masterpieces over time. That can range from a couple days to a couple years.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?

Probably as soon as I could talk I wrote my first song, maybe not on paper. My mom used to make up childrens' songs for us growing up so that was natural.

What was the first song you learned how to play on guitar?

I am Ready for Love from India Arie, was the first song I learned to play, once I got over my bruised fingertips.

What inspires you lyrically?

I am inspired by everyone's stories, my own included. Our experiences give us so much to write about.

Do you remember the first reggae song you heard?

It was probably in the womb, and was most likely a Wailers tune. I do remember listening to Black Uhuru as a child.

Do you remember your first time onstage?

Cen'C LoveSince becoming a recording artist, my first time on stage was at Centennial Park in Atlanta in 2006. I had a little stage experience prior to that as a performing arts student at Dekalb School of the Arts in Atlanta.

What are some of your favorite childhood memories?

Listening to my father reasoning with his brethren in our yard. I learned a great deal about life and about how men think. He is very colorful and entertaining, and his voice is one of a kind. I really loved traveling with my Mom in the summer and going to cultural events and meeting other Rasta children and their families. I learned a lot from those experiences.

What do you feel are the biggest misconceptions about your father?

People always think that he's sitting on a bag of money. But he is really a pipeline. As it comes it flows.

What are the most important lessons you learned from your parents?

My parents taught me that we create our own reality, and you reap what you sow. They also taught me that a strong foundation is the best gift you can give a child to prepare them for a successful future in this world. If you sow good seeds and begin with strong roots you will get firm trees and rich fruit.

How do you feel that your sound has evolved over the years?

When I first began composing as a recording artist I had more R&B and Neo-Soul tunes. Because my voice was still fresh out of training, it was a little difficult to come out of my round classical voice. I had to work on getting back the natural edge I had before vocal training. That's when I started singing with a more Dancehall flavor and writing in a 'street' style. Now I'm in the middle with a sing-jay vibe. I have grown to embrace my unique sound, and my confidence has helped me to polish my delivery.

Who are some of your favorite producers to work with and why?

Bunny Wailer is one of my favorite producers to work with because he allows me creative control in the studio, and supports my compositions with high quality live music. I also enjoyed working with Bobby Digital. He appreciates my voice and originality, and is very encouraging when I am in the booth. I also love his riddims.

Cen'C Love

What artists and producers would you love to collaborate with?

The list is long! I look forward to working with Andrew Tosh, NAS, Sizzla Kalonji, Outkast, Queen Ifrica, Pressure, Fyakin, Lady Saw, Tanya Stephens, Ras Attitude, Junior Gong, Beres Hammond, and Midnite. I really could go on. Producers I admire... Stephen Marley, Stephen McGregor, Rico Wade from Organized Noize and more.

What advice would you give to up--and-coming vocalists and songwriters?

Read Read Read! Reading and writing go hand in hand. Be willing to put in long hours and sacrifice food and sleep. Make sure you love what you do so it's work and play in one. Maintain positive relationships, because the music world is very small.

Can you tell us about your upcoming album 'Love Letter' ?

Shaka and I met at Georgia State University and have been close friends and music partners since. I had previously written and made demos for about half of the songs before we even decided to do the album. It's while I was in my last trimester we decided to start recording for the album. We didn't have a name until we were almost done recording. Cen'C Love - Love LetterWe linked up with musical engineer Paul Katzman, one of Shaka's friends and a longtime fan of "Supreeme". He was eager to do some recording while he was off from school for a while. After I gave birth to my son in December 2009, we cranked out the album. Shaka had some original beats he was already working on, I had songs I had been longing to get out, so we collaborated. We co-wrote a few songs, and I covered one of his original songs, Springtime. He also added to my acoustic compositions, Hey You and Paradise. On one of the tracks Shaka uses a sample from a Bunny Wailer classic, with a hip hop twist, one of his many tricks, Kanye West style. We had a few 'spontaneous' additions, like Casanova, which I penned a few years ago with a friend of mine, Georgia Phipps-Blake, and Feel Good, which just featured Shaka and my brother Abijah at first, before I added a verse.

We produced the album at Coconut Rose Studio, our home studio in Atlanta, so the environment was relaxed which made the process comfortable and fun. That's what really made it possible for me to spend quality time with my newborn, and regroup. We are now continuing to develop Lyvestone Music, and this is our first project. There are collaborations in the pipeline, but none on this album except features by Shaka Girvan and Abijah Livingston. The music is different, very new, yet it's reminiscent of classic Reggae and R&B, where simplicity goes a longer way. With jazzy melodies plus new-school Dancehall lyrics, a cool ride with unexpected turns like life itself. I'm excited to have this album released, to widen my reach and help engage this generation to open our minds and hearts to another level of consciousness and Love.

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Read comments (1)

Posted by Soul Sis on 01.22.2011
Great interview. From the sound of it, this sister is on her way to becoming one of Reggae's greats. I hope she maintain the positive vibe and hope her album is a hit.

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