Jazz-inspired British singer-songwriter Celeste made her album debut yesterday. Not Your Muse (2021), originally set for release in late 2020, appears as two disc parts in its deluxe form, encompassing old romance influences and a vocally rich arrangement.
Breathy, smoky tones jumping across track to track are signature for the 2020 Brit Awards Rising Star. Touching on topics on body image, fledgling relationships, empowerment, family and political climates, Celeste rises to the table for humble artistry and storytelling.
Where track 10’s The Promise looks at the repetition of old, damaging patterns, track 12’s Some Goodbyes Come With Hellos serves as a type of counter song, honest in its approach and stripped back delivery. Some review critics have labelled the mastered LP as promising but ‘dull’, however, this take seems to overlook the at-first-glance understated pop nature of jazz and neo-soul, along with its lyrical and instrumental prowess. Where expectations in the music industry exist, hitting the mainstream becomes the coveted pinnacle – anything short of this is deemed as lack-lustre which simply isn’t the case with refined artists like Celeste. The British-Jamaican singer has worked with the likes of Finneas, Billie Eilish’s producer brother, on the underrated I Can See The Change. Having also had singles on Sky Sports weekend coverage (Stop This Flame), John Lewis’ Christmas advert (A Little Love) and the soundtracks to Netflix’s ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ (Hear My Voice) and Pixar’s ‘Soul’ (It’s All Right), its safe to say Celeste has poked through to mainstream avenues; yet, the pressures of a successful debut remain high.
With jazz on the uptake and a new appreciation for classic genres, Not Your Muse caters to its audience and simultaneously invites a contemporary one.