Photo: Mia Clark
In the age of streaming, you have the seeming entirety of music at your fingertips. In turn, algorithmic-based playlisting has all but given way to the unadulterated rush of genuine music discovery. Gone are the days of stumbling into smoky, jazz bars only to be greeted by a once-in-a-lifetime voice. Well, at least that was the overall impression I had before coming upon Celeste.
Born in the US but raised in the UK, Celeste is a generation-defying icon in the making. Her larger-than-life blend of soul, R&B, and jazz calls to mind the greats, Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald to name a couple. And yet, it is a distinctively modern approach. One informed by the past to create an irreplaceable sound that continually strives forward, reaching unprecedented heights.
Celeste’s generation-spanning talent has already begun to earn her acclaim on the other side of the pond, winning both the BRITs Rising Star award and BBC’s Sound of 2020 poll. A single listen to her latest single, “Stop This Flame,” makes the universal appeal clear as day.
“Stop This Flame” is a track that seizes you and never quite lets go. Moving forward at a euphoric pace, the British artist’s voice soars over a series of skittering jazz piano keys and production that swells and falls to a hush at a moment’s notice. Celeste spoke further on the inspiration behind the track, sharing,
“In essence, ‘Stop This Flame’ is a song about seeing it through to the end. Whether it’s about not letting go of love, not letting go of a dream or stridently coming through some form of adversity. The song has always evoked those feelings within me.”
Celeste’s music does more than stop you dead in your tracks. It entrances you. It transports you to an entirely different moment in time. It brazenly ignites music’s collective love for the generations-long tradition that is soul.
Listen to “Stop This Flame” below: