Celeste Kellogg – On Her Way Up

by Christian Lamitschka

Meet 17 year old Songwriter, Actress and Nashville Recording Artist Celeste Kellogg from Virginia. At just 16, Celeste had already filmed the lead in an independent movie, where she was also featured on the Soundtrack, filmed a TV Pilot where she composed the music, was featured in Pop Star Magazine, shared the stage with Raven, The Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, The Cheetah Girls, Chuck Wicks, Le Ann Rimes, Daryl Worley, Joey & Rory, Jeffrey Steele and Cowboy Troy, filmed 2 original music videos (of which one has won two awards) and released her debut CD “This Is Where I Wanna Be” where her single “The Look” charted #20 in Germany. Needless to say this Teen has been quite busy. Recently, Christian Lamitschka had the opportunity to sit down with Celeste and talk about what’s ahead for the up-and-coming singer.

Country Music has many new fans in Europe, who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who’se never seen or heard you before.

I honestly didn’t do this on purpose, but my music’s been described as Country/Pop/Rock with a touch of Blues. In a recent performance, Linda Davis (mother of Hilary Scott and singer of “Does He Love You” with Reba McEntire) described me as the Shania Twain of this generation. I feel very honored to be mentioned in the same sentence as Shania.

How was the last year for you? What were the highlights?

Oh my goodness! I have traveled all over the country this past year and met so many amazing people! I have so many but I’ll narrow it down to three major highlights! Working and recording with Cowboy Troy, filming my music video “Looking in Your Eyes”, and traveling to San Jose to perform at the Holiday Parade there. It happens to be on of the top 25 parades in America and it’s televised on NBC. Oh and for the first time I had security guards! lol That’s pretty cool and they were really nice!

What’s your latest CD and how’s it doing?

My first CD, “This Is Where I Wanna Be”, actually debuted December 20th, 2010! It’s doing really well so far and I’m so excited for everyone to finally here my music!

How did you choose the title for the CD, is there a story behind it?

The title of my CD came from the song “Handcuffed to Your Heart.” The last line of the chorus says “This Is Where I Wanna Be”. I think that really describes where I am right now in my life. This is where I truly want to be! I want do be involved in the music business for the rest of my life!

Do you write the songs yourself and if not, how do you go about finding the songs for the your CD?

I have written or co-written all of my songs. I love being a part of the creative process especially if it’s something I really feel! After filming the movie “Much Ado About Middle School” I wrote 19 songs. The movie set pulled out a lot of different emotions in me!

Please tell us about the songs on your album.

Well I have nine songs on my CD. They kind of go from one extreme to the other. My song “The Look” is a really sassy song and has a Country/Rock feel to it. As Andrew Lane, my music producer, would say “It’s a Chick Anthem”. The cool thing about “The Look” is that the writing of the song evolved around the words “Oh no he didn’t!” I can’t wait to shoot the music video for it! Another song on my CD is “Crying With the Sky”. I woke up one morning and it was raining outside and words just started popping in my head to the song.

I finished it in about an hour then went back to sleep. I wrote it about my Grandmother passing away but it can also be about loosing a loved one in a relationship or maybe someone has to move away. I wanted a lot of people to be able to relate to it. Going back to the song “Handcuffed to Your Heart” there’s a cool story that I always like to tell about the recording of that song. We were in the studio and Joe Spivey, the Fiddle player, was asking what I wanted him to do in a certain part. I said “Have you ever heard the Shania Twain song Don’t Be Stupid?” He said “Yeah, actually I played on that!” And I was like “Oh, Okay! Well I want it to have that kind of sound” (while in my head I was thinking OMG! AHHHH). I love that story!

What kind of songs do you like to record the most?

I like recording any song that I have written. It’s amazing to see how it transforms from the song I wrote in my bedroom to coming to life with all the musicians in the studio.

You did a duet with Blake Michael. How did that happen to come about?

I met Blake on the set of “Much Ado About Middle School” and then asked him to be in my “My Jeans” music video. On the set of “My Jeans” he told me to write a song called “Looking In Your Eyes” so I wrote it and we decided to make it a duet. We then recorded it that December and spent about 3 to 4 months filming it in several different locations across the United States.

What’s your favorite song among all the songs you’ve recorded and what’s the story behind it?

Honestly, “The Look!” From the lyrics, to the musicians, to the rocking out it just clicked! Everyone in the studio had a blast recording that song!

How much creative control do you have over your music?

Seriously, 100% but I’m open to suggestions and I’ll take them from anyone who will give them to me!

Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

I’ve had a couple people tell me that one of my songs really helped them through a certain time, and that means so much to me! One girl told me that her Grandfather had passed away so she really related to “Granddaddy’s Island.” Another girl told me that she was having a bad day, so she put on “My Jeans” and it picked up her mood. It really is great to hear that someone is effected by your music!

Who do you look up musically and how deep do your musical roots run?

Musically my two favorite artists are Reba McEntire and Alan Jackson. They really paint a picture with their voices and they’re true artists, not just singers. As for my musical roots, my dad used to sing me to sleep every night with a James Taylor or Eagles song, and my Grandfather’s whole family had a band! My mom is a great dancer but can’t sing at all lol. Love ya mommy!

What do you think about today’s Country Music versus its roots and where do you see it going in the future?

Country music has always been built on the story. It’s still that way now and I think it will always be that way. I introduced someone to country music and she thanked me and said “Celeste! I love how they’re aren’t just singing about Lip Stick.” Now I think Country crossing over more charts starting with Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, and recently Lady Antebellum, with some amazing guitarist like Keith Urban and Brad Paisley I think it’s gaining more fans! But what do I know? I just turned 17! Lol

If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

I would want every legit artist to have the chance to get their music heard!

As an artist you have to do so many different things such as recording, touring, doing interviews etc. What do you like best, what’s your favorite activity?

It’s probably a tie. While I like all aspects of the business my two favorite would probably be the creative part of recording and the live performances. C

Are you doing anything to take country music beyond it’s current borders or are you happy where it is?

I love country music! However, I think it’s really important to bring your own style into any genre. I like adding a bit of energy to my songs, for example in my next music video “The Look” we’re going to try to add some hip-hop dancing to Fiddles! Should be interesting!

What was your big break that got you into the music business?

Probably when I performed with Radio Disney and opened for people like The Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, and Raven. We even got to perform at a Kelly Clarkson concert!

What inspired you to become an artist?

I always loved singing in Church when I was a little girl. I didn’t even want to leave the stage after everyone had left. I think it’s just always been in me!

What drives you?

My love for music and my want to make a difference in the world! In a good way!

What’s unique about you that differentiates you from other artists?

From what I have been told, I don’t think I sound like anyone else. I don’t think I perform like anyone else. I just focus on being the best that Celeste can be and tapping in to who I really am! And that’s what you see on stage and in my songs. So what makes me different? I’m Celeste.

When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

Watching movies and hanging out with friends is probably my favorite way to relax. Along with just sitting down and playing my guitar.

Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?

Yes there is… and I’m not telling :)

Many European fans travel to Nashville for CMA Music Festival (Fan Fair), because of the opportunity to see so many of their favorite stars at the same time. Will you be participating and how will the fans be able to find you?

Yes! Actually I was there last year and the fans were great!!! I will be back again this coming year and I will be performing on the Hard Rock stage!

Is there any place you haven’t played that you would like to?

Aloha *Hawaii*

What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?

Me interacting with them and giving them 150%……

When you’re on tour, do you have time to play tourist?

Wow, I have been so many places this year and so many have been very beautiful. However, many times there is very little time to play tourist. We just kind of zip in and out.

Many music fans today get their information about artists via the internet. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?

I do and Thank You for asking. I have www.celestekellogg.com,  my facebook is www.facebook.com/celestekellogg  and my twitter is www.twitter.com/celestekellogg

Tell us about the fan club and how people can join it.

We are actually launching a new Official Fan Club in 2011. If you check www.celestekellogg.com there should be information about it.

What’s your favorite song that you wish you could have recorded?

No doubt “Then” by Brad Paisley

What message would you like to send your European fans?

I have heard from so many of you about me doing a concert in Europe. We are trying really hard to work this out. You guys have been amazing to me and I want to come perform for and meet you.

Fans are always hungry for good road stories. Do you have one you can tell?

Okay well I was 13 and performing with Radio Disney. We were at the Ted Constant Center in Norfolk, VA and we were opening for the Jonas Brothers. I was dancing around and the heal of my shoe got caught up on some of the cables. I came very close to going down along with taking some equipment with me. You could hear the audience kind of gasp. However, it turned out all good :)

Christian Lamitschka http://www.MySpace.com/ChristianLamitschka

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