Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Cocoa Chat: Eden Rox

Anyone who has followed the British R&B scene over the years, should be familiar with singer/songwriter Celetia Martin. The singer clocked up a couple of underground hits such as ‘Rewind’ and ‘Runaway Skies’ back in the 90's and was a regular performer at live R&B gigs across the country. With her lithe physique and dulcet tones, she reminded me of a British Aaliyah. Things appeared to be on the up and up for her, so I was quite surprised when she disappeared off the radar. A few weeks ago I learned that she was back recording under a new moniker - Eden Rox. As you can see from the publicity shot her 'skater chick' image is a lot edgier compared to the R&B refinery of her ‘Celetia’ days. Her music has also gone through a dramatic transformation. Lead single ‘Crazy’ can best be described as hip-pop/metal, with its frenetic electric guitars, hip hop beats, and in your face lyrics. I managed to catch up with Eden recently to find out what she’s been up to during her hiatus. Read what she had to say.

Hi Eden, many people will remember you as Celetia, the British R&B artist from the 90’s. Can you tell us what you’ve been up to while you were away?

I literally threw myself into song writing, but this time solely for other artists. It was a refreshing change for me as I had only ever written for my own projects... So when my publishers decided to fly me out to Sweden to write with a few pop/rock producers including Anders Bagge and Murlyn (Jjanet Jackson, J-Lo], there was no turning back. It was so cool to hear other artists’ interpretations of my songs. I just knew then I wanted to be a full time songwriter.

Which do you prefer – singing or song writing?

I love both equally... One doesn't come without the other. When I’m writing for someone else I always do guide vocals to show the way I want the song recorded and also when I'm doing my artist thing I always write my own songs.

What it was like to have so much success at such a young age? Was it overwhelming or did you love every minute of the experience?

I absolutely loved it! I had grown up in a very musical family so it was just a natural progression to do it myself. I remember I would break from school half an hour early to go to the recording studios in east London and I would literally do my homework between takes (laugh).

So you’re now back on the scene with a total change of image and musical direction, what brought about the change?

Like I mentioned before, I grew up in a musical family and was exposed to all sorts of music from soul to hip-hop to rock. Artists like Teena Marie, Run DMC and Guns N Roses were all played in my house and I loved them all. So when I decided to write my album I really wanted to fuse all the sounds I liked from an early age into my own personal sound...My image is just me. I like to fuse my style like I do my music.

How do you think your fans from your Celetia days will respond to your new sound?

I have a lot of fans hit me up on my Myspace and have given me some great reactions towards my new material, so all in all it’s been pretty good. I think a lot of people want to hear something fresh instead of the same old music formulas. I most definitely am tired of the same old same old and that’s why I chose the direction I did.

What do you think of the British music scene at the moment compared to when you first came out? Do you think it’s more inclusive of black artists, or has more or less remained the same?

I don't think it’s changed. I think it’s always going to be harder for black artists in this country but, at the end of the day you can’t hold back good music, so as long as we continue to make good music we will always be around. From back in the day with Soul II Soul, to the current day with Estelle, Dizzee Rascal and Lemar, they are all doing their thing right now and in a big way too.

Who are some of the artists you are into at the moment, who gets heavy rotation on your I-Pod?

First of all I don't even have an I-pod (laugh), I know, I’m so late. I listen to everything in my car on CD to be honest. But the artists getting the most plays right now are The Ting Tings, Scouting for Girls, Lil Wayne, MIA and Dizzee Rascal

Are you into music-related reality shows like X-Factor/American Idol? Do you think it’s a good way to enter the industry, or do you more champion the traditional route of gigging and grafting ?

Honestly, I think any way you can get to your goal - get it! It won’t be the same for everyone. I grew up in music and my Mum was in the industry already, so was my uncle, so I had a few hook ups. Whereas someone who doesn't have that in their reach, a show like the X Factor might be great for them.

Finally, what are your plans for 2009?

I plan on releasing my album and touring...I can’t wait! The aim is to build on my fan base and from there the sky's the limit

The video for Crazy

Vintage Celetia - Rewind

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I am a thirty-something African Caribbean female from South East London. My blog will shine a light on Black British culture offering the best in entertainment, fashion, beauty, community, film & music, with the occasional personal musing thrown in from yours truly. Thank you for taking out the time to peek into the pages of my diary. Now grab a cup of cocoa, relax and enjoy.