From the genesis of her career, dancehall entertainer Ce’Cile has always sought to break new ground so that she could plant the seeds for success – and she flourished – adding a bit of change that the local music industry needed to see from female artistes. As a recording artiste, she injected satire in her lyrical presentations, Changez, released in the early 2000s, one of the first tracks to put that side of Ce’Cile on exhibition. Not long after, the self-proclaimed ‘Bad Gyal’ of dancehall jumped on the Liquid riddim with Sean Paul for Can You Do The Work, which was a testament to her bad girl demeanour. It received international success as one of the tracks featured on the Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum-selling album Dutty Rock. She has a wide catalogue of dancehall as well as reggae music, some of which she produced, but says there is no one song that she likes.
“There have been quite a few (that I like), some of which did not become hits, but then again, not all great songs become hits and not all hits are great songs,” Ce’Cile told The Gleaner.
Not one for the ceremonial traditions of modern society, like marriage, Ce’Cile shares that she probably will not marry but is very content with being a mother to her daughter, Christiyana Martin, who she affectionately calls Nana, the main inspiration to her putting her creative mind to work to write the children’s book Oceana Adventures of a Jamaican Mermaid, published in 2018. She continues to make her mark in music at the fore and behind the scenes but aired the possibility of doing much more. Her greatest concern about the future of Jamaica’s music industry is, she said, “the basic quality of music produced”, which, through her label, Ce’Cile has plans to be one of the producers adding value to reggae and dancehall music for decades to come.
What are the first five things you do when you wake in the morning?
1. Check my phone
2. Check on Nana (my daughter)
3. Try to go back to bed
4. Check my phone
5. Check my phone again
Recording artiste, producer, record label owner, and as of 2019, children’s book author are listed in bold on your r é sum é . In what ways have each redefined how you handle business and personal life? (b) Now that you’re writing, have you thought to do an autobiography to publish and sell?
Well, I had established my label since my first hit Changez. That song was self-produced, with the help of Cordell ‘Skatta’ Burrell. I am happy to say that I have produced most of my music from the beginning of my career as a recording artiste. Author, now that is a new venture. I realise I know nothing about the world of publishing and I am learning as I go along. In terms of how I handle the business and personal life, I can admit that I have had to redo some things; lost some money in doing things the wrong way but it was how I learn. And sure I have considered an autobiography, but I don’t know how I would sell it as yet. People seem to gravitate to controversy and I am not always up for that, but we will see.
With ‘Changez’, did you ever receive any backlash then, and do you think the reaction would have been the same (or different) if you did another track poking fun at your male counterparts?
I think I got minor backlash from fans of artistes like Bounty Killer, who took it a bit personal, but it wasn’t anything too crazy. I got more backlash from Do It To Me Baby on the Coolie Dance riddim than I did with the release of Changez. As for if I recorded and released Changez in this era, I believe the backlash would be much more extreme because of social media. I am sure I would have received a tonne of backlash, a tonne of disrespect but also a tonne of laughs. To be honest, I don’t see myself doing a track of that type now, not with social media being the way it is.
Describe a first date with Ce’Cile … and what does the man need to do to impress you in order to get a second date?
I always look for a vibe on a first date because there’s nothing to that but a connection and energy. It determines if a second date will even happen because I am definitely not one to think I know someone from a first date, so a second would purely be based on how we meshed.
Upcoming projects for Ce’Cile and the record label?
It was decided that the name of the record label would be BCM Music, which is affectionately called Bad Company. It’s now an affiliate company of Downsound Records (DSR) of which I am very grateful to Joe B (Josef Bogdanovich, DSR CEO) and Skatta for facilitating the vision. I love production as much as I love singing, so I am fulfilling the dream now, but doing what I enjoy. The search is currently on for new talent.