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The tiny but mighty Celia Chavez has spent the past several years traveling the world as a 20-Feet-From-Stardom-style backup singer to stars such as Pink, Melody Gardot, Uh Huh Her, Burning Spear and Julia Fordham. She is currently in the touring band for Enrique Iglesias. Celia is also one half of the new Americana songwriting duo, SOPH, aka the Sisters of Perpetual Heartache, along with fellow singer-songwriter Nicky Corbett. Celia's first record, Sailor's Daughter, and her most recent 5-song EP, White Flag Blue Sky, display a musical sensibility akin to Lucinda Williams, PJ Harvey, Shelby Lynne and Joni Mitchell - an electric blend of rock, Americana, and jazz that reestablishes her not only as a singular vocalist, but also as a versatile songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
Her first single for London Tone Music is called Dreamland, a song packed with charm, hope and romance. Celia’s lovely voice is layered on top of guitar, uke, keyboards, drums and glockenspiel. It’s a sweet, fun song, but the inspiration for it came from the desire to hold on to the best part of a relationship, even if the romance doesn’t last forever. Celia explains, “Dreamland was written around the middle of 2013. I was newly single after a long relationship and taking a break from dating. I remember talking to a good friend who was bemoaning her own breakup, and she said she hated the thought that all the sweet things her ex told her at the beginning of her relationship felt like lies now. My words of consolation to her were something like "No, he truly meant them when he said them, and they're true - you ARE beautiful and amazing and he was just reflecting that back to you. I had this mental image of saving those compliments in a jar like pennies, and pulling them out during down times when you lose sight of those things about yourself.”
The original demo of the song was first sent to London Bridge Studio producer/engineer Jonathan Plum, whom Celia had worked with before when she lived in Seattle. “I trust Jonathan completely,” Celia said, “he always has great ideas on how to twist my original song idea. He is great about making interesting alterations to the rhythm that injects the song with freshness and vibe.“ She also got a chance to work with one of Jonathan’s studio partners, Eric Lilavois, in Pasadena. She said that was a fun experience, too. “As I'm based in LA these days, it was so helpful to be able to come to Crown City and lay down the ukulele and vocals with Eric. We had so much fun - it's kind of a silly-ish song in some ways, so we goofed around and laughed a fair bit. “
A true woman of the world, with many musical influences, Celia estimates that she has now toured in over 30 countries, some on several occasions. When asked whose music is influencing lately, Celia thought about it and said, “ I'm actually listening to the latest Lucinda Williams record, Where the Sprit Meets the Bone, over and over again - because I dig her approach to songwriting and the way she incorporates her love of poetry into her lyrics. At another end of the musical spectrum, I also love Jessie J - she can sing her ass off and still knows how to deliver a melody, plus she is a killer songwriter. Joe Henry's songs always devastate me with their beautiful elegance and if my music could ever have the intelligent appeal and impact that Patti Smith's does, I would be super happy about that.”
Celia’s London Tone single is coming at a great time for her. “I have a double-EP project coming out the first part of 2015, and its theme has to do with awakening, so having a song called Dreamland is a fitting prelude.”