Rapper and songwriter Celso recently completed his second album, Gemini, and provided byteclay.com with an early listen to the inspiring project. The 11-track LP features Brooklyn emcee Skyzoo, Atlanta rap duo EarthGang, and Ohio artist Jèan P The MC, with production by Mydus of Gld Mnd Music. Celso calls Gemini his “most self-reflective project” yet, and the compelling album exudes confidence and determination. Look for Gemini to drop on June 20, and check out our exclusive interview with Celso below.
Q: How did living in Honduras influence you musically?
A: While living in Honduras I learned to appreciate a variety of sounds at a young age. It was very similar to island life in the sense that everyone was free-spirited and very much into music. My grandfather was lead drummer in a local band so he taught me a lot about different rhythms and putting different instruments together. I owe him and Sambo Creek, Honduras a lot.
Q: What advice do you have for artists trying to make it onto their local radio stations?
A: I myself am still breaking through but I have found that professionalism and persistence work best when trying to catch the attention of local DJs. It is exactly like selling cookies, if they don’t taste right no one will buy. You have to put out hot records that people want to hear. Supply and demand. College radio is the best start along with underground/rookie segments of your local station’s programming.
Q: Many of the tracks on Gemini are highly motivating. What inspires you to stay on your grind?
A: Everyone has different reasons for doing what they do. My inspiration and drive comes from watching my mom struggle. My dad put us out when I was 8 and she picked up two jobs. I’ve been paying bills since I was 13. There are too many people riding on my success; failure just isn’t part of the plan. I really feel that in order to be rewarded by the universe you need to do your part. Sort of like “one hand washes the other.” My ultimate goal is to give back and be a light in someone’s life like some have been in mine.
Q: How long did it take to craft Gemini and what was that process like?
A: Gemini has officially been in the works for well over a year. Beat selection began in 2013 before we even knew what this would turn into. By “we,” I mean my producer, Mydus, and I. The process was long and we kind of dragged it out. I’m pretty precise when it comes to studio time and the recording process itself but it took countless mixes until we were satisfied. I learned to trust the methods we put in play and just had fun with it. Mixing shouldn’t be rushed. Each time we listened to different tracks we found one way or another to improve although it was sonically fine to anyone else. This was recorded across the map at Capitol Records in L.A., Studio City, Atlanta while we attended A3C, Orlando at Phat Planet Studios (shout out to Pete and Matt!), and in Miami in our in-house studio, GLD MND Studios.
Q: What can longtime fans expect from the album?
A: Aww man they can expect anything and everything. The album is melodious, funky, up beat, mellow and everything in between. I stuck to my guns and kept it lyrical through out. Subject matter matters! I have features by Earthgang and Skyzoo. As you mentioned it does have a lot of motivating messages through out and I hope I make a difference for someone. If I reach one person enough to make them view something negative in a positive light, then I did what I set out to do with Gemini. Just expect me raw and uncut. This is my most personal project yet and the first under GLD MND Music.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: In the coming months we will have visuals for “What a Life” and “Word To My City” to accompany the June 20 release of Gemini. We aim to release “What a Life” as the first single off of the album. I recently performed at the Soul Kitchen in Mobile, Alabama, and am working with a booking manager to increase physical presence. GLD MND as a team will be out in L.A. in June actively promoting the album release as well as attending various meetings in the works. I look forward to connecting with a larger audience and showing the fans that this is all about them. I mean that sincerely.
Follow Celso on Twitter @Celso_Music_ and Instagram @Celso_Music