Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Howdy, I’m CEEM, a singer-songwriter, producer, advocate, queer opinionated
artist, that is a Seattle resident, a global citizen and universal pain in the ass.
You’re a classically-trained pianist. Was that how you got your start in music and
what led you down the path to becoming a music artist?
Yes, I was obsessed with classical music growing up, well actually I was
obsessed with all music, but during junior high what I had on repeat was Bach,
Beethoven and Mozart. But what actually got me into piano was being in a choir
and watching my teacher play the piano, and then falling in love with classical
music and learning to play that, so it was just a natural extension to begin
writing my own music from there.
How have you evolved as a music artist since you graduated from Berklee
School of Music?
Berklee really opened some doors for me with how to use the tools that are
available. As a musician and producer, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed with
everything that is available to help the creative process. After graduating from
Berklee, I’ve learned to narrow my focus down to my intentions for what I am
working on. That might sound weird, but it taught me to put the intention of the
music first, from there you identify the tools that you need to create your vision.
That’s really helped me grow as an artist, so I don’t find myself spinning in
overwhelm. Also, after leaving Berklee I’m experimenting more with sounds
and trying to evolve my sound with experimentation, and somehow fuse that
into an electronic dance sound.
Your music is described as “Emotronic”. What does that style entail?
Emotronic fuses the musical elements from EDM and Pop, so there is this
danceable quality to the music, but the emotional aspect comes from the story
and lyric writing. I feel like my songs have a vulnerability about them, and I feel
very exposed singing them, hell, one song “Unbreakable”, almost every time I
sit down to play it on the piano, I find myself choking back tears, but
underneath the story your hearing deep driving bass and a beat that you could
dance too. This sounds really weird trying to explain it, but it works.
What can you tell us about your latest single, “Better Than That”?
I wrote “Better Than That” in response to feeling abandoned and let down.
This relationship that I thought I knew so well and could always rely on, all the
sudden wasn’t there, hence I thought I knew this relationship Better Than That.
That sounds so cheesy, but it’s true. I could always depend on the strength of
this relationship to help guide me through things and when I wrote the song
during the summer of 2018, at that time, many things in my life were scattered,
and I didn’t have the stability or comfort from this relationship that I was used
to. It was like the rug was pulled out from under my feet and in addressing this
relationship, I came up with the title thinking to myself, “I thought I knew us
better than that”. I was left thinking to myself, “Did I rely too much on this
relationship? How did I let myself get so attached and not even realize it?” It’s
like I needed to find the cause and effect of why things had changed so
However, going through this rough patch with this relationship, actually made
things stronger and better between us. There was a lesson there that I had to
learn, when shit breaks and it heals, it heals stronger than it was before. It’s
hard to see that when you’re going through it, but once I came out the other
side, I looked back and saw why this particular relationship had to fall apart in
order to get put back together, and really the lesson or the moral of the story to
the song is, no matter how well you THINK you know something or someone,
things can always change, and it’s up to us how we respond to that change.
You produced the single in your own studio. Do you prefer working alone or are
you open to collaborations?
Totally open to collaboration. My favorite person to collaborate with is the artist
Handsome Jeremy. He’s good at pulling things out of me that I think about and
vice versa, we complement each other really well. So yeah, totally open to
collaborations, so if anyone out there wants to collaborate, hit me up. But for this
project, I had to do it by myself, because I had a lot of demons that I had to
face, and doing that in an open forum, when you’re already feeling raw can be
intimidating. Plus, I had to personally dig deep to fight those demons and I
could only do that alone.
What can audiences expect from your upcoming EP, “Cruel World”?
They can expect to be taken on a journey, or at least that’s what I tell myself.
There’s some dark stuff in a Cruel World, but I try to focus on how to get
through it. For example, Unbreakable is a direct narrative to being in the middle
of a terrorist attack that a friend and I were in a few years ago. We found
ourselves literally running for our lives, but what I learned from that event is
that it doesn’t define me, and if anything, it made me stronger and I feel
compelled to share that story to help others find their own inner strength. So
it’s that type of narrative you can expect, if you put light into a dark place, you
take away any sort of power that it had.
What’s next for your career?
Aside from musical world domination? I’m hoping to tour this record and I’ve
already got my eyes on the next project. Since a Cruel World is so heavy, my
next project is going to be lighter in context and more danceable. Synthwave
meets the Emotronic. It’s going to be fun, and the title I’m thinking of is
“Nighthawk: The adventures of the electronic clit”. Is the title too long?
What advice would you have for aspiring singers/songwriters?
Keep f’ing writing! Don’t stop! I stopped, and I never felt right about myself, and
as soon as I picked it back up again, everything in my life changed. Just
keeping doing you, no matter what people say. Take the feedback you hear
and see where that takes you, but just don’t stop creating and writing.
What’s your life like outside of the studio?
Life outside of the studio, does that exist? I joke. Well it consists of showering
my little pit bull with love and affection. You’ll also find me around Seattle
hanging out with friends in bars running my mouth or running around the lake
early in the morning to get the neurons firing my brain to keep creating and
diving deeper into what my next move is.
Let the readers know where to find you online.
Find me @musicbyceem on all social channels and say hi! I like it when people
message me and I message back, so let’s chat.


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