When Celeste unveiled the understated beauty of ‘Strange’ towards the latter part of 2019, the track immediately propelled the US-born, UK-raised singer towards the UK’s most sought-after accolades. Over a year later, ‘Not Your Muse’ arrives off the back of a BRITs Rising Star award win and topping the BBC Sound Of 2020 poll. Having taken a breath to decompress from the hype, her debut full-length sees her return with the lyrical openness and musical authenticity that underpinned her early material.
Embodying the essence of her forebears, Celeste builds on a retrospective foundation of jazz and soul, pulled together with modern pop and R&B nods. The gentle simplicity of ‘Strange’ runs throughout the likes of the delicately-rousing title track, sitting against the jazz club grandeur of ‘Tell Me Something I Don’t Know’ and ‘Stop This Flame’. Even in its most radio-friendly moments, ‘Not Your Muse’ turns to vast string sections and brass instrumentals that have in recent years only flirted with the mainstream attention Celeste invites.
Her raspy tones give way to huge notes, effortless in their delivery. No moment feels forced or out of place, even as ‘Beloved’ fully embraces the past and ‘A Little Love’ continues the series of sugary sweet festive adverts. Celeste begs for a return to smoky, underground stages, and much like the stars that paved her way, carries with her the bona fide class to make it all her own.
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Celeste, Laura Mvula and Black Country, New Road also made the shortlist.
Set to be filmed at her five-night residency at Union Chapel!
The clip was directed by Noah Lee and features Celeste falling through the rabbit hole into a surreal new world.
With a BRIT and a Number One LP, you may think you’ve got Celeste’s trajectory sussed. But though she’s a firmly mainstream concern now, ‘Not Your Muse’ finds her turning the game to her own image.