Peace Within Me
A fresh approach to an old,old story! Yes! The album is as soft, relaxing and joyful as Cee looks! It speaks of what we all strive for - peace and deep, lasting joy. With her versatility of styles, Cee conveys the unequaled ability to make you feel the emotions of the songs on the CD, most of which she wrote. Not surprising, really, since she has been singing at the tender age of 6, with many groups and choirs, as soloist, all across the US, Europe and the Caribbean - winning many awards from various organizations. From the title song 'Peace Within Me', to 'Amazing Grace' Cee lifts you toward the heart and mind of God. An atypical gospel album it begs to be heard. Give it a listen! The versatile, emotive gospel singer/songwriter, nutrition guru, on how family life and Church taught her to sing, and how tragedy propelled her into the recording business. Her Nina Simone inspired voice, and fluid singing styles have captured the heart, of churchgoers, and those who just want to be blessed - everywhere. "My ultimate joy is singing to people, and being in the studio creating songs' says the Jamaican contralto. How did you learn to sing? I remember at the age of 4, or 5 being on stage at a church concert, reciting poetry, with my father as the prompter. I couldn't remember the lines, so I started singing instead. At six years I was the youngest member of the choir, and in subsequent years, it seems I was always the youngest member of any choir or group that I sang with. And they were many. My mother was a great soprano, and my father sang baritone and played the guitar. Do you still have dreams of greatness? When I was about 16 years old my pastor's wife predicted that I would be great one day. Well 'great' is relative. I believe most of the things I have accomplished were done well. But I still think there is so much more that God has in store for me (to do), and I have all of these God-given songs and ideas that I want to share with the world. What influenced you to sing? There were fourteen of us in the family, including my parents, and everyone had his/her favorite genre of music. So I listened to everything. Most of my siblings were older than I. Oddly enough I seemed to be the only one that enjoyed listening to classical music for long periods of time. My parents noted that and sent me to piano lessons. As a teenager, on Saturday nights, if there were no church social, we would curl up in the living room and listen to soul music of the '50s through the '70s. We grew up in the church, and every morning, and most evenings we would have worship, at which we would sing hymns. I know just about every hymn. Most of us sing well, and even our dog would sing at worship. At church we had youth meetings and here you get the opportunity to sing, act, and recite poetry. Who are your influences? I met Bob Marley as a young girl. He liked one of my older sisters' friend who lived on our street. He would visit her after football sessions. Of course, that was before he became great. I went once to hear him perform at an uptown club. I don't think I need to say how much his music means to me. I would be echoing what all Jamaicans would say. My sisters also knew The Jamaicans, who would hang out at our house at times. Strangely enough, my mother was the best friend of record producer Duke Reid's wife, yet as a singer she never entertained the thought of going in the studio. I think that the studio was considered evil. It was pretty much only secular music was being recorded at the time, and of course, we were Christians. I listen to every kind of music and artist. I draw inspiration from music, art and life. I sang songs of Sandi Patti, Anita Baker and Whitney Houston, before recording my own. Did you get voice training? I was molded by two decades of classical voice training. In high school I won several medals and awards in the annual Jamaica Festival of Music competition. When I immigrated to the US, I immediately began voice and piano lessons. My teacher thought I was promising in piano but observed that all I seem to wanted to do was sing. She didn't want to take my money in vain, so I stopped piano, again, for the 3rd time. As a soloist I sang with groups like the Roy Prescod chorale, doing works like Mendelsohn's 'Elijah', Shubert's 'Stabat Mater', Gounod's Messe Solonnelle, to name a few. As a paid soloist with The Flatbush-Tompkins Congregational Church in Brooklyn NY, I sang such works as Handel's ' Messiah', Dubois' 'Seven Last Words of Christ', etc. With the choirs of the famed Riverside Church in NYC, and the historical Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, I performed and recorded Paul Halley's 'Freedom Trilogy' in the 1999 'Great Music At Plymouth' concert series. What were the obstacles you faced on coming to America? I joined my mother and siblings and started college. But essentially I was on my own. What I really wanted to do was music. But a career in music was not seen as a wise move, especially when one has to fend for one self. So I studied nutrition. However I continued to sing in choirs, and studied voice. I remember, after completing my undergraduate degree, I told my mentor/ boss "Now I can do music". But she encouraged me to do a graduate degree in nutrition because " in a few years the bachelor's degree won't mean much". I was listening to everybody but God. When did you begin to write and record your music? It happened out of the blue. I loved poetry, and would often write it. But I never considered writing songs. It was after I sang at the funeral of a very close family friend that I was approached by her husband and invited to visit his studio. Up to this point I was singing covers, mostly Christian and Traditional. He encouraged me to start writing, and I found that my Christian upbringing, studying the bible and singing hymns) made it so much easier. My first album "Peace within Me" was produced in 1997, by Junior Gentles, the same individual that invited me to his studio. I later learned that he was the founder of the group Home-T-4. How did you get you music 'out there'? After the album was released I toured all over the US, Africa, Canada and the Caribbean, and sold it at concerts, church conventions and services. I shared the stage with Yolanda Adams, Direct Messengers, Wintley Phipps, and the American Hall of Fame inductee Jacob Niles, and popular local artists. I have my albums in Christian bookstores and in the Internet stores, amazon.com and cdbaby.com, as well as all the music download sites. I also got some radio airplay, but mostly on AM stations. It seems that (black) gospel (not Christian music) is relegated to only AM stations. And there are not many of them. It looks even bleaker when it is not mainstream gospel, like what I do. Yes. How do you classify your music? I would say it is light island freestyle with R&B, Pop and Jazz sounds. It reflects my influences, my background. I have spent half of my life in Jamaica, and the rest in the US. Why do you continue to do music given the struggles to break into the industry? It's certainly not about making money. I could have gone the other route. Time is short, and I'm lusting for more people to hear my messages, God's messages in my music. I truly believe He want me to do this. Singing was always my passion. I never stopped doing the same for any long stretch of time. It is my calling. It is grueling, sometimes disappointing, but ultimately quite rewarding. Until now I have done it my way. But now I am leaving it all in God's hands. He will take Cee Josephs, and this ministry, cJg Production where he wants it to go.