The video for LA musician Celia’s latest track, Studio Rat (I can’t always be what you want), sees her attempt to paint a self-portrait without being guided by the societal perceptions around her: “I can’t always be what you want/It’s fun ‘till it’s not/Sorry to get down in blue/Sorry that I’m in a mood but my world’s not painted for you.” Breaking free from negative expectations, voices and projects through art is a key tenet guiding Celia’s work, and one that pervades her upcoming long-form project, Complete in Box.
“Growing up, I often felt burdened by the concept of the “ideal woman” feeling in order to be loved I had to suppress aspects of myself that didn’t fit that archetype” says Celia. “I think this is something a lot of young women struggle with based upon unrealistic standards we are born into.”
Studio Rat pushes against these pressures, channelling a spirit of self-acceptance, love and approval through rousing, folkish melodies and introspective lyrics. Reaching further than music, Celia has collaborated with organisations such as Arts Effects and the UN’s international women’s community, championing the rights and representation of women. In anticipation of the release of Complete in Box, Celia selects five steadfast influences that continue to guide her throughout her journey.
American Honey by Andrea Arnold
“The colours and cinematography of this film have made it a favourite of mine. It’s a heartbreaking and complicated story about coming-of-age and it fed my melancholy a lot when I was growing up. I love movies that capture the emotions and beauty of people and stories often overlooked. Andrea Arnold is an amazing director and also one of the first female directors I stumbled upon, which made it even more special.”
“My grandpa taught me how to tell stories, he’s the one who invigorated my passion for storytelling and songwriting. There was one story he would tell me about a princess who wanted to be a rockstar… He will always inspire my work because he was the person who gave me my first tools in the craft.”
Debut by Björk
“I don’t have a favourite album of all time, it changes depending on where I am creatively (right now I’m on a massive Rosalia kick) but Debut was such an important awakening for me. I didn’t understand Bjork for a long time and then one day in the car Someone in Love came on, and everything shifted. She’s been a massive source of inspiration for me ever since that day.”
The natural history museum/planetarium
“I used to go here every day after school when I was a kid. I would eat astronaut ice cream under the big blue whale and “dig up fossils” in the discovery room. I think this is where I developed my love for nature and that definitely shows up in the imagery I’m drawn toward. I’m inspired by ambient music and soundscapes (Brian Eno and Jon Brion), which I feel is the ultimate score for a trip to outer space.”
Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch
“I love David Lynch. I loved this book. Someone bought it for me when I first started meditating and I didn’t read it until after I watched Twin Peaks. The book discusses creativity through a spiritual lens. Lynch writes about his ideas coming from a higher power of sorts and the more we can quiet our mind and listen, the more ideas we’ll find. The belief that music, art, films, etc, don’t come from us but from something greater brings me comfort, it helps me remove myself from what I’m doing and really listen to what the songs want to be, rather than suffocating it with my own expectations of what it ‘should be.'”
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