I don’t know about you, but mine is significantly better when I’m listening, or better yet dancing, to music I love. That’s why I’m really looking forward to this Saturday. I’m going to be all up in it in the audience/dance floor at the Seraleez gig. Plus it’s my friend’s birthday and you know that means some serious booty shaking! Mais oui. Mais oui!
I had the rare treat of talking to the lady who’ll be belting out those tunes, Christine Seraphin.
MWD: First of all, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. I know you are super busy with the release of your new album, Good Life.
CS: Hi Maeshelle! Thank you so much for inviting me to interview with you! It’s really my pleasure.
MWD: Our readers are mainly expats who have settled for what they feel is the good life. What inspired the title?
CS: Good Life is the album title and first song on our record. It’s a song that gives me inner peace everytime I perform it because it reminds me that I define what the “good life” is to me despite what other people/society/media have to say about it.
As a musician and as an expat my life has been full of highs, lows, struggles and triumphs. All of these phases of my life inspired me and helped me to define what the good life is to me. These experiences feel even more intense when you are far away from home. You have to relearn your boundaries and rediscover your strength. To some extent, you develop… an extended identity. I know I have.
What the “good life” meant to me then (before I moved to Germany), isn’t what it means to me now.
So what does the good life mean to me, now? Well, it means building up the strength to follow your dreams, loving yourself and all your unique qualities, knowing you are powerful (that you have the ability to change the world in the biggest and smallest way), having faith and believing that if you take care of your world, the world will certainly take care of you!
MWD: I wish we had sound right now. Your speaking voice is lovely. I think, like me, you have left your accent behind and acquired a hybrid one. What makes you feel like home?
CS: I know it sounds super clichĂ©, but home is truly where your heart is. Things that touch my heart are people, food and creativity!! More specifically: my family, best friends, my Soul Sisters, Caribbean and Italian food, and some good vibes for creative flow (be it song writing or dancing).
As for my accent, is it true? Haha, I think the Germans hear my U.S. American accent from miles away!!
MWD: I detect a little Jill Scott (one of my favs). I love the realness. The rawness. I see you are pushing some boundaries and adding a little experimental sound to the mix. Where do you get your inspirations lyrically and musically.
CS: Maeshelle, I just have too many influences to list! I’ll name a few, but for every one artist I mention, there are 3 or more I am not mentioning and those artists are just as important!!
So lyrically, I really appreciate the words of poets and lyricists like: Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Feist, Erykah Badu, India Arie, Nai Palm, Meryem KiliĂ§, Maxwell… just to name a few…
Now the musical influences! Again, India Arie (I just love her), Lauryn Hill, Amel Larrieux, Erykah Badu, Common, Missy Elliot, The Mighty Sparrow, The Midnight Groovers, Michael Jackson, Nina Simone, Carmen McRae, Abbey Lincoln, Nancy Wilson, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, The Bad Plus, Joshua Redman, Jeff Tain Watts, Brad Meldhau, E.S.T, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Beethoven… I probably should stop now!!
MWD: I often find myself singing at the top of my lungs when riding my bike. Where do you enjoy singing besides on stage or in a studio?
CS: I sing all the time. All the time. You can ask my friends. It doesn’t matter what I am doing or where I am. I’m either humming, turning unfinished sentences into a song, making up my own song, singing a song I have stuck in my head… It’s my thing. It’s what I do. I can’t stop.
MWD: Sometimes it’s hard to find people on the same wavelength. How did your band get together and what’s your process like?
CS: We’re all on the same wavelength! We’re just at different points of it. Some of us are moving and some of us are stagnant. So there are moments where I find myself surrounded by the right energies to create and there are other times where that’s not the case. As long as I’m moving, I find what I need. I guess patience is key (and I’m not always patient)!
I’m super grateful for the 4 guys that I work with in Seraleez. Seraleez had its phases. We started off in one constellation that changed and evolved over the years into a new one. I’m glad with who and what we are now!
Our process is flexible. Sometimes I bring an idea to the band, sometimes the band brings an idea to me. We give each other enough space to develop our ideas into something and are open to each other’s ideas. It’s been working well so far. My guys are also just so sympathetic. It feels like a musical family. We definitely have a musical connection and that is key when we are creating for and with each other.
SERALEEZ “Good Life”
release date: 28 October 2016
p&c 2016 Agogo Records
Shut Up, the single