Reviewed by Vai Thomas
Odetta Holmes once memorably said of the blues, “The blues is celebration, because when you take sorrow and turn it into music, you transform it.” Indeed, her words help one understand why blues and gospel music work so effectively together. The blues has always had a unique way of entrancing the listener into a whole new realm of calm and certainty, which is then carried back into the real world – as evidenced by the blues renditions of various well known Christian hymns. And it is not solely about the genre’s spiritual impact. The genre also provides a platform for the musician to demonstrate his/her technical mastery, like no other, upon the instrument of his/her choice. And singer-songwriter Sydney Celeste’s newest song ‘In Spite Of Me’ is a stellar example that not only demonstrates technical prowess, but also has a profoundly lingering impact upon one’s soul that works in all the right ways. Written in the key of Bb major, In Spite Of Me is a wonderful number rooted in blues, but incorporates elements of ballad pop, soul and gospel in all the right proportions, which is tremendously propped up by a simple, yet powerfully written, arrangement. Inspired by prayer and scripture, and based upon her faith, Celeste has come up with a stirring ode to gratitude and humility, with the lyrics themselves profoundly themed upon a yearning to be useful to God despite one’s nature, hence the title.
And there is no dearth of creativity (‘Every road led to a dead end trying to find hope...Lord knows every game has a price to pay’). The sheer balance between being imaginative and yet down-to-earth renders the song a unique honesty that immediately resonates with the listener. And the instrumental arrangement does the song a world of good, with its approach being part minimalistic, part virtuosic, and part novel – with every instrument from the piano to the bass to the synths to the drum, all having a say at the right moments, without being too flashy. The ambient textures of the synth towards the latter half of the number are incredibly well crafted and effectively rendered. But as everyone knows, the vocals constitute the soul and blood of an inspirational song, and here Celeste rises magnificently to the occasion. Switching effortlessly between the free-flowingly pace and the longer pedal notes, Celeste delivers with precision and with a commendable dynamic and emotive range that so poignantly reflects genuine gratitude and a humbleness, marked by an ever-present zealous energy throughout the rendition. The sustained notes, having used them to good effect upon the right keywords in the lyrics, are a hallmark of the song, bound to linger in the listener’s mind, long after the first listen. And the key-change at the latter half coupled with the ambient pads render an anthemic touch that is at once contemporary pop and spiritual.
"In Spite Of Me" is every second worth the six minutes and twenty seven seconds rendered and more. It is a psalm in every sense, with something profound to offer for both the believer and the non-believer, and an effective demonstration of how the blues and hymnal compositions, put together, make for a stirringly unforgettable number rooted in the traditional and the contemporary. Sydney Celeste has written and performed a stirring song for the soul.
About Sydney Celeste
Sydney Celeste is an accomplished singer-songwriter who has been making waves in the music industry since 2017. With her unique style and profound connection to her craft, Sydney has garnered widespread recognition and captured the hearts of listeners worldwide. Her music combines inspirational themes that convey messages of love, faith, and hope. Sydney's deep connection to God and her heartfelt approach to songwriting creates an authentic experience for her listeners. Since the release of her first EP, Sydney's music has resonated with audiences across the globe. All five songs from her EP have received significant airplay on various independent radio stations, solidifying her presence in the industry. This remarkable achievement showcases Sydney's exceptional talent and her ability to create captivating and relatable music. And Sydney's outstanding artistry has not gone unnoticed. In 2022, she received five nominations for the Independent Singer Songwriter Association awards, highlighting her exceptional contributions to the singer-songwriter genre. Additionally, Sydney's remarkable work earned her nominations for a Josie Music Award and an award at the Red Carpet Award Show in Holland. These accolades speak to Sydney's commitment to excellence. One testament to Sydney's rising prominence in the music industry is her achievement as the number one trending artist on Radio 752.2 for several weeks.
With her upcoming projects, including the highly anticipated release of a new EP , Sydney Celeste continues to make a lasting impact in the music industry.
For more information on Sydney Celeste, please visit here website.