Cee Josephs: A Spiritual Sunburst Salad
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Cee Josephs: CBio

Island Cece Winans Sunburst Salad - is Cee

Short Version

As a working New York City- by way of Jamaica, W.I. gospel singer/songwriter, Cee Josephs is at home in any setting, from fronting an orchestra, singing with a choir, to performing as a self-contained vocalist. Some of the stellar musicians Cee has performed and/or recorded with are: Roy Prescod and the Roy Prescod Chorale, Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, Riverside Church Choir, George Davis and Linden Church Sanctuary Choir, Eric Birk and Flatbush Congregational Church Choir, and piano virtuosos Robeson and Nerva Altino.

Cee has sung all her life doing traditional and classical music, but became a contemporary gospel recording artist/songwriter  around 1997, when she was invited to the recording studio of Junior Gentles, founder of Home T and thought... "yeah, that's what I do"! Before, during, and after that, she sang with many choirs, performed at funerals, weddings, concerts, and conventions, traveling nationwide as well as worldwide. She forged a unique sound, mixing pop, R&B and reggae genres with her classical voice.

 As a singer/songwriter, she released her first album ‘Peace Within Mein 1997, which sold several thousand copies through online stores, concert gigs, church services, record stores- both retail and online, and spurred increased interest which took the form of multimedia interviews, national and international airplay, reviews, and recognition by awards. She went on to record six more albums, ‘3 Way Calling’, ‘Ready to Walk’, and ‘Loves’, Time Out, and All My Time. "<a href="http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/CeeJosephs1">Time out.

  As her songwriting and performance opportunity became more prolific, she formed her own production company, cJg Production, and kept it together through recording/album, and concert productions. These concerts gave greater recognition to artists like Bro. Paul, Warren Brady, Divine Praise, Nubian Gents, Kit Richardson, the Lindenaires, Jae Nixon & Dunamis.

Then in 2005, she produced a music video of her song ‘Memories Medley’ from her sophomore album ‘Ready to Walk’, which is still being aired on local TV, and can be seen on her YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and MyCaribbean pages.

In late 2007 she became writer and producer of ‘Rocking Jerusalem’, a music documentary film of the music of the Linden Church, used as a fundraiser for the church, and got consideration for airing by HBO.

In addition to her varied musicianship, Cee Josephs, Registered Dietitian, travels as a prayer warrior, nutrition and health counselor and speaker to the largely Caribbean community.

She is also an Artist Associate with World Vision,  an international aid Christian humanitarian organization, working in nearly 100 countries around the globe, combating the root causes of poverty and responding quickly when disaster strikes. 

It partners with communities to find lasting ways of improving the lives of children and their families while providing national, and international disaster relief.
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 From Tragedy To Peace and Triumph

 

The versatile 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, if not yet the pocket books of churchgoers, and those who just want to be blessed – everywhere. Reggae inflected cuts such as “Peace Within Me” and "Thank You Father" from her first album, and "How Great Thou Art”, have become her signature. “My ultimate joy is singing to people, and being in the studio creating songs” says this female classically trained Jamaican pop and reggae gospel artist. Her soaring voice and golden timbre lends itself to the pop ballads, classical and soft reggae gospel songs that she writes, records and performs. >

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. I found it so peaceful. 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 were blessed growing 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. One of my teachers, Despina Pestesi, thought I was promising in piano but observed that all I seem to want to do was sing. She didn’t want to take my money in vain, so I stopped piano, again, for the third time. As a soloist I sang with groups like The Roy Prescod Chorale, doing works as 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’, With the choirs of the famed Riverside Church in NYC, and the historical Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, Brooklyn NY, as the soloist, I performed and recorded Paul Halley’s ‘Freedom Trilogy’ in the 1999 ‘Great Music At Plymouth’ concert series. This Caribbean gospel singer with locks may just surprise you with her classical voice. >

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. I was not at peace with myself. >

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 the tragic death and funeral (at which I sang) 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 Joseph Niles, and popular local artists. I have my albums in Christian bookstores and in the Internet stores, amazon.com and CdBaby, as well as all the music download sites. I also get 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 am blessed to have spent half of my life in Jamaica, and the rest in the US. Through my music the Spirit at work pierces through the heart to console, heal and rebuke. You see, the lyrics of my music blatantly has as its source, messages of the Word.The fact that it is in contemporary form does not dilute its earnestness in interpreting and expounding the Word. I make no apology for that.I am often told that my music brings peace to the hearer, that it soothes.
The second album, “3 Way Calling You. God. Me” , is more rhythmic as I became more comfortable in writing The Word in contemporary form. The same is true for my third album, , “Ready To Walk". >

My music also educates as it entertains, showing the benefits of having a good relationship with each other, living peaceably with each other under the grace of God. That is the goal of my music.

 

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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 wants me to do this.
Singing was always my passion. I never stopped doing the same for any long stretch of time. In fact the only time I can recall not singing was when I lost my voice in 2001, and had to be treated for nine months. 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. I am at peace.

 

Cee Josephs on iSOUND.COM

 

CJG PRODUCTION MINISTRY Started in 1998 by Cee Josephs, this ministry has seen tremendous blessings, through its mission of advancing the process of peace and harmony in the lives of others, through positive, inspirational music and song; to provide a platform for youth to perform, write and record music, thus expanding their ministry. cJg production Ministry has been instrumental in giving groups like Divine Praise their start as a concert choir, and to host several concerts featuring artists like Warren Brady, Direct Messengers, Kit Richardson, Sam Archer, Bro Paul, to name a few. ...it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

 

 

 

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