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CELIA BABINI on her debut project CompleteIn  Box


WORDS by Majo Aguilar  TALENT Celia Babini  PR 2b Entertainment 

An art kid by heart and by blood, Celia  Babini  is, not only a talented singer-songwriter, but a girl’s girl. Advocating for women’s rights from a young age and having always been surrounded by art, her intimate vision of music becomes universal, as she voices the forever complicated quest for personal identity, and even more, personal identity in early womanhood. The warm and woody sound of acoustics meets the funky beats of chill electronic music, as Celia plays with opposites in her scores to create her own sound. But she is always inspired by her Italian roots. Fun and bright, the musician, almost straight out of NYU and freshly signed to 2b Entertainment, talks with us to discuss her journey in creating her debut project, “Complete In Box”, out October 11th.  

Thank you for being here, Celia!  So, you're releasing your debut project “Complete In Box,” how has the ride been for crafting this album? Where did you record it and where did the inspiration come from? 

I wrote the first song for it in the middle of 2020. I was living in my grandparents’ house in Long Island, up until that point. I've been writing music my entire life, but it had been very acoustic driven, and I hadn't really been producing my own stuff or involved in the creation of the actual sound. But around that time is when I really started to be involved in production and really honing my own craft. And I began really listening to a lot more diverse music. I got really into electronic music, like Aphex Twin and more compositional stuff like John Bryan. So around 2020 was really when I started understanding, production wise, and sonically, what I was really drawn to. It's interesting because for me this record is very much a record of self-discovery, even the subject matter.


I think that the process for this was a longer one because instead of sitting down and making a proper record, it was making a lot of music and then finding the songs that I felt resonated with who I was the most out of that chunk of music. So to answer your question, it was a long process, there was so much to pick from. 

Where did you record this material? 

I recorded it kind of all over. I recorded some of it in my grandparents’ house during the pandemic, specifically in my grandparents' bedroom. And then I recorded a lot of it in Los Angeles as well, most of it was in my childhood bedroom, both my home in New York and in Long Island. And then a lot of it was at my friend's house in Los Angeles. 

Your latest single “Studio Rat” seems like it talks about self-exploration and acceptance. How did you compose this song? 

I think that this whole project is about discovering myself through other people, if that makes sense. I think that, like in our relationships and life in general, we learn a lot about ourselves, mostly through others. "Studio Rat" is this realization. I think a lot of people, but particularly a lot of women, can relate to this idea that we're really raised from a very young age to believe that our self-worth is reliant on whether or not somebody else gives us love and affection and attention. And we're very programmed as women to believe this about our partnerships and our relationships. I think for me, "Studio Rat" was just the realization in one of my relationships where I was incredibly suffocated by this concept that I had to uphold this image of myself or be a certain way to constantly make sure that I was being loved and receiving love.


I think that the song is a collapse of that where I decided I no longer want to do that and just want to exist as an individual, I don't want to live my life for somebody else, which means I don't want to uphold an image of myself for somebody else. I just want to be who I am and loved and accepted for that because I think men have that privilege; men can just be who they are, but meanwhile women are raised to love and accept unconditionally. As a girl becoming a young woman, I realized I did not want to live my life like that, you know, I want to live from a place of self-empowerment and authenticity. And I'm sorry, but I can't exist like that for you anymore. 

a lot of women are raised from a very young age to believe that our self-worth is reliant on whether or not somebody else gives us love and affection.

I also read that the official video for this song was shot at the J Paul Getty Museum, why did you choose this location? How was the shooting day?  

[We chose this] because the subject is about self-empowerment and female empowerment, so I wanted to depict this idea of the way male artists have captured female artists throughout history. I think it's interesting because this is not something that we talk about a lot; women for thousands of years have just been depicted through the eyes of men in art and in film. Our oldest art form has been sculpture and painting, and usually women are just depicted by men in these images. It's very rare that you find a renaissance piece that's depicted of a woman by a woman. So I wanted to play into this idea of me trying to capture my essence.


In the video I'm painting on these mirrors and I'm trying to capture my essence while also simultaneously nodding and addressing the fact that women have never really been in control of their image. And this idea of just trying to capture who you are and how one image can also be very suffocating and confusing. I talked about this concept with the director, Alex Hall, he was amazing and he kind of helped me bring the idea together in general. So yeah, I was like, why don't we juxtapose me painting myself with all these very still and stiff images of all these women that have been depicted by men throughout history. 

I really like like the whole concept about the song and video because I also read you are part of the UN’s International Women's Community. How did you get involved with that cause? 

There was like a women's lunch with all the ambassadors all over the world and I performed with them. I've always been involved, not necessarily with the UN, but I've always been involved in women's rights organizations. From a very young age, I've always been very passionate about advocating for female rights. My art has always been intertwined in that. when I was little, I was part of a community called The Artifact, and we did a bunch of performances and kind of just intertwined feminism and art in general. I worked with a lot of organizations that helped combat sex trafficking, particularly innocents in danger, not just with women, but just in general. For the UN specifically, it was honestly very recent that I got involved and did anything with them, but the event just highlighted incredible powerful women and helped to raise money and bring attention to causes that are related to women. The causes are honestly quite vast, it was really fun and I was able to perform one of my songs on the record that's coming out there, which was really dope as well. 

You just graduated from NYU; how do you feel that your experience there complements your musical career? 


I mean, I met all my friends. They're all the people I make music with, which has been very important, obviously. Besides that, I think it was weird, I went to school during a pandemic, I graduated a year early because I expedited my degree since we weren't really even in class, a lot of it was all Zoom school. But the most important thing that came out of school was that I had some amazing teachers that really empowered me, particularly one named J.D. Samson, who was in the band Le Tigre, and she was an incredible mentor for me. I think being in a community where people are making music all the time, just naturally feed into one another and inspire one another was the most important part. 

Studio Rat by Celia Babini

It's very rare that you find a renaissance piece that's depicted of a woman by a woman.
So I wanted to play into this idea of me trying to capture my essence.

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Studio Rat by Celia Babini STILLS

I've found your song “Born to be British” to be one of the most interesting ones out of all the record, I loved the line, You swear you'd be better with the English. But I think they find you pretentious. What’s the story, the inspiration behind it?  

The song is about a person who is always trying to put you down intellectually. I like this connection between the idea of intellectualism coming from the idea of enlightenment, from John Locke (English economist of the 17th century). All these very English ideas and intellectualism is very derived from that place as well. The character in the song is putting others down and being hyper intellectual, when real intellectualism is not putting people down. It's an inclusive thing, it's about uplifting people and educating people. Even the people that the character deems as his most heroic intellectual, like, you know, founding fathers, even they would find him to be obnoxious and annoying, that's where the idea and parallel is made. 

Your musical style is a mixture of acoustics and electronic music, how did you find your sound when you started making music? 

I thought, Alright, this is my sound, this is how I want my songs.  

I'm always changing as well, for every project, I'll probably be inspired by different things sonically, but the core is always what I grew up with, which is a more acoustic and natural place, and then blending it with what I grew into, which is again more electronic inspired and complex. For this record, I can't take credit for anything because it is all just a mixture of the people that came before me and the people that inspire me. So, if we're being totally honest, my sound is derived from my predecessors, the way that my predecessors were probably deriving their sound from their predecessors. And yeah, it comes from all my favorite parts of the people that came before me with my spin on it and me trying to create my own version of that. But I can't really take credit for one sound, that wouldn't be true.

What is most important aspect you want to capture in your songs or in your lyrics? 


Gosh! It changes again from project to project. This particular project was all about finding out who I was and who I am as a young woman. It represents this transition from being a younger person to then becoming a woman and just trying to understand what that means. The intention of this project comes from my experience in  relationships, and being able to describe who I am, what I want, what I stand for, and what am I okay with. The most important thing always though, is just making sure that every song has an intention behind it and is truthful. And I'm telling a story that is truthful, whether it be a story that I am proud of or not. Whether it be angry or happy or sad, it just has to be truthful and intentional. 

My sound is derived from my predecessors, the way that my predecessors were probably deriving their sound from their predecessors.

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I read that your father is a photographer. Did you ever got interested in taking pictures, or was always just the music?  

Yeah, that's an interesting question. I mean, yes, my dad is a photographer. I've always been interested in music and film and art, and I have a real appreciation for photography, but I don't think I was ever like, “Wow, I want to be a photographer,” it just was not the thing that I was called t0, per se. Maybe I just saw my dad do it so well that I was kind of like, you know, I'm just going to let this side of the family handle that art form and I'm going to do my own thing.  

How drastically are you willing to change your style after this release?  

I think it's quite different, what's coming. For starters, I feel more like myself than I ever have. And I think, like I said, Complete In box is a point of discovery, I like playing around with sound. I'm not fully American, I'm also an Italian citizen, so the drastic change is that I'm singing a lot in Italian, which is an obvious departure from Complete In Box. The sounds that I'm drawn to now are a little bit more minimalistic, the music is a little bit more international and play upon where I come from, literally my roots. there will definitely be overlap always because I'm the through line through both of them, but I think that for the next project it will be a little bit farther left field than this upcoming album. 

What kind of artists are you interested in, or which ones are your favorites? Personally, my always and forever favorite solo singer is Mina! my mom introduced me to Mina, in her youth she spent a year in Europe, I believe, and she fell in love with her music. And that is why I love her so much. So which Italian artists are you interested in or inspired by?  

I mean, Mina is one of the best Italian singers to do it ever! She’s so great and I love her. I love Lucio Dalla as well. When I was like little, my dad really liked an Italian singer who he had the privilege to photograph. So I was introduced to his music that way, particularly a song that I play all the time called "Poet." I also just love a lot of the regional music, I've been listening to a lot of music from the South of Italy, a lot of old folk work songs from the South, which are really, really interesting sonically. There's this Italian song that I love called "Immensity," which is a little bit more modern, by Andrea Laszlo de Simone. It honestly really ranges, my top are Mina and Lucio Dalla, if you translate those words into English, it's so beautiful.  

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