Celine Schmink is a french and english writer, journalist and Associate songwriter of SACEM. She is a talented singer and she writes in a pop folk style. Her musical work is regularly praised by the regional and national press and broadcast in France, Greece, Australia and the USA, where she leads a bilingual performing career. After twelve years as a freelance journalist on behalf of major magazines (Christianity, Life, Amina, spiritual, France Soir, Entrepreneurship etc.), she devoted herself full-time to writing her own books and composition. It is notably lyricist for many performers in France and the USA. Celine Schmink is also passionate about dance. You can find more of her work on her website “Laparoliere.com ” but if you want to really get to know her, then you must read this latest interview of Celine Schmink.
Q: How did you get started with playing – and creating – music?
Celine Schmink : When I was a little girl, I wanted to become a dancer. So at the age of 5, I went to the Ballet School but finally I was much more interested in the piano’s cadence and all genres of rhythm than in the pure dance techniques. Later, I studied Arts and dance at La Sorbonne University, in Paris and started to create my own solos for ballet, modern dance and butoh. I’ve also created a complete gesture method that currently gets more famous (artists from all over the world use it to increase their creativity) called « Primitive Approach Gesture Method ® ».
Quickly I had to find unique musics, so I started to compose myself with the piano. Since my young age I have many tunes and lyrics in my mind. So I simply used them, made some demos and found some musicians for my arrangements. When I started to work as a journalist (in arts, dance, health, beauty…) I met a lot of VIP and artists. So I began to write songs for them.
After a few years as a songwriter and composer, I decided to product my first EP « La ballade d’Anissa » and to join the SACEM Society. « La ballade d’Anissa » was such a « sui generis » and romantic project about Paris, love and cabarets’ dancers. Many press critics talked about eloquence of my lyrics and the acoustic beauty of that work. They also notice an “emotional and different voice”. Speaking of “La ballade d’Anissa”, many artists and singers as Diego Baeza, Vassilis Babaniaris (greek rockstar) and others said “The songs are a journey in vintage Paris and French cabarets”. The three songs (“La ballade d’Anissa”, “Alexandre”, “Vivement l’été”) have gained good reviews in Europe and Australia. One song has been featured in a film. The others have been played by the australian brand « Slinky sleeves » for parades and fashion shows. That was the beginning of a new project : my LP « Paris-Memphis ». To celebrate 23 years of an artistic career, I turned to the USA with a new staff to help me produce 13 tracks in a pop-folk and haunting style. I’ve learned so much working with american musicians. They are much more honest and responsive ! This was a breath of fresh air to me, especially after working with non-professional musicians here, in France! It was a real shift for me !
Q : Let’s talk a bit about your songwriting process. How does a song usually develop – do you first start with the lyrics, melody, chord progression, or something else?
Celine Schmink : That’s a kind of mystery to me ! You know, I try to be connected to the Universe, to people… I try to think positive and I believe in the power of Intention. Intention is everywhere and it helps you as a good fellow, a nice chum. When you are deeply connected, you only have to take good time, to relax and the ideas always come to you. I’m like a sponge ! I attract in my life people’s feelings. It’s like a big melting pot ! When every ingredient is here, I’m able to receive a good song. As says the famous song Lilac wine, « you have to put your heart in the recipe »… I never write first the lyrics and then the music. This is a set ! They come together at the good moment, when they have to come ! And then I just have to catch my Tascam and to record the song because this alchemy is fragile, fleeting and volatile ! You must catch it very quickly. The more I sing the new song in my mind, the more I can hear the guitar, the intro, the bridge, the outro, all the arrangement’s details. A new song is such a spiritual journey, everytime !
Q : What do you find most inspires you to write a song?
Celine Schmink : Usually, I write (or should I say : I receive the good alchemy !) when I’m in holidays. I need to travel and to study people’s life to get inspired. I’m such a sensitive person.. For example, after reading « My life » written by Isadora Duncan, I wrote a song about her telling that « Every little movement is an eternal moment ». This is the second track in my album « Paris-Memphis ». Love and travels are a big part of my inspiration too.
Q : How long does it usually take you to write a song?
Celine Schmink : As told before, the process is short. The song comes when it wants, when the alchemy is here. Finding the good creative context is much more longer… I have to put myself in the right creative posture. Between the first draft and the mastering, it may take up to two months because I try many colors for the song.
Q : Do you find recording to be a challenge that you enjoy?
Celine Schmink : Yes. I only work with nice and professional musicians now. I definitely stopped working with people with big egos and small brain (laughs)! So studio time always means good time to me ! I believe the studio is one of the most creative place in the world ! I do like it !
Q : What is your musical background? Do you have a musical family or did you just fall into songwriting all on your own?
Celine Schmink : When younger, my mother was a singer, with her 3 sisters, in a french pop-folk band. It was in the 70’s. I was between 1 and 6 years old. And, even if I don’t remember their songs, I perfectly remember the studio ! My father is a big fan of Elvis. We went to Memphis to visit Graceland when I was just a kid and used to spend our summer holidays in Nashville, Memphis or California. But now, there is no artist anymore, except myself, in my family. I’ve been studied the piano, the autoharp, the ballet when I was younger and also went to Actor’s Studio, and I think I’ve been building my artistic background alone, especially for the last 10 years.
Q : What are you working on now and where do you feel your music is headed?
Celine Schmink : I’ve just finished a 18 months Tour in France, England and Belgium. I’m now working on a new LP that will be called « Héroïnescence » (the contraction of the 2 french words : héroïne and essence) and will comprise 10 love songs, in a pop-rock genre. I think my music has got more and more energy. As a dancer, I know how important vital energy is for an artist. But energy and vigor can really take place on stage after many practices in different situations. So, I think pizzazz is coming soon !
Q : Who are your inspirations? (as in other artists)
Celine Schmink : I like numerous artists as Robert Smith, Depeche Mode, Chris Isaak, Lisa Marie Presley, french singer Daniel Darc, Jeff and Tim Buckley, Matt Corby, Roddy Frame… I also enjoy heavenly voices genre.
Q : What else can we expect from you in the future?
Celine Schmink : New albums, new singles ! I would like to write a book about my artistic career and people who helped me and VIP I met when I was younger. I would like to improve my music vids quality… And find a real manager especially for England. I’m currently working with The Oengus Projekt (a french band) on a new single called « Lorna ».
Q : If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?
Celine Schmink : I would be a dance teacher again, exactly as I was between 2010 and 2013, just before I produced my LP.
Q : What are your plans & hopes for the future with regard to your music?
Celine Schmink : I would like to stay really connected to my audience and readership. I’d like to make more concerts and to work in with beauty and fashion brands as I did for the last 2 years. I hope I will make a new franco-american duet soon, as I did there are 2 years ago with Californian singer Chris’M with the song « Les yeux froids » (« Cold eyes »). I intend to be guest in many TVs and radios, as I did last year. I’d really like to spend much time in England to sing and take part to many open mics. That’s something I really enjoy !
Q : How can people find you and follow you online?
Celine Schmink : I have a YouTube channel Céline Schmink – Youtube Channel , a Facebook page Celine Schmink – Facebook page and a website www.laparoliere.com