“And Then The Rolling Stone Fell In Love”: Johnathan Celestin
Battling rush hour on the 1 train, I finally arrived to Columbia University’s campus where I had the pleasure of interviewing, Johnathan Celestin, a songwriter, musician, and rising senior, majoring in International Relations. After seeing pictures from his previous single, “Kama Sutra,” it’s hard to picture him as a regular student. In an image photographed by celebrity photographer, Maya Guez, Johnathan lay on a burgundy sofa with gold mosaic and floral stitching, uninhibited. After being welcomed with a warm smile and great conversation, he guided me to a nearby music hall where we settled next door to a rehearsing orchestra and the interview began.
Born in Norfolk, VA and raised in Chesapeake, it makes sense that we would hit if off immediately due to his southern sensibility. Being black and Creole, Johnathan appears to have the best of his mixed heritage with Haitian, Jamaican, and Native American ancestors, the latter most apparent in his long hair. The youngest boy of 12 siblings, he encountered and discovered the therapeutic powers of music at 8, pulling most of his inspiration from the split of his parents. Adjusting to this reality, he kept himself buried beneath books and was very shy and quiet for most of his childhood. But, it was also during this time that he cultivated his knack for songwriting and discovered his skills on the piano.
While a sophomore in college at a school in Richmond, VA, Johnathan decided to visit NYC to see Robert Glasper, the infamous jazz pianist and producer, in concert. As it turned out, Glasper was also Ledisi’s accompanist, which allowed Johnathan the opportunity to see her perform, which changed his life. “In the middle of her performance, she talked about her experiences and what it took for her to get to where she is now. She spoke about how she had to be brave and follow her heart. Since I had only come up to NY for the day – when I got back to Richmond, I sat in a diner thinking about what I wanted to do in my life. I decided to move to New York a few days later with 200 dollars in my pocket after getting a job at a hostel as a janitor in exchange for living accommodations in the basement.”
Although he was quite content, after 6 months, he caught pneumonia, but shortly thereafter, was blessed with a job at a theater which led to success in multiple musical theater productions. Constantly on the move, he always packed light and it was this mentality that led to the title of his new album, “…and then the rolling stone fell in love” scheduled to drop May 1st.
However, with his beautiful features, warm smile, and fit physique, Johnathan manages to stay quite humble, in part, because he’s so focused on his craft. He also works hard to ensure he is inspired by everything around him. “When I’m writing a song for me or someone else, I try to be honest and make it about something I can relate to. My songs are typically inspired by either imagination or real life, but regardless, I try to be brave, fun, lighthearted, and try not to take myself too seriously. I avoid being too cryptic, but strive to make sure everyone can relate to it.”
Approaching his senior year, Johnathan is launching this 4-song album in an effort to not only share the story of the first time he fell in love, but also to finance his final year at Columbia University. With his voice, a hybrid of Craig David and Tank, he takes you on a fulfilling ride of love and loss, rekindling your own memories of past romances. With songs like “Superman,” “12 Steps,” and “Steal a Heart,” you are sure to be grinding in your seat as you light candles, and lift your lighters, enjoying every lyrical twist and vocal dip.
If you haven’t already, please support him by downloading his new album and spreading the word about this great piece of work. To contact him directly for performances, shout-outs, or interviews, visit his website: johnathancelestin.com OR “like” and visit his Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/johnathan.celestin.
This won’t be the last time you hear about Johnathan Celestin, “the rolling stone that fell in love.”
Cheers to great music, producing art, and making a difference.
“If it’s worth your eyes, don’t forget to cc: Keith”