A Rose by Any Other Name – Interview With Cen’C Love

The blazing tropical sun had become an unwelcomed distant memory by the time the restless crowd was asked to welcome her to the stage. Within minutes of gracefully sauntering to the stage and graciously thanking the audience, she then proceeded to suffuse them in a musical web of soul stirring melodic vocals and hip-churning rhythms.
Along with everyone else, those among the the crowd familiar with the age old West Indian adage, “Name and Nature,” was certainly not left disappointed as the willowy beauty, who prefers to be known as Cen’C Love, entranced them into a sensual haze of love and conciousness with song like, ‘These Lies’, and her popular hit, ‘Love Letter’. 

Only after ensuring the massive gathering was thoroughly enraptured, shimmying slowly from side to side, lighters held high to the sky did she glide from the stage with the same humble grace with which she appeared.

     Cen’C Love had done what she had been doing since the first time she held a microphone in her hands; left them in a mood of joyful satiated exuberance that one can only feel after listening to great reggae music and oblivious to the fact that she also happens to be the daughter of international reggae icon, Neville Livingstone aka Bunny Wailer, an original member of the group, ‘The Wailers’ along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

 We were able to catch up with this talented reggae scion as she headed back to Jamaica for a series of appearances.  Here is what she what she had to say:

 Q.  I conducted a mini-poll in preparation of this interview just to reassure myself that I was not alone in my shock to discover that not only does Bunny Wailer have a daughter, but one well on her way to making a name in  the music industry. Please give us the details on your background specifically your formative years. More pointedly, where have you been?
A.  I was born in the USA and raised in Kingston, Jamaica.  I went back to the U.S in 1999 to attend a performing arts magnet school in Atlanta, DSA which helped to propel me in the direction of entertainment. I started recording with a few producer friends in Atlanta, then soon after I went to Jamaica to record an album produced by my father in 2006. I later signed with indie label Revolutionary Entertainment who released my first single “A Little More Time” in 2008. In 2009 I took a break to give birth to my first child who surprised us with his birth on Christmas day. My mom then offered to produce my new music and I went into our home studio and started recording “Love Letter”.

Q.  You have been referred to as Reggae’s best kept secret. What are you feelings about that?
A.  Well quite a few people have been waiting for Bunny Wailer’s chip off the block since many classic artists have children in the business. I can understand why I have would be referred to as Reggae’s best kept secret, since my Dad is a Reggae legend. No more secret though I ought to be on every radio, stage and television worldwide with my message of Universal Love.
Q.  Was it a conscious or purposeful decision to keep you out of the public eye?
A.  It was just a matter of time for me to make up my mind to get into the music business. It took an eventful journey to get to where I am now.
Q.  The public usually makes the presumption that the children of celebrities generally want to make the same public impact as their parents. Was that the case with you? Did you always envision a career in music?A.  I definitely want to have a positive public impact.  It does not have to be the same public impact, as everyone has their own road to trod. I have always envisioned myself in a position to help bring about change. It took me a while to make the choice to do so as an artist.
Q.  Your once stated that your singing was a secret, even to your father. How did your parents discover your musical abilities and what was their reaction?
A.  My parents always knew that I had a love for music, and I lent my voice to many special events at school etc.  But the problem was that I did so many other things, they didn’t pay any special attention to my singing. It’s not until I got my first guitar from a friend, Ozi, that  I started  composing more seriously.  My mother was the first to know since I lived with her at the time. When my father heard me, he put me in the studio.
Q.  How would you describe your sound?
A.  I call my style Reggae/Soul.  My sound is a mixture of Rhythm and Blues & Reggae. Retro and futuristic all at once.  My lyrics have a dancehall flavor, sometimes a Southern Hip-Hop twang.  My original musical compositions have an alternative feel at times.  Overall my music represents this era where the whole world is one small melting pot called facebook, and we realize that we have more in common than we thought.
Q.  Since your debut you have had some changes in management and labels. Tell us about your current management and recording situation?
A.  I am currently signed to Lyvestone Music, a family company, formed in Atlanta, Georgia. I am the first artist on the label. We celebrated the release of my debut album, “LOVE LETTER” by Cen’C Love earlier this year, as well as two music videos for the singles “CASANOVA” and “CYSTEM”.  We are currently working on new releases for the coming months. I am currently being managed by Sequioa M. David.
Q.  Your album “Love Letter”, which you also co-wrote with Shaka Girvan, caused quite a sensation in the reggae community.  Tell us about how that project came about?
A.  Shaka and I went to college together at Georgia State University. I started helping him with his album skits and background vocals, then we started writing and composing more original music.  Over the years I made demos on Shaka’s original Reggae/Hip-Hop crossover tracks, some of which became part of the album. Shaka, engineer Paul Katzman, my brother Asadenaki, and myself, regrouped when I was in my last  trimester of pregnancy and decided to record some singles which turned into the production of the album. I had alot to say about love, so it turned into a “LOVE LETTER”.
Q.  Love letter was not your freshman project in the music industry.  Please tell us about some of your previous endeavors.
A.  In 2006, I recorded the album “SAVE THE PEOPLE” at Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica.  My father and I collaborated on that project.  In 2008, Revolutionary Entertainment released the single, “A Little More Time” as well as a music video for that song.
Q.  The Wailer legacy is one that has been tremendously impactful not just on music but reggae music as a whole. Was that ever intimidating for you?
A.   I am a music lover first, then I am a musician, so I know how great the Wailers are. I am  proud of the musical heritage that I share with my fellow Jamaicans and Reggae lovers. I never try to fill any one’s shoes but my own, so I am never intimidated, and I know I won’t live up to everyone’s expecations. I just play what’s in my soul.
Q.  Are there any other siblings ready to step to the stage?
A. I have more siblings who are musicians, writers, and entertainers.  It’s just a matter of time when they decide to step out. My brother, Asadenaki, shares the stage with me doing harmonies and percussion and is featured on two tracks of ” LOVE LETTER”. The tracks are “FEEL GOOD” and “CYSTEM”. He has a cameo performance in the “CYSTEM” video.
Q.  So what’s next on the musical agenda for Cen C Love?
A.   I am already working on new music for future projects. I am billed to perform at REDBONES in Kingston on July 15th, and Capleton’s ST.MARY MI COME FROM on August 5th.
Q.  What is the one thing you would like the public to know about you?
A.  I strongly believe that we are deeply connected we need to act like we are part of the earth and not just ON the earth. We need to develop our relationship with the earth to improve our health and the quality of life for our children.
Q. Where can your fans find out more about you?
A.  facebook: cenclove
     twitter: cenclovemusic
  Bookings: M David