Darling Del Oeste

Darling Del Oeste

Darling Del Oeste is a collective working to create raw, minimal and far flung soundscapes. Dynamically fusing elements of South American musical traditions - cumbia villera, fandango, chacarera - with all that is urban, electronic, dance-able and cosmic.

Celeste – the Alabama-bred Brooklyn transplant – writes songs rooted in the rhythm and vocal flow of her favorite music: hip-hop, soul, and r&b. Celeste studied and performed West African and hip-hop dance prior to focusing her energy on music making. She's now weaving the two together: creating songs fans can break it down to and releasing dance-centered videos. Her shows – often featuring guest MC (and fan) Lord Khaliyl of Talib Kweli and Da Bush Babees – pack the room with audiences captivated by her sensual, empowered presence.

Celeste's musical path began after her college years in Athens, Georgia when she moved back to Alabama. She sat down at her mother's piano, and unprompted, played three chords and sang "It's been a long time coming, I feel awake." These were the opening lyrics to the first song she ever wrote. She had taken a few piano lessons in third grade but had never really played or sang before. "I always felt like I was an artist without an outlet," Celeste says, "I was so thankful to find writing and singing were my release of what felt like a life-time of emotional build up." Celeste quickly formed 'Monarchs' - a name chosen to represent both her southern "royal, dysfunctional family" and the "family" of musicians, fans, and collaborators that so rapidly moved her project off the ground.

With the help of Taylor Hollingsworth – guitarist of Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band – she recorded her first record, "The Oak EP" and became a prominent piece of Birmingham music scene. She then moved to Austin and grew Monarchs to a mainstay of the Live Music Capital of the World and garnered the attention of SXSW. Working closely with guitarist Van Hollingsworth to hone the genre melding alt-soul and folk-rock of Monarchs, she released "Those Words, Those Frames," which was played heavily on regional radio stations. Producer Mike McCarthy of Spoon and Patty Griffin heard this record and decided to produce her next album, "The Rise and Fall," which was positively reviewed by The Austin Monthly, The Austin American Statesman, and The Chronicle.

After moving to New York from Austin, Celeste took time to explore her love of hip-hop, writing hooks over beats by some of the industry's best and brightest producers, such as J. Dilla, MF Doom, and Jake One. The result is the "ft. Celeste Mixtape," a collection of songs with equal parts swagger, emotional intelligence and melodic-pop hook. Being more direct, she dropped the moniker of Monarchs and is now simply performing under Celeste.

"My music has been an ongoing process of discovering who I am as an artist," Celeste says. "It's like I keep arriving more and more. For the album I'm working on, I'm combining the craft of writing songs – bridges, chord changes, all that stuff – with the groove and feel of a hip-hop loop. For me, it's the perfect way to be expressive, sing my heart out, and get to shake it down." Look for the new release in Spring 2013.



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