I used to work at a coffee shop in Toronto where one of Nelly Furtado’s dancers would come in to eat (as did metal bands like Sunn O) – but that’s another story). She even sent a very sweet postcard to the Italian owner one time. It makes me wonder if that kind soul ever interacted with this artist, Celia Palli, who was Furtado’s background singer around the same time. With the precise nature of this release you can’t help but wonder about the spin-off benefits of the bird-like Furtado machine. For Palli, those start with a serious shout-out.
Celia Palli is blessed with serious songwriting skills and a unique and limber voice that carries the message,” Furtado says in release notes. “Whether in English or Spanish, Celia delivers poignant, effortless storytelling in her songs.” Palli’s first album dropped in October 2014 over in Spain, rocketing out of the gate with a strong 142,000 views for her “I’ll Be Fine” music video. She’s now joined up with producer duo Like Mind to record her second album “Technicolours” in Brooklyn, New York. “Complicity” – Don’t think of this in the SNL Ivanka Trump fragrance parody. This sounds much more innocent and much less devious. Essentially we’re talking about music that is pop to the bone. “It’s criminal, but that is all we know” could be ripped from a cheesy rap song, if the context were different. However, in this case, the chorus is jumpy and precise. It’s like a raspberry cream cheese on toast in the morning.
“Paralyzed” – This is the kind of song that sounds so familiar somehow, even though you know you’ve never heard it before. This is definitely pseudo-dancefloor, radio-on-the-way-to-a-corporate-office-gig music. You can’t help but love the unique portamento between notes on the catchy chorus. It will be stuck inside your head before the song is over, I promise. “My Room” – This touches on the Top 40-bar soundscape popularized by the Weeknd and Ariana Grande. I can imagine tweens playing this on their phone while decorating the walls by their bed with posters of celebrity crushes. “Glitter” – Her voice is so touching and poignant in a muted fashion that I could almost confuse it with a gentle synthesizer hitting a slow-burn arpeggio function. It’s an intoxicating cloud of perfume, doling out tenderness and affection with every exhale.
“Heart is Getting Cold” – It’s a song like “Heart is Getting Cold” that makes Palli so convincing. Not only do we have a hit-creation machine here. But we’re getting intelligence in songwriting, as well. While this particular track is less of an obvious standout, it’s the little things, like the chord progressions during the chorus, that reminds you you’re served up that little extra every time. It’s like how you ordered the chocolate brownie explosion at the steakhouse, and they served it with quality ice cream and coco dust.
“She Her Elle” – As someone who grew up listening to Quebecoise music with a passion, I have to say there’s something here that reminds me of the temperate delivery of unpretentious singer-songwriters from La Belle Province. So it’s no surprise to me that she’s performed at the C2MTL conference in Montreal and has been picked up by CBC Radio and CBC Radio 2. She has vocal command like Celine Dion, but it’s delivered in a presentation that still sounds relevant to Los Angeles pop airwaves. There was another point in my service industry career where I was bussing tables around the “Maneater” Furtado era. As I was clearing plates and refilling waters, I overheard two Canadian music industry executives carefully strategizing about the future of Furtado’s career. Who knew that the result could be trickle down economics providing a useful leg up to a promising artist like Palli? She’s now seeking to care out her own space within the industry. Capitalism doesn’t come through for everyone, but it seems to be working to the advantage of Palli, someone who seems to truly appreciate the gifts she’s been given. Or as Furtado puts it, “Her zest for life completely rings through the music.” Bravo.
Give a listen to Celia Palli's new album "Technicolours" on Spotify, and don't miss out on this artist's exclusive interview below!
Where would you say you first started forming your musical identity and how did it happen?
If I go way back I would say my childhood. My grandfather and my uncle are musicians. I heard my grandpa practice everyday and I spent many summers watching my uncle perform. As a kid, my family always sang as a choir in the car, and whenever I was alone, I would pretend to be a singer on a stage. At the age of 8, I entered a singing competition and I won. It wasn’t a Christina Aguilera performance but it gave me the confidence to start believing in myself. Shortly after that I started learning guitar and "writing" silly songs.
What was it like backing Nelly Furtado? What did you learn from the experience?
Man oh man, that was like getting a Master’s Degree in professional singing. I got to be part of TV performances, Award shows, live radio shows, arena concerts, etc. Each performance has its own set of challenges and I learned how to deal with them first hand. I now get called to do live TV, and I’m not startled by anything. I’m a better singer and performer today because of my time with Nelly, that’s for sure.
What role did you have in the songwriting process for this album?
I spent the last three years analyzing my old songs, pushing myself to explore my own skills and then figuring out what I want to say today. I few months before I went into the studio to record the album, sequence of events happened in my life that triggered all the songs. I would say I had a very active role in the songwriting process, although this time around, contrasting my first album, I did collaborate with artist I admire (Mariya Stokes, Nashlyn, Lindsay Foote). If there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that music is better when it's created with others.
Are there any influence you feel have had a larger impact on your development as an artist that others?
When I was younger, I would listen I sang along to the Beatles and also Paul McCartney and Wings. Their compositions definitely left a mark. And in recent years, Kimbra and Emily King have had a huge impact on how I approached songwriting and how I portray myself as an artist.
Now that it's complete, and you look at what's emerged as the Technicolours album as a whole, what do you think has emerged?
A new Celia has emerged for sure. This record forced me to ask myself some deep questions and so it forced me to grow as an artist. I would say that Technicolours is the result of my artistic soul search. :)
Stay connected with Celia through on social media: