Cece Frey Interview and Free Download

 

CeCe Frey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may remember CeCe Frey from Season Two of The X Factor in the US, which by no means defined this very talented artist.  

 

She talks to Jeff Gordon about her beginnings, the experience of being on The X Factor, her creative process and her plans for the future.

CeCe kindly gave us an exclusive, brand-new track. You can download it for free by cutting and pasting this link into your browser http://www.unlock.fm/2uz

 

 

The Early Years

Tell us about the early years, including where you were born, early childhood memories, and how you got started in the Entertainment Business?

 I was born in Decatur, Illinois, but actually spent my childhood on a farm in southern Illinois in a town of 300 people. Yes, 300. I grew up on a farm with horses, goats, dogs, cats, and even ostriches. No, we couldn’t ride our ostriches. You’d be surprised how frequently asked that question is. I began singing at age 5 at my kindergarten talent show. I kid you not, from that moment on; I never wanted to do anything else. 

Is there a music scene in Decatur and if so what was it like?

 There is a small music scene in Decatur and it is mostly based out of Millikin University. Millikin has an incredible fine arts school within it, which I had the privilege of attending for a short time, that is just bursting with amazingly talented people. It was there that I met my first bandmate and really started pursuing music in a professional capacity. Before Millikin, I was singing in bars on the weekends, doing talent shows, and just hoping I’d get “discovered” somehow. My time at Millikin redirected my efforts and was a great step toward where I am now. 

 You have also lived in Los Angeles, what is the music scene like in LA for you & how does it differ from Decatur?

They don’t call LA the “City of Dreams” for nothing. LA holds some of the most talented people I have ever met and has a way of making you feel minuscule and larger than life all at the same time. I think everyone thinks that LA is where all the cool kids live. Not true. LA is where all the misfits go. LA is where all the kids that got bullied in high school for being quirky and weird go to find their calling. LA is where the geeks become the popular kids, and where the popular kids get humbled. That’s why LA is different from Decatur and from any city in the country, quite frankly.  Kids like me got bullied in school by the girls that developed early and new how to use that to flirt with the boys. Kids like me didn’t fit in with most of the people in their class, and the only time we felt like we knew where we belonged is when we were creating. But the creative only make up a small percentage of the population, and I think LA is the home of most of that percentage. 

 You started singing and performing years ago. What sparked that? What inspired you to pursue music?

 I don’t remember exactly what sparked it. My earliest memory of singing was when the movie “Pocahontas" came out and I would sing “Just Around the Riverbend” in my bedroom. Then one day I told my mom that I was going to sing at the kindergarten talent show, which just so happened to be the next day. My mom was shocked. After that, it was the only thing I ever said I wanted to be when I grew up. 

Who did you look up to growing up?

 My mother. My mother took care of my disabled older sister before she passed and my mom was, and will always be, my hero.

You worked in a Post Office before auditioning for X Factor. What was that like and how bad did you want to get out of that job?

 Well, technically, I worked in a Pharmacy/Gift Shop/Post Office. Haha. I was lucky enough to have a great boss, so it didn’t suck too bad. But I remember every day I went to work, I was hiding my phone under the counter and pretending to take bathroom breaks to send emails and texts to my bandmates; planning shows and writing songs when I should’ve been weighing packages

 

The Music Biz.

Tell us what it is like to be woman in a business, which is dominated by men?

HA. I’m thrilled you asked this question. Being a woman in this business is not a picnic. I am a very strong, independent, driven, and direct woman. These attributes make men great bosses and respected leaders. When a woman has these attributes, she’s often considered a “diva” or even a “bitch”. I want to change that. The men that are on my team respect those attributes and do not chastise me for them. They don’t try to rein me in. I never realized how much of a problem there was in this area until I really took control of my own brand and business. I started seeing that certain people respected how decisive I was and how I knew what I wanted and would work my ass off to get it. And in the same way, I noticed that some people were turned off by that. They saw talent and a pretty face on a female and thought they had just met a puppet. When they realized I had no strings, I was no longer appealing to work with. I love being underestimated. It’s my favorite. Because the shock I give those that underestimate me when I succeed at what they thought I couldn’t is more satisfying than all the money in the world. 

How does the artist experience differ from being a songwriter?

There is so much more to being an artist than people think. When you’re just writing songs, you get to just be the creator. It’s fantastic. It’s all behind the scenes and you get the opportunity to just open your heart without the scrutiny of the public eye. When you’re “the artist” you are the face of a brand. You are the head of a company. Now, when you open your heart in a song or even in an interview, your every word is scrutinized. It’s very stressful. But it does give you the power to change things if you have the desire to. It gives you the personal power to inspire others. That’s what I love most about being the face of my brand. It makes the stress worth it. 

 How has music changed your life?

 Growing up, music gave me a place to belong. It gave me a place to not feel like a misfit. Now, it’s giving me the power to change hearts and minds. 

You have a huge voice, and can write great songs, do you want to expand in the biz & perhaps run your own company one day & work with other artist?

 Absolutely, that’s all part of my master plan.

 What do you want to accomplish in the Big Picture with your entertainment career?

 I’m not sure I necessarily have landmarks I want to hit in the next 10 years. I think the music industry is constantly changing and that means that the definition of success is changing, as well. I know I want to put out a few records and really get my music heard. I know I’d also like to be involved with acting, too. It really just all depends on where the road takes me. I just want to make a living doing what I love. I know that is a very farfetched dream in today’s day and age, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to settle for anything less. 

 Are you involved in any charities right now?

 Right now I am involved with a couple different projects through Help Worldwide and I hope to expand on those in the coming months. 

 Do you mentor anyone or in turn, do you have anyone who is mentoring you right now and if yes, tell us about that person?

 I’m not sure I am technically a mentor to anyone currently or that I am even qualified to mentor anyone haha. I try my best to use the influence I have to spread a positive message over social media and just try to spread love to anyone I meet. I think if we all did our best in that area the world would be a better place. 

 The Writing Process

 What is your writing process like? What goes through your mind when working on new material?

 Well right now, it is very rare that I ever write a song by myself. That’s something I need to work on. When I try to write a song by myself, my entrepreneurial mindset doesn’t always allow me to write exactly what I am feeling. I’m working on compartmentalizing that. But when I sit down to write a song with my best friend, Lydia Vaughan, we pick a topic or a concept that we feel needs to be expanded on. Then we try to express the point of that topic in a way that we think most people will be able to grab onto and say “Yeah, I totally get that."

 What inspires your writing?

 Well, there are a lot of things that piss me off. Haha. There are a lot of injustices that happen to people that I think are bullshit and I usually have a hard time writing a happy hearts-and-flowers song because I’m usually pissed about something else. Dead 2 Me was about a boy cheating on a girl. We wrote another song about overcoming outsideforces that try to tearyou down. I end up writing songs that will give the listener a sense of empowerment. Maybe once I feel like I’ve said all I need to say in that area I can sing about hearts and flowers. Haha

 You have a writing partner; can you tell us about her?

 She’s only one of my favorite people in the world. Lydia is one of the most talented people I have ever met, and I think she’s going to write hits for a lot of people one of these days. She helps me write what is in my heart. 

 In addition to writing for yourself, do you want to write for other artist, or write songs for Film & TV SYNC Licensing placements?

 Of course, one thing at a time. 

 You released your debut single "Dead 2 Me" which is a strong song with a great video to support it. Tells us how that song was written & what made you decide to release it as a single?

 Well, Lydia and I had just started writing together and she said “Hey, I wrote this song that I think might be perfect for your project.” She played it for me on piano and I fell in love with it instantly! It was the second song we ever recorded together and we pretty much knew as soon as it was finished that it was a single. 

 Do you have any advice for young up & coming songwriters?

 Keep writing. Don’t be afraid to collaborate. Collaborating can be scary because it’s a lot like baring your soul to a stranger and hoping they don’t judge you, but I have seen absolute greatness come from that kind of vulnerability. 

 X Factor

 You auditioned for X Factor in 2012. What made you decide to audition & walk us through the audition process?

During your audition in Kansas City, Missouri, you performed "Unchained Melody" and judge Demi Lovato stopped you midway. Then LA Reid asked you to pick another song to perform and you performed "Ain't No Other Man" By Christina Aguilera, then you were picked up for the show. Tell us what was going through your mind during this audition & how did you decide to sing the Christina song? Also, what was it like to audition in a venue filled with fans?\

 The audition process was definitely nerve wracking. We were required to prepare 3 or 4 songs for the judges’ audition. I decided to start with “Unchained Melody” because I thought it would be an interesting contrast between my appearance and the way it sounded. That obviously didn’t work. So when they stopped me, it was like a switch flipped inside of me and I was like, “Fine, you want something crazy? I’ll give you crazy.” So I did “Ain’t No Other Man.” The fans in the crowd were actually awesome. I respond well to that type of energy. 

 During Bootcamp, you were compared to Paige Thomas who is also a very talented singer. Why do think you were compared to her since she is a completely different artist than you?

 Honestly, that was just for ratings. The producers created rivals in all of us. Ours just looked the most interesting on screen. What people don’t know is that in Miami, production roomed us with who they considered our “direct competition”. Every single person roomed with someone they considered our competition. Similar ages and sounds. It was to create tension and stress in the contestants and therefore, make our interviews and their footage more interesting. 

 You performed at the "Judges Home" for your judge/mentor Demi Lovato & her advisor Nick Jonas. You took a Big Chance & performed an acoustic version of LMFAO's "I'm Sexy And I Know It" which got you through to the live shows. Tell us about that whole experience, how you chose that song, why you did an acoustic version, & what was going through your head when you performed ten feet away from two of the Biggest Pop Stars on the Planet?

 Before that performance, we worked up a few different options. I was a little iffy about doing “Sexy and I Know It” because I thought people would take it the wrong way to begin with, but at the end of the day, we knew it was the best option. Singing for Demi and Nick was super cool. It felt weird because ultimately, those guys are my age. I felt like we should just be chilling and having fun together, not in such an intense situation. Demi and I at least got to just be girls later on in the season and became friends. Hopefully I get that chance with Nick at some point- to just be real people. 

 During the live shows, you found yourself in the bottom two a couple of times. You were forced to "Sing For Your Life" & were successful both times beating out your opponent & surviving the Sing Off. Tell us what was going through your mind. It must have been nerve-racking and stressful. What did it feel like when they called your name and sent the other contestant home?

 I think my mind blocked out a lot of those times because of how stressful they were haha.  I’m serious. I can’t even remember a lot of the details. I just remember feeling like production would do certain things just to screw with you. Like one night during a sing off, they turned my in-ears off. I told them before I walked out that they weren’t on and they said they would be when I got out on stage. Not the case. So I sang that Kelly Clarkson song and couldn’t hear a damn thing. 

 We have heard that the weekly schedule on these types of shows is intense. Explain to us what a week on X Factor is like including rehearsals, styling, meetings, filming, Red Carpets/Events & everything that you went through? Did you have any down time for yourself?

 Intense doesn’t even properly describe it. It was downright brutal. It was very little sleep. Most times after a live show, we didn’t even get to go home and sleep. We had to go straight into rehearsals to work up the song for the next week with makeup still on our faces from the show that night. It was crazy, but it was also amazing. There was only downtime if you felt like you were completely prepared for next week’s show, and for most of us, that was never. There was always practicing to be done even if all your fittings and choreography sessions were over. 

 In December 2012 you were voted off the show and finished in Sixth Place Overall. That is an amazing accomplishment. Were you unhappy with the results, or were you relieved? It seemed like a bitter/sweet ending, would you ever consider going on another reality show competition again?

 I was very happy to finish in 6th place. I was glad I got the chance to finish early enough in the competition that I wouldn’t have a permanent “X” on my forehead but stay long enough in the competition to build a fan base. But as far as going on another reality show, I don’t think I would. It wasn’t  real enough, and that’s super ironic because you would think they’d be called “reality” shows for a reason. 

 You set yourself apart with drawing Leopard Spots on your face & different parts of your body. This became a big topic of conversation. How did this come about & do you still do that today? 

 I started painting the leopard print whenever I was in my first band and I just randomly decided to keep doing it for my first audition. From there it just kind of took on a life of its own. It still makes an appearance occasionally, when I am feeling exceptionally feisty. 

 You came across on the show as being strong like a Lion, a bit moody & ultimately very vulnerable. Were you properly represented on the show or did they misrepresent you in the editing process?

 I was misrepresented plenty of times just like everyone else that has ever been on a reality show. At the end of the day, all that matters are ratings, so production will do whatever they need to do to your character to get those ratings. That’s all we are on those shows. Characters. But what really sucks is that at least when you’re an actor, you’re playing a role that doesn’t have your personal name on it. On a reality show, you’re playing a role and they get to use your name and make people believe that the role you’re playing is who you really are.

 What did you think of your mentor Demi?

 I love her, end of story. 

 Tell us one story about Simon Cowell that no one has ever heard?

 He cried when we were rehearsing our performance in honor of the Sandy Hook incident. He’s got a very kind heart underneath all that bitterness. ;)

 Did you get along/interact with LA Reid?

I didn’t get a lot of chance to interact with any other judge than my own, but what I did see of LA, he was super cool.

 Can you tell us a little bit about your interactions with other X Factor Stars that were on the show that season like EMBLEM3, Fifth Harmony, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Paige Thomas, Diamond White, Tate Stevens, and Beatrice Miller?

 Emblem 3 is exactly what you would think; super talented surfer boys. haha. I got along with them very well. Fifth Harmony are the sweetest group of girls ever. I was actually in a makeshift singing group with Lauren and Dinah at bootcamp. We always called Carly “robot” or “alien” because she was alway so stoic and we didn’t believe a little girl could actually be that talented. Paige and I actually got along evenwhen people thought we didn’t. The rivalry was fake and we knew it. Diamond is like this little bubble of energy that never seemed to have a bad day. She was always a beautiful smile and a breathtaking voice. Tate was my “dad away from dad”. He was always cooking in the kitchen and great person to vent to at the end of the day. And Bea? Bea is my little sister to this day. Her and I have remained the closest and I love her dearly. I truly feel like her big sister and I’ll protect her at all costs. 

All of the above mentioned artist got record deals with the exception of you & Diamond, How do you feel about the voting process & do you think it was fair? You came so close to winning it all & getting a record deal, is there anything in retrospect that you could have done differently to get that record deal?

 I can’t speak to the voting process because I don’t know. There were plenty of times that everyone thought it HAD to be rigged. But again, we can’t know for sure. As far as getting a record deal from the show, I don’t think that means anything. I’ve seen so many people get a record deal and get dropped a year later. I’m just doing what I’m doing and hoping to be successful at it. Getting signed doesn’t mean you’re successful. It’s just a step along the way. 

 Season 2 also had the Iconic Britney Spears as a judge/mentor, did you talk to her & what was it like to be on the same show with an Icon?

I was always starstruck when I would see Britney and that doesn’t ever happen to me. But when I would see her, I’d lose words, and I always have plenty to say. 

Are there any artists from the show that you would like to collaborate with?

 I want to collab with Bea because she’s the little sis. I wanna do a cool duet with her at some point down the line. We’ll see. 

Simon has had a lot of success with artist signed to his SYCO Record Label (like One Direction), Would you ever consider working with him if he offered you a deal? 

I would consider working with Simon because I think he is very, very smart and an excellent business man. I would have to give him some crap first, but then I’d definitely listen to him haha. But we had that kind of relationship on the show. 

 It has been reported that Tate Stevens (who won X Factor Season 2) was dropped by his label & is no longer on the RCA Nashville Records Website. How do you feel about him beating you out & then ultimately getting dropped? 

 Tate is an amazing artist, dad, and friend. He deserved to win and I think that RCA made a mistake dropping him. But I know that Tate will continue to be successful because true talent like that doesn’t just die. 

CeCe Frey: Artist/Musician

 Tell us what type of artist you are? I listened to some great songs {of yours}. To me the songs are very hooky, catchy, fun, & can appeal to the masses, What is your message as a recording artist and what audience are you going after?

 I’m not sure I have a definition of the kind of artist I am. I can only be me, and I’m not sure “me” has a definition. As I mentioned earlier though, I think self- motivation and empowerment is something that a lot of people need to feel because we live in a very brutal world. I want to give my fans a soundtrack for the days that they really need to reach within themselves to find strength. 

 What are your live shows like? What tours have you been on, (Cities, States, Countries) & what artist have you toured with (if any)?  What is it like to be on tour and perform live in front of people? Does any one city, concert, or tour stand out in your mind?

My live shows are very energetic and fast paced. I’ve been around the country doing nightclub shows and even in Canada. But my favorite place so far has been Brazil. I just did a private show there a couple weeks ago and the Brazilian people are just amazing. They are so loving and genuine. It was truly a joy to visit them. Singing in front of people is my favorite part of my job. It’s an indescribable rush. 

What is it like to meet your fans & what does their support mean to you?

 If you had one thing that you always wanted to do with your life and then you got to meet the person that is responsible for making that happen, that is what meeting my fans are like. It slays me when some artists aren’t good to their fans. They are the sole reason I get to do what I do when it really comes down to it. If people weren’t entertained by me and didn’t enjoy what I do, I wouldn’t get to do it for a living. So I owe my fans everything

 How can fans find you online & order your songs & merch?

My debut single “Dead 2 Me” is up on iTunes and I’m all over social media. I also have some merch available at shopcece.storenvy.com

 How much has being on X Factor help you to build a fan base & take your career to the next level?

The X Factor was a great stepping stone on my path to success. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything and I feel very grateful to have been a part of it. But at the end of the day, I am not a reality show chick. I’m a real artist and I want to lose the X Factor stigma eventually and really re-present myself to my audience as a true entertainer, not a character from a reality show. 

 

The Current

You are a very busy person; do you have time for a personal life, and if yes, tell us a little bit about your life outside of music?

As you said, I am very busy. Therefore, my time to spend on a personal life is limited. So I don’t waste a second of it. I only have a couple very close friends and I spend my personal time with my family first, my few close friends, and my boyfriend. I also have a new kitten named Shya who needs plenty of my love. 

 Do you currently have anyone that you look up to (in the music biz or outside of the business) who motivates/guides you in any way?

 I am inspired by many people, not just one. I look up to what I find the most appealing about different artists. I love how effortlessly cool Gwen Stefani is. I love how deliciously weird Lorde is. I love how incredibly artistic Gaga is. So I try to soak up everything like a sponge and really just learn as I go along. Staying true to myself is probably where the most of my effort goes to. It’s hard to stay yourself whenyou’re in a world that is constantly trying to mold you like the music industry has done to so many. 

 Who's on your team and how important are they to you with regards to your overall success?

 My team is very small and mighty! We are slowly building but it is difficult to find people of like mind sometimes. So we are very selective with whom we place our trust. Joel Denver is a very close friend of mine at All Access and he has been great at advising me. I count on him for a lot of guidance! 

What is “next” for CeCe Frey?

MORE MUSIC!

 

 

 

 

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