Artist Entrepreneur Spotlight: Ceréna
A debut album, JUNO-nomination and an upcoming Osheaga performance prove this is the year of Ceréna (@cerena.world), and she’s just getting started. We caught up with the #CMIsupported artist for a Q&A on her rise into the spotlight and how her business has grown since her time in our Artist Entrepreneur program.
Q: Where were you when you received your JUNO nomination and what was that experience like?
A: I was home alone on zoom with my bestie, watching the announcement together. Even as I write this, I can’t believe this is actually happening. As I experienced the shock of it all, the memories of all the trauma I experienced in this industry came crashing down because this milestone immediately reminded me how even when I lost all hope, I still continued to fight because I knew I had to do this.
Q: What has been the most important part of developing yourself as an artist and business?
A: Before all the technical skills required to be a successful businessperson, it’s all the work I did to heal. Until I assessed and addressed all my problems, I was never going to be free nor open to what had always been waiting for me. The healing process allowed me to create this body of work, to see everything, therefore better maneuvering my way through all the bullshit. I have an incredible community of people that have supported me and have always seen me for who I am, and I wouldn’t be here without them. This includes #CMI, which became a huge catalyst for my development. I registered myself as a business and then incorporated a few months after to create ASE INC., an arts and entertainment company that focuses on artistic integrity and community and puts an end to the exploitation of artists and the bastardization of art to control the masses. I learned a lot and affirmed all that I already knew. It made me realize that my former team had it all wrong and gave me the wings to actually do this on my own accord, also eventually teaming up with my manager, Arianna, who together with her help (and yours) we were able to achieve this JUNO nom less than a year since Ceréna’s debut. that’s WILD.
Each single on your debut album comes with a story, where did that idea come from?
It’s all from experience. I believe that nobody should be writing or creating art based on experiences that aren’t their own. The lens will always be skewed, and the true story is never told. I didn’t hold back from anything because a, I did it for myself as a way to process my trauma… and b, I’m not afraid to show my messiness. Humanity is messy boots! and we gotta stop pretending that everyone has it together. Why do we create art? To shape our reality and manifest our dreams and visions, but the current commercial music industry only cares about profit, profit, profit. Creating this album, I knew it wasn’t going to sound like anything out there right now and I had to find confidence in that cuz it petrified me. Of course, I need to make money because I’m forced to operate in capitalism but I didn’t want that to drive the music. I had to trust that the money will come. I had to trust and surrender in knowing that what is for me will never miss me.
Was there a topic you found difficult to share?
No topic specifically tbh, just more an overall fear of exposing all this to the world. By the time I heard the final masters, I was numb. I had no reaction, I was over it. These songs had been haunting me for months, constantly on my mind. Having ADHD makes it difficult not to get stuck in loops of thought, my brain constantly problem-solving. It wasn’t until my manager called me crying at what she just experienced that made me realize how jaded I was and the importance of having a fresh perspective. But can you blame me? This shit is HARD. The struggle to gain access to the necessary resources needed to complete a project like this is insane. It shouldn’t be this hard to be an artist when we all know we need it to survive. Our world would be nothing without artists and without art, so we should always have the resources to maintain and protect our artists so that we can keep creating the shows, plays, music, paintings, poems, and dances we all enjoy.