by GABRIELLA DEPINHO, Asst. News Editor
Cedric St. Louis was a name I had heard a few times prior to the Sanctus Artem art show on Nov. 3. I had heard him perform at Coffee House in October and Quadchella in September and had him on my list of people I wanted to interview for this column. After seeing him perform at the art show, I knew I needed to reach out to him immediately.
His performance was a highlight of the show for me. He performed three different songs, all unique in their own ways. Two of the songs had features from friends of his and the third one, he was up there taking charge of the stage by himself.
Though late at night and deep into the performances, he got the whole of Hayden 100 riled up and excited.
St. Louis is a junior chemical engineering major who recently put out his own EP titled “This Can’t Be Real,” and has been making music since high school. The coolest thing about his music is that it grows with him over time. While his current EP is nothing short of awesome, I can’t wait to listen to the music he creates next.
The Quadrangle: When did you first start getting into music?
Cedric St. Louis: Around high school. I really didn’t listen to music too much early on in my life, but when I got to high school, I started listening to a lot of Nicki Minaj and I really liked her wordplay. I thought it was so clever how she would use one word and make it mean something completely different so I was just like, ‘yo, I want to try and do that.’ So I started making songs and would record them with the microphone on my laptop – horrible quality – and I thought it was so good. I was showing my family members and they were like ‘yeah!’ but it was probably garbage, but they were still supportive anyway. That’s when I would say it hit me that I really like doing this.
TQ: What would you say was your first “successful” experience writing music? When did you first start getting into writing music more seriously?
CSL: So on SoundCloud, I have like three mixtapes up and then this EP. Each one is different, and it just goes to show how much I’ve grown. The first one is about drugs, money, getting girls and keep in mind, I’m gay. That’s not anything I’m about. The second one is more about how I was feeling and things were going in my life. The third one is like, “I’m depressed” and this is real and I’m rapping about how I’m feeling and how everything is changing and I’m not ready for it. I feel like that one – it’s called “Candid” and I named it that because I felt like it was just a snapshot of my life at that moment – that one is when I really started to put all of my energy into my music because I went into the studio for that one. The beats weren’t mine but I still worked really hard on that one so I guess that’s my most “successful” project.
TQ: When did you start doing your own beats with your own lyrics?
CSL: On this EP. This is the EP that’s really like studio time and my beats and my lyrics – I mean they’ve all been my lyrics but better lyrics, you know? I wanted to put this one on iTunes and Apple Music and I can’t do that if they’re not my beats and I feel just posting on SoundCloud, people probably wouldn’t really listen to it as much, whereas when it’s on their own streaming app, they can just look it up and listen to it easier so I just had to, I needed to learn to make beats. I started using GarageBand on my phone. It really didn’t start out well, you know, everything takes practice, but we were able to get it good enough, good enough to be on my EP.
TQ: What is this EP about and what does it mean to you, now that you’re a junior in college and actually, also, how long have you been working on it?
CSL: This EP is named “This Can’t Be Real” because of the journey I went through making this EP and balancing school and everything else that’s been going on in my life. I started working on it like a year and a half ago. The first thing I do is find the beats. So I’m like, what can I make? What sound am I trying to show or create? Then I write the lyrics – that takes some time because it’s kinda hard writing lyrics for me. It depends on how I’m feeling. After that, I’m like, “Oh, people should sing on this.” What I was trying to do with this EP was make it catchy and make it like “oh it’s stuck in my head, let me listen to it again!” With my other songs on SoundCloud, you didn’t really get that. It was a listen to it once and forget about it kinda thing. With this one, I really wanted to make it stick so I was like I have to make catchy songs. That’s why there’s three features on it because they sing catchy choruses that people would remember and play again. As far as the different songs on it, each song is completely different. I was going to post a “single” to show off the EP but not one song shows off the entire thing because they’re all so different.
TQ: What was it like getting people to feature on the EP? Did you collaborate with them to come up with their parts or had you written it already and just asked them to hop onto the song?
CSL: I wrote it already and I kinda had an idea in mind of who I wanted. So what I do is I sing the song, everything – I can’t sing obviously – but I sing it and I think about who would sound good on it. All these features, they’re all my close friends. We have Kyra, who I’ve been friends with her since middle school, Sabrina, who’s on “You Like Him,” we’ve been friends for three or four years now and Ruth, as well, we’ve been friends since way back. I met her at a performance and ever since then we’ve always talked about music and stuff. I’m just putting these singers onto songs I think they’d sound the best on and I think it really worked.
TQ: When did you start performing your own music?
CSL: My very first performance was when I was fifteen. It was this “Winter Warmup” and that’s actually where I met Ruth. I was terrified but I had put together this five minute medley of “Candid,” of the whole EP. It would switch and I had dances and I had practiced and everything. I was so so proud of that. I invited all of my friends but nobody showed up but my aunt, and I was just like “oh okay.” I wish I had a video of that but no one recorded that. Ever since then, I was a little hesitant to perform, not sure if people were going to like it, but I’ve been pushing myself because how else are people going to hear my music if I don’t perform it? I’ve been trying to perform about once a month. I’ve really only been doing it on campus but still, I’m achieving my goal.
TQ: Is music your long-term goal and chemical engineering your backup plan? What’s the plan or at least, what’s the dream?
CSL: Oof, that is really a battle I am having right now. Chemical engineering is so time-consuming, and then music is time-consuming too, because if you really want to succeed, you have to push yourself, more than others. It’s not just me making music, there are so many other people. It’s such a competitive field, whereas chemical engineering, there’s this safety of getting a job after you get a degree because there is such a demand. So, I’m kind of doing chemical engineering but doing music, failing at doing both, being lazy. I just want to be able to be happy in the end and I feel like music would make me feel like that. I guess chemical engineering is the backup but I’m still getting this degree because you just need one to survive.
Cedric St. Louis’ music can be found under his name on Spotify, iTunes, Tidal, Apple Music, Google Play, YouTube, Deezer and SoundCloud.