North Texas Daily

Denton artist Ceci Ceci shares culture through song

Denton artist Ceci Ceci shares culture through song

Denton artist Ceci Ceci shares culture through song
June 24
12:00 2022

Integrative studies senior Ceci Callejas, 23, owes her career to a sheet of printer paper and a Sharpie.

Back in 2019, the singer-songwriter needed a producer after moving to North Texas. She grabbed some paper and a marker and scribbled “looking for a producer, call me” and her phone number. She then posted the homemade advertisements across Denton bookstores and coffee shops.

“My goal was to find a producer and release a single,” Callejas said. “That seemed to be the easiest way to jump into the music scene.”

Not long after, the artist, also known as “Ceci Ceci,” was contacted by several local producers. She connected with Denton-based Nathan Clark 23. His openness to her sound quickly encouraged her to reach out.

“I’m a Latin performer and write songs in Spanish, so it’s a bit different to the punk-noise Denton scene,” Callejas said. “He believed in me and my work, as cheesy as it sounds. It was a no-brainer.”

Together, Callejas and Clark have been developing her sound ever since.

“It’s wild to see what she’s been able to do over the years,” Clark said. “She’s consistently doing what she does best. […] I’m pretty proud of what we’ve been able to whip up in our little room in Denton.”

Callejas found her passion for music in her childhood bedroom in Nicaragua. There, she began rehearsing for pretend concerts at the age of 5. After moving to the U.S. at 18, she started writing her first songs.

“I fully dove into songwriting in San Antonio straight out of high school,” Callejas said. “It wasn’t as art-centric there as it is in Denton, so it was harder to get involved in a music scene outside of my own room.”

Since moving to DFW, Callejas said she has become more in tune with her sound. With support from Clark and her mom, she has become more confident in her work.

“She always speaks from her heart and writes what is deeply entrenched in her soul,” Clark said. “It kind of rips out of her.”

Throughout her music career, Callejas said her only constant has been her guitar. As a Latin-influenced artist, Callejas’ style helps her connect with who she is and where she came from. It helps ground her and be more present in her art.

She considers her lyrics to be even more personal. Many of her songs are inspired by personal experiences.

“It’s like giving a piece from me from a specific time in my life,” Callejas said. “It shows where I am in a special moment.”

Her most-streamed song, “Enciclopedias,” was inspired by the passing of her dad in 2015. Callejas made a promise to herself that her first recording would be a tribute to him. After forming her raw emotions into song, Callejas released the track in early 2020.

With over 15,000 streams on Spotify, having her most intimate song be her most popular is something special to Callejas. Feeling accepted enough to freely express herself is an important part of her music process. Despite lingering fears about opening up, Callejas loves to connect with fans over her songs’ themes. This link allows her to be more honest about her relationship between music and mental health.

“I’m now very open about that journey,” Callejas said. “I went through hardships and [asked] myself the question of what truly makes me happy. I found there’s something so amazing about creating and creating music. It just fills my soul.”

Second-best to songwriting, Callejas also finds joy in performing her music live. Seeing and hearing the audience’s reactions from the stage reminds her of why she continues to create.

“It’s just me and a guitar,” Callejas said. “I feel that’s where I belong, sharing myself. There’s a euphoric feeling that comes from it.”

Cellejas’ friend, alumna Bennie Miller, feels lucky to be a part of her artistic journey. She is inspired to see Callejas use music to heal herself and bring people together. Miller said Callejas often tells her “music is the only thing that makes sense.”

“Life has so many unanswered questions, but one thing I know to be true is that Ceci was made for music,” Miller said. “ Music is there for her, she is there for music.”

As she writes and plays across North Texas, Callejas strives to share her sound with the world.

“The plan is to conquer DFW and then expand from there,” Callejas said.

While this expansion has its risks, Callejas said she has become well-versed in music’s uncertainty. She believes an artist stunts their own growth if they don’t take big leaps.

“If you put yourself out there you can either be rejected, or you could be welcomed,” Callejas said. “If you’re rejected, that will only inspire you to keep putting yourself out there. It’s easier said than done, but I think it’s fruitful.”

Callejas considers music to be her own personal pursuit of happiness and stability. Though uncertain of what lies ahead, she will continue to walk through life with her guitar in hand.

“Music has been the only constant, the only safe haven for me,” Callejas said. “It’s what I’m here to do.”

(Credit Peter Sanjur)

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Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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