We’re excited to announce that the next artist to be highlighted as part of Apple Music’s Up Next Local series is Celina Sharma. 

Apple Music’s Up Next Local series is dedicated to identifying and showcasing up and coming talent across Australia and New Zealand, hand-picked by Apple Music editors from around the world.

At just 18 years old, the English-Australian artist has already made quite the splash thanks to her powerhouse vocals and catchy lyrics.

Not only has her single ‘Lean On’ racked up over 30 million streams globally in only two years, but she is also set to have a track feature on the upcoming Marvel film Eternals.

Currently based in Britain, she is now the fastest-growing UK based artist on Snapchat with 230,000 followers and boasts 1.9 million TikTok followers to boot.

Fresh off the back of releasing her debut EP CeCe to critical acclaim, it’s safe to say Celina has firmly cemented herself as one to watch.

We spoke to Celina to get the rising star’s thoughts on musical secret weapons, her latest single and much more.

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Stream ‘Lights Down’ by Celina Sharma:

What is one thing that has helped keep you going during this global pandemic?

One of the main things that have helped me so much is music, being able to stay creative and spending more time with my family.

Take us through how you developed your music style?

It really has been a journey, over the last couple of years I’ve spent a lot of time in the studio writing songs that relate to my experiences. I feel like this EP has been a process of self-discovery.

What do you see as your secret weapon when it comes to your music?

That’s a very hard question to answer, but I have been told that I have a unique voice so I guess that helps haha. I know when a song is good as I feel it emotionally, so I have a pretty good emotional sense of singing which I manage to channel.

Tell us about your latest single; how it started, what it’s about, and anything else you’d like to share about it. 

‘Lights Down’ was a song I started writing two years ago in Los Angeles… the sun, beach and summer vibes really inspired the energy of this song, it was really fun to write. It’s basically about girls having fun, when the sun goes down we all party!

What are five attributes you think an artist needs to have in order to have career longevity in this music industry?

Having a positive mindset whilst being strong-headed is important, as social media can be a scary place.  Dedication, work ethic and persistence are extremely important as success doesn’t happen overnight, so be prepared to put in the work.

Willingness to sacrifice, accepting that as an artist you will be sacrificing a normal lifestyle because being an artist and perfecting your craft is very demanding. Having humility and never forgeting where you come from, that’s really important to me. 

Why do you make music? What’s your great big ‘why’?

Since a child I’ve always had a passion for music, I would say my big why is that music is therapy for me, I couldn’t imagine not doing it. 

What’s something that you’re really excited about right now?

There are two major things happening right now, one is that my EP called CeCe has just been released so go check that out, and the other is the fact I have co-written the title song in a new Marvel movie called Eternals which is being released on the November 5th. I still can’t believe it’s happening, I’m so grateful.

If we gained access to a few songs you have on repeat at the moment, what would we find?

I love Aya Nakamara’s ‘DjaDja’ that’s such a vibe… Aretha Franklin, ‘Say A Little Prayer’… I’m a huge Aretha fan and I have that on repeat daily, she’s a massive inspiration of mine. Whitney Houston’s ‘One Moment in Time’… Whitney is another major influence in my life, I’m always singing her runs, she’s influenced my style of singing throughout my youth, I miss her so much.

What’s something your fans don’t know about you, but you want to share with them?

I love doing impressions of other singers, it’s a party trick I have haha. My favourites are Shakira, Celine Dion and Aretha Franklin.

What does Apple Music’s support through Up Next mean to you?

I just feel so privileged to have the opportunity to show people my music and grateful to Apple Music for giving me such a great platform, it means the world to me.

For more on this topic, check out the Pop Observer.

Listen to CeCe by Celina Sharma: