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Cece Maravilla: Losing Yourself To Find Yourself

Written by on November 18, 2021

The open-minded artist wants listeners to be kind to themselves.

Originally from Wisconsin, 19-year-old producer and artist Cece Maravilla moved to Chicago to pursue their music career and has quickly garnered attention in the city’s scene. With relatable lyrics over catchy low-key beats, Cece’s music is for everyone. Finding kinship and community in Chicago, Cece’s creative drive is to promote vulnerability and encourage others to acknowledge their truth. We chatted with Cece about their move to the city, inspirations and hobbies after their single “Lose Myself” was featured on Vocalo’s Poised To Break Through playlist for Nov. 2021.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

“It is okay to change your mind, follow your heart and change your mind again. Your truth is your truth and no one can deny you that.”

– Cece Maravilla

Your Oct. 18 single “Lose Myself” was chosen to be featured for Vocalo’s on-air rotation for November. Can you tell us more about the meaning behind this song?

For me, the song is about letting yourself become whoever you have to be and starting this journey of giving myself up to my art and my vision. I wrote it when I first moved to Chicago and decided to fully pursue music. I was reflecting on how it felt to be home and feel misunderstood. When I was writing, I had this image in my head of me walking home from school looking at the ground with my headphones in, picturing all of my dreams and thinking about what I might lose on my way trying to make them happen. I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. If the song is interpreted in other ways, that’s even better.

What was your experience collaborating with Heartgaze on “Lose Yourself”?

Heartgaze is one of the most brilliant producers and kindest souls I’ve ever met. It’s been really dope to develop the type of creative synastry and friendship that we have. Working with Clem [AKA Heartgaze] really changed my life, so they definitely set the bar very high for me in terms of collaboration. Clem is the one who actually pushed to release the song because they loved and connected with it so much while they were back staying in Chile.

What are the benefits of collaborating with someone else rather than working alone? Vice versa?

The growth you experience and the feeling of being understood as an artist are what make collaboration valuable to me. You get to bring your skills and your spirit to the table and let it all evolve. A lot of times I think people I collaborate with get to instantly know me better than anybody who I haven’t worked with. Especially because my music is so vulnerable and my process is so unique. They probably get to know me better than I do myself in certain aspects. Expanding your taste and becoming a more open person is all a part of it, too, if you’re doing it right — in my definition. 

The benefits of working alone for me are getting better at the execution of my ideas and getting to work through intense emotions and creative barriers. Making music feels sacred to me, so dedicating that time to myself as well has been vital in every sense of the word.  

You moved to Chicago from Wisconsin pretty recently. To what extent has moving to Chicago influenced your music, if at all?

The people here and the ability to create my world and be myself have all had a huge impact on me. Wisconsin can feel claustrophobic in terms of being represented or accepted. It feels like everyone has their head on a swivel looking to see what other people think about them. To people who aren’t white, straight, Christian or part of a nuclear family structure, you are almost automatically constrained by this imaginary box. It’s really damaging. These unspoken concepts and expectations are all a part of the culture in Wisconsin.

It’s like the expectations are objective, but no one really knows what they are or what they’re doing. That repressed emotion translates into the fact that all the billboards are for liquor, “If you do this, you’re going to hell!” and sex stores. That feels generally the same for all of the Midwest, but Chicago has this undeniable culture, talent and energy that separates it and makes it one of the greatest cities in the world. I’ve met some of the best people in my life here so far, and the city has impacted my music for sure. There are great people everywhere, though. I just had to get out to be able to try and build something more for the people who need a chance back home. Hopefully, I can give back to Chicago, too.

What is your favorite part about being a musician in Chicago so far?

Same thing, the people I’ve met. The scene is so vibrant here. Chicago has always been so full of talent and people who are pushing the boundaries of art. I’m really just getting started here but so far it seems like people really want to see each other win, which is super special. People want to be a voice for their community and their people, too, which has always been what makes music timeless and leaves an impact.

You posted some TikToks about “trying to be the fourth Jonas Brother.” Can you tell us a little about those?

Man, I’m trying whatever entertains me to get into TikTok. Those are me really trying to not overthink what I’m doing and make myself laugh or something. I want to actually make cool videos about my process producing and all aspects of my music, but I have something in the works right now that I’m really focused on wrapping up, so these videos are kind of mid. I want to find or build a community on TikTok that has producers and artists who aren’t just white men. Also, if anyone reading this is a part of the Jonas Brothers team, just know I’m serious about that and to reach out to my management. 

Who do you hope is inspired or impacted by your music?

Anyone who feels something from it, positive or negative. When I was inspired by musicians, it was because their vulnerability would change my perspective or bring me light in a dark place. So if anybody is in that same place, it’s really special to me the potential my art has to help. Also if I can make a moment in someone’s life more special or memorable, that’d be huge for me. In terms of pursuing a career in music or doing what you love: queer people, women, non-white people and anyone who’s been told that they can’t. Definitely younger people too, because music is all about giving to “the next.” The goal really is for my music to impact music in its entirety. 

What would you tell someone who is struggling with their gender identity?

First and foremost, be kind to yourself. It is okay to change your mind, follow your heart and change your mind again. Your truth is your truth and no one can deny you that, so don’t ever let them. I know for a fact a lot of people are going through the journey of gender identity and queerness in harder and more traumatic ways than me.  Just know that you are not alone and once you find your people, life is going to be better than you could have ever imagined! Being open with yourself and being you is the most beautiful part of the human experience, and queer people get to have a really special chance to do that. I can only speak from my experience, but if anyone is reading this and needs someone to listen, they can hit me up any time.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

What do you like most about being a producer? Why?

I get to fully express and be myself when I produce music.  I remember when I first started making stuff on GarageBand in middle school it made me fall back in love with music because, before that, I always got frustrated just sticking to one instrument. I would have so many ideas that just practicing one thing drove me crazy and I felt constrained. Learning to produce gave me a space to put all of my ideas in one place. I got Ableton on a computer from my pre-college program in high school and the rest is history. 

Production makes me feel alive, for real. Now, I could be in outer space and feel like I have a home if I’m able to produce. I’m excited to get more into producing for other people as well. I also feel a sense of agency in being a producer because I think I can create new avenues for people who haven’t had access to the support and resources I’ve been blessed with. The thought of a system or industry not wanting or expecting me to excel in certain areas has always subconsciously and consciously pushed me to want to be the best I can be in all aspects of life. 

You’re currently a student. How do you balance making music with taking classes?

Time blocking and time management helps. I’m glad I’m really starting to learn that now. It’s difficult though, because you can’t schedule creativity. It’s something you have to be ready for when it comes. I am always writing, always taking voice memos, drawing or something. It’s hard for me to separate music and school, and I’m barely doing it. I don’t think I will for much longer at this point in my life, but it can be done for sure and I don’t want to discourage other people from going to college. I value education a lot, so it’s going to be a complicated decision about when I’ll keep studying at a university. I do want a degree at some point in something entirely separate from music, because I want to keep learning for life. 

You have a lot of skateboarding content on your TikTok. How long have you been skating for? What’s your favorite part about it?

I have been skating for a little over a year but I skated when I was a kid with my sister too. I just picked it back up during the start of the pandemic. The best parts are that it’s a sport where you get to challenge yourself and grow however much you want. The literal adrenaline and intensity of it make it a great outlet for me too. Also, the skill levels of skating are totally subjective so it makes it even more fun to do it with other people. Plus, everyone who skates is a nerd about something, so it’s easy to find cool people. 

Is there anything you’re working on right now listeners should look out for?

I have my debut project/ best work on the way, but I can’t say when the rollout is going to begin … I have a Glove Drive event coming up in December that my friend Alex Alvarado and I started last year. We host it in Madison, Wis. right now because we’re trying to get started in giving back to our community and then build from there. I will post all updates on my Instagram!

Follow Cece Maravilla on Instagram, Twitter & TikTok, and stream their music on Spotify below.

Edited for length and clarity by Milo Keranen.

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