CeCe Rogers- Keeping the (House) Faith (interview)
25 years after he teamed up with Marshall Jefferson to record seminal acid house anthem Someday, CeCe Rogers remains a towering presence in house music, whether stealing the show as a judge at ADE’s annual Cook-off competition or headlining Berlin’s Panorama Bar earlier this year.
Larger than life and hilariously outspoken in person, he’s also a highly seasoned pro, effortlessly ducking questions such as how much did he indulge in all the temptations on offer during his acid house heyday touring the world as one of club culture’s first global superstars.
“Seeing massive amounts of people who were different from me literally crying while dancing to a house song was pretty decadent”, he deadpans, “The lyrics of Someday became bigger then I could ever dream. What was the most ridiculous situation I encountered? Too many to mention,” he laughs.
Back in the present, he’s just released new single Deep on his own label USB Records, or rather he’s released Moodlife featuring Cece Rogers’ new single. So what inspired the new decidedly soulful as opposed to incendiary new track?
“The combination of RnB and House has always been a specialty of mine,” says CeCe. “I’ve been known to write a lot about social and political issues, this time I thought I’d explore the sensual side,” he explains.
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): When you were speaking at ADE recently, you mentioned with Someday that Marshall Jefferson put it out despite you not being fully happy with the version- how much do you remain a perfectionist these days?
CeCe Rogers: “I attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music where I studied classical and jazz music. I studied for countless hours trying to master piano and voice only to meet Marshall Jefferson and learn it is more about the feeling then the technique. So to answer your question, I let the technical part go a long time ago. Now I’m not down for singing or playing anything off key! But the chords, the voice, the rhythm is more about the feel then how technical it is.”
Skrufff: How do you feel putting out tracks these days- the same as ever? Any fear of exposing yourself to criticism- or failure?
CeCe Rogers: “Musicians can be extremely sensitive and I am not immune to it. But I’ve been in the game a long time and have learned that criticism and failure is part of the roads we will take. The important thing to do is when we go down these avenues, we must get back on the right road.”
Skrufff: many of your old skool house peers (Farley Jackmaster Funk, Green Velvet, DJ Pierre) ended up as born-again Christians: did you ever consider that path?
CeCe Rogers: “I found God before I came into house. My grandfather was a Baptist minister. Although I have struggled with religion for quite sometime, I am a believer.”
Skrufff: Looking back, how big a role has chance and luck played in your career: have there many any/ many moments when you’ve had a career defining crossroads?
CeCe Rogers: “That is why I am a believer. I do not believe in chances. The chances for me were dim on so many levels. To be here in this time and in this moment for me is not by chance. I have been in the music business for over 25 years. I make a good living and I truly love what I do. That is the defining moment……..”
Moodlife featuring Cece Rogers- Deep is out now on USB Records.
Jonty Skrufff: https://twitter.com/djjontyskrufff