It’s the city of Stockholm, the middle of the 90s, and a four-year-old boy sits in front of the TV set in a living room. With a mesmerized stare only kids can possess he’s placed himself less than an inch away from the screen, vividly conducting his little arms with a surprisingly accurate precision, following every dramatic move the violinist in the state broadcasted television program makes. When spotted by his grandmother, this young classic concert enthusiast gets his musical interest taken seriously from the very start. She puts a violin in the little boys hands.
Although one might say that the music story of Kim Cesarion, as we’ll know him by 18 years later – this Swedish newcomer that embodies the fusion of pop and r’n’b, began even earlier, way before he was born.
When his father, a Guadeloupean dancer/musician, and his mother, a Swedish-Greek instrumentalist – both with great music traditions in their families – once met in Paris, perhaps music was the only way for Kim.
Kim Cesarion’s early mastering of the violin got him into a classic music school, where the violin soon was accompanied by piano, upright bass and viola. The classic tutoring, with strict Russian masters, got a beneficial balance by the soulful music always played at his house, his big sister – one of Paris more renowned Zouk singers – and his weekends mostly spent with his dad at the music label Breakin Bread’s studio – a epoch-making music machinery in its genre.
The musical encouragement came consequently from both his parents and grand parents, Kim Cesarion explains: “My mother always taught me to say when – not if when wanting something”, and got him exposed to some of music’s greatest – like the time he was eleven years old and got to meet D’Angelo after a legendary concert at Circus concert hall in Stockholm. But it wasn’t until high school that Kim Cesarion finally found his true instrument to work with – his own voice.
At the age of 20 Kim Cesarion came in contact with songwriter Arnthor Birgisson, from the production and management team Aristotracks, started by siblings Emilia de Poret and Linus Andreen. The delight over their first studio session was mutual. Arnthor had been looking for an artist that he could work with as a full album project, whilst Kim Cesarion in return was searching for ways to both find and express his own artistry. A two-year experimentation in the Aristotracks studio began to find just the right musical style for Kim Cesarion.
After all, his childhood had been filled to the brim with music like Soca/Calypso, Zouk, Reggae/Dancehall, Blues, Funk, classical music and modern r’n’b, and the addition thereto of Kim Cesarion’s own music heroes – greats like Prince, D’Angelo and Stevie Wonder, the musical exploring in the studio was a lot of hard work.
The law of music is basically the same as when cooking food – even with the finest ingredients you sometimes need to add an extra component to bring out all the gusto you’re looking for. In Kim Cesarion’s case: he, Arnthor Birgisson and Lukasz Duchnowski met the Scottish songwriter Gary Clark – and the track Undressed emerged quite quickly.
Undressed, being an intelligent modern mash-up of quirky pop tune and slick, up front-r’n’b, then became the catalyst that showed the way forward. Since then the team’s been working devoted with their music formula, creating real good pop-r’n’b – both worthy potential massive chart climbing and great live performances, and where at least the later is Kim Cesarion’s own purpose with his music.
Influenced by his very own musical canon, funk masters like Prince and George Clinton sets the standard: Kim Cesarion says that when performing live a true artist should give the audience an experience beyond the records. Basically just make songs for the stage. A statement that he confirms when releasing the acoustic version of Undressed, shot at the Atlantic Studio. In this video the song gets a more organic and funk-mellow sound at the same time as Kim Cesarion shows of the spectacular dimensions of his voice.
A fact that’s crystal clear to the lucky few that’s been invited to venues like the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Stockholm, the award show for Scandinavia’s biggest hip hop magazine or the 10h anniversary of the Swedish fashion magazine Rodeo, where Kim Cesarion has yet performed.
Kim Cesarion’s hype isn’t just secluded to the world of fashion or the watchful niche of urban music – RCA UK and Sony Music Sweden became equally enthralled by this multi-talented artist and a six month courtship started that saw the two labels signing Kim Cesarion worldwide in a joint venture. Without any prior story or social media platform Columbia US have also committed to the artist, where he will be one of their priorities.
As stated in Undressed, his name is “whatever you call him”, but more likely Kim Cesarion will be the name on everyone’s lips.