This past week, WSN sat down with up-and-comer Chris Hearn, aka Ceezar, to talk about the release of his single “Celebration.” Hearn, a sophomore in Steinhardt majoring in music business, is an MLK Scholar as well as a member of The Gentlemen of Quality.
WSN: How long have you been making music?
Chris Hearn: I’ve been making music for a long time, believe it or not. I’ve been writing my own raps for about 10 or 11 years now. I started out freestyling because my uncle forced me to. So I was four years old, and my uncle, who’s this producer, would come over to the house and be like, “Yo, rap.” It became a way for me to one, be able to go downstairs and be where the adults were, where no other kids were allowed because if I came down and rapped for them they would let me chill, and then also I found a lot of solace in it. So I was writing my own raps on paper by the time I was around eight and I started recording when I was maybe 13.
WSN: At eight, what do you rap about?
CH: I was the best at basketball, the girls loved me.
WSN: So is there any sort of story behind your stage name?
CH: Absolutely, Ceezar came from the original nickname that I had when I was a little kid, Little Ceez. It was also an homage to another hip hop figure, but when I decided I wanted to make music I needed something that was more powerful. I wouldn’t be able to get out the energy that I wanted with just Ceez. I decided to make it bigger and say Ceezar, because I know there’s a lot of power in that name. Ceezar is spelled C-E-E-Z-A-R, and I did that one, to distinguish myself from the actual historical figure of Julius Caesar, because I’m not trying to be anyone, but I do respect the power that was in the name and the energy that was with it, and I wanted to take that and use it to create my own identity and character. It stands for Create Everything Excellent with Zero Acts of Recklessness, so that stands to embody the energy that I want to create in my music and as a person.
WSN: What was the inspiration for “Celebration?” What is your writing process like?
CH: Usually, my writing process happens a little bit differently than it did with this song. Usually, I have a feeling or a concept that I would like to elaborate on. I get in contact with my producers, and say, “Yo, I need a beat or an instrumental that feels like this, I need to express this kind of feeling.” They really come up with frames for the image that I’m trying to create. Once the instrumental is perfect I write the music to it. That’s usually my process, but with this song, I joined up with Village Records and we were going in to deliberately make a single. I felt a little bit of pressure and I probably overthought it, but I thought, what message do you want to communicate knowing that right now you’re going to have an audience that’s larger than you usually do, you’re going to have opportunities that you haven’t had thus far, what message do you want to communicate? And it was absolutely, easily, positivity and inspiration for people who don’t feel like they have a lot of it. It’s very much an uplifting song in the form of giving power to people and making people want to celebrate and act silly and just be happy.
WSN premiered Ceezar’s single “Celebration” last week. Listen here. Catch Ceezar performing at the African Students Union of NYU fashion show on April 30 at 267 5th Ave.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday April 18 print edition. Email Allison Stubblebine at [email protected]