Life On Planets is the solo project of singer/producer Phill Celeste. A fusion of R&B, soul, house, and conscious-driven lyricism turns out to be the perfect formula for electrifying all the dance floors across the world. Apart from sparking passion and inspiration through his music, Celeste’s mission signifies so much more. The talented and down-to-earth producer took a moment to open up with SPIN about his career’s trajectory, managing life through the pandemic, and the ever evolving drive for being a leader of peaceful revolution.
Who is Life On Planets and what do you stand for?
Life on Planets is my solo project. My message is consciousness, love and peace–sprinkled over a groove.
Your music derives from a mega fusion of the disco, soul, funk, jazz, R&B, & hip-hop genres. How did you come to develop your sound, and how did this lead to your union with Studio 54 Music?
It’s taken a long time to find ways to properly blend my influences. I went from busking on the streets, playing guitar and singing in bands to playing nightclubs and festivals, picking up all kinds of sounds along the way. While working my way through the NY dance scene, I met Willy Soul, A&R at 54. We were in the same boat, making connections and hustling and kept in touch. Willy wanted to bring in some new blood at 54 and the label saw the vision I had with my music and brought me in.
Was there a definitive turning point to your success? When did you realize the magnitude of your impact within the industry/community?
I think it must have been the early days when I started touring with Wolf+Lamb and Soul Clap. I was on my first international gig, Sonar, in Barcelona just speaking on stage about dreams, telling the story of this one song I used to busk. A pair of guys found me in the crowd afterwards and told me I was like a preacher up there. The show was special for me but I didn’t fully realize how it was special for the crowd until that moment. I knew then that if I could just inspire others with the stories I told in the music, I would be doing my job.
Last year brought many catalysts toward social justice. Being a dedicated voice for peaceful revolution, how does this influence your music and what significance do you see it bring to the electronic music scene?
I think the events of 2020 forced alot of us to wake up and really look at what’s going on around and within us. This time has given me the chance to work with new collaborators and feel even more inspired to push the message in the music. Not only that, but so many organizations are working to help each other out through benefit streams, donations through music sales and more. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to lend my voice to different causes. I want to continue to make music that can inspire change, lift people’s spirits and keep finding my place in the bigger scope of this fight.
What do you wish for the future of electronic music? In what ways would you like to see it evolve?
I wish that electronic music would be seen as something that can coexist with the music we hear on the radio, that the whole game can open up to accommodate more and more nuanced artists. I’ve also spoken to some homies in the scene about getting more visibility for artists of color in the electronic music world, and have been blessed to be tapped for some of the initiatives to make that happen. I’d like for it not to have to be an initiative or an issue someday. For promoters, publications, agents, production teams to be enlisting the talents of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ artists and desire to raise them up of their own accord. Until then, I just hope we can continue to educate, tell our stories and bring people together.
Seeing that you’re quite the astrological buff, here’s a fun one for you – Tell us you’re an Aries, without telling us you’re an Aries.
Can we get there a little faster? Let me drive. From the studio to the highway….even if I’m not the faster one, or the situation is still just as tedious with me at the wheel I will feel like something is happening.
Despite the curses 2020 brought to the collective masses, what was the biggest lesson you gained and how are you planning to propel your career forward in 2021?
The biggest lesson I learned in 2020 was to keep hoping. To keep looking for the good instead of focusing on the bad. Easier said than done! Once I took my time back to workout, meditate and create, blessings and opportunities started to flow. So I want to just keep being grateful, keep striving towards my vision and stay focused on what I’d like to manifest.
Is there anything on the horizon that you can share with us?
Please check out the amazing collaborations Studio 54 has made possible with talented visual artists Maria Staffeld, Arturo Beta and Ben Exler! We did two animated videos that I don’t think would have been possible if it weren’t for the lockdown.
Any last words for the SPIN-verse?
I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy at home! I had a bout with Covid recently and it’s no joke! Take care of yourself and if you can, don’t forget to jump around and dance; and be grateful for that. Feel free to join me in this little stream 😀
You heard him. Get up and groove with Life On Planet’s funky-fresh and stress relieving set below. Want more? Head over to SPIN TV to keep up with all the latest and greatest SPIN Sets.