CeCe Sammy is best known for helping loads of our favourite singers sound amazing whenever we hear them. Now she is releasing a book If You Can Speak You Can Sing aimed at helping young people realise the positive effects that singing and music therapy can have on their everyday life. We caught up with her for a quick chat about the book and the inspiration behind it. Her story is one of strength and how singing and music helped her personally overcome some big challenges in her life, so she knows first hand the huge positive impact music and singing can have on a persons life.
When we speak to CeCe it’s a cold Wednesday afternoon, snow is falling all across the UK, CeCe is in the middle of a busy day promoting her new book. “I didn’t want to keep it[the book] for singers alone. Many people get confused’oh my gosh I am a good singer?’ or should I not sing, and a lot of things I’ve been saying to so many people for years is everyone can actually sing a long with a song.
CeCe is no stranger to getting people singing along to songs, having worked with S Club 7 and some X Factor and Pop Idols biggest names.
” If you think about 500 years ago, for instance, everyone sings just as a community and now we’ve got the world of the popstars, the winners, the people who don’t win etc, and that’s great competition. But at the same time, I want people to know that if you are a cleaner or a doctor, whoever you are, wherever you are in the world singing is something that helps us in all areas. Just in our mental health, in terms of communicating with others, for example, secondary school age kids dealing with bullying issues they are able to sing and get away from the stress because they love music.”
A firm believer in the power that singing and music can have in helping young people overcome stress, bullying and other things that affect their mental health Cece founded The Power of Muzik, a music therapy initiative that helps young people tackle issues they face.
In 2011 4 months after the birth of her daughter Cece suffered a brain haemorrhage.
” Lying in that hospital I was no longer a singing teacher, bear in my mind many years before that I was teaching and working with people primarily with people in the[music] industry. I was no longer a vocal coach. No longer a celeb on television. And I was someone who could not speak and I could not walk. Music was played around me, my sister would play it and I couldn’t do anything but listen to the music. It helped in terms of my breathing because I had lots of tubes up nose etc. I couldn’t breathe properly on my own. When the doctors took them out, music would help me. I would picture myself in different scenarios, I would picture myself dancing or I would picture me trying to walk again. That’s why I think music can help everyone.”
Advice she recieved from her Mum as a child also undoubtely helped Cece in over coming the barriers she faced. “As a child – my mother encouraged me to sit down and work hard and believe in myself and to look at my strengths not just what I thought was my weakness – this helped me so much.”
Similarly music mogul American Idol Creator and manager of The Spice Girls, Simon Fuller is another person she credits with giving her good advice. ” Everyone talks about Simon Cowell but the person who changed my life was Simon Fuller. Simon encouraged me when he realised I could read music and understood the science of the voice and not only as a singer as I was helped people how to solve the problems and that made me an incredible vocal coach and to train other coaches and his company would give me lots of work – an AMAZING man. “
Talk turns to young people entering the music industry and how things have changed. “I feel now with social media we have what I call an awareness . With social media we have great things about it but we also the darker side to it, the positive side of it is people are able to spread the news quicker and you can talk about things like mental health or bullying with others. “
“A lot of the celebrities now are starting to be more open and have those conversations which before they’d have privately with people like myself and other people like life coaches etc. They now feel brave enough to mention these things on social media. So I think if it’s done properly it’s good.”
” A lot of young people though on social media don’t seem to realise that a lot of the celebrities went through the same things they did. It’s why this book is so important to me and why I needed it to be not just something to read but also have tangible things people can do and how they can go through the issues that loads of celebrities have. That’s why it’s really important for me with the book to show that celebrities have gone through the same issues that everyday people go through. We are all the same.”
If You Can Speak You Can Sing is out now.
Let us know your thoughts on CeCe’s book at @CelebMix.