EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Sisters Ceraadi caught up with us to talk about their recently released EP "#GRWM" and what it's been like transitioning from YouTube stars to respected artists who are next in line in the R&B-Hip Hop scene.
The R&B scene is shifting. A new generation of artists are coming forward, and while many fans of the genre are begging for the days when the 1990s hits were storming the charts, what has emerged in the scene has been praiseworthy melodies. Artists are stretching the limits of expectations of what R&B should sound like, especially when fused with Hip Hop, and Ceraadi is at the forefront of the new wave of a blending of genres that has existed for decades. The duo is comprised of sisters Emaza and Saiyr who have long been social media stars, first launching their careers over on YouTube. After developing a formidable fanbase, it was time for the ladies to stretch their wings and test the music industry, and it didn't take long for them to capture the attention of Jay-Z and his crew over at Roc Nation.
It seems that Ceraadi has embraced a number of new beginnings throughout the years. Their journey began back in Cedar Rapids, Iowa before their family picked up and made the long trek to California. It wasn't easy; money was short and the future was uncertain, but they finally settled in South Central, Los Angeles where Emaza and Saiyr turned to YouTube to escape their reality. Their mother, who also dons multiple hats as she's their manager as well, has been the foundation of Ceraadi's career. According to the sisters, they're able to make their hectic schedules work because of their mother's help.
"Our mom’s our manager and she’s a Gemini. She’s a jack of all trades," Saiyr told us when we recently chatted with Ceraadi. "[She] helped us chase our dreams and get us to auditions." Emaza chimed in and added, "Having a good foundation, I think, that’s what helps us [as well]."
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They may have been in the social media limelight for a while, but Ceraadi is a new R&B-Hip Hop team on the scene. They signed to Roc Nation in 2019 and in August of that year, they dropped their five-track label debut, Ceraadi's Playlist. On October 23, just a little over a week ago, the pair returned with their second project, #GRWM (Get Ready With Me), an EP full of "bops," as Ceraadi put it. They're known for fusing R&B and Hip Hop, something other artists have done for generations, to create their own lively "goddess vibes," so we wanted to know what fans could expect to hear from them on their latest project.
"Definitely more R&B records…It’s a lot of, you know, it’s female time right now," said Emaza with a smile. "Whether your bae messed you over and you gotta tell them off like, get out my face with it, it’s definitely just owning who we are as women. We own this!” She added, "It’s more mature than the last project and we’re just so excited. It’s the music that the industry’s been needing for a while especially from a group... We’re influenced by a lot of east coast Hip Hop so you can definitely hear it."
There have been many conversations about the current state of R&B as people have debated the impact of the genre in today's culture of music. The ladies of Ceraadi believe that allowances for growth should be made because no sound of any genre has remained true to its original art form. "When it comes to new artists, everybody has their favorites and they stick to it," said Saiyr. "Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Be open to it."
"Like, how Hip Hop evolved. It's literally not like how it used to be anymore. I think people need to do the same for R&B," added Emaza. "I definitely feel like R&B has a stronger root, though... I think people should be more open to new R&B. R&B is more of a traditional genre and Hip Hop is more experimental."
Emaza compared the music industry to Instagram, mentioning that, like the social media network has an algorithm, so does the industry. When asked if they ever feel pressured to churn out new music regularly, both women didn't hesitate with their answers. "We’re trying to establish ourselves as artists going from YouTube to artistry, [so] you need to be pumping out music," said Emaza. "But we can handle the pressure. The process of it all, we’re ready to go."
"We do wish though when we’re recording, that we have enough time to sit and focus on our creativity," Saiyr added, mentioning that being in a "time crunch" can throw things off balance. Yet, with #GRWM, they made sure that each track was crafted to perfection. "I think with this project it’s gonna make everybody wake up and see Ceraadi, and people are gonna want to more," said Emaza.
And their fans have certainly been pestering the pair for more. With 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.8 followers on Instagram, Ceraadi has managed to acquire a solid, and dedicated, fanbase with only a few EPs under their belts. During our conversation, it's obvious that they're earnestly grateful for people who continue to support their artistic endeavors, but it's inevitable that with this much notoriety, not every follower is friendly.
Like many others, Ceraadi has received their share of negativity, but they don't allow the naysayers to knock them off of their path. "We’re human beings at the end of the day. We have feelings. We have emotions," the usually chipper Saiyr told us with a serious tone. "Once you reach a certain amount of followers, people forget that you’re a human being. They expect you to be super strong like, ‘You signed up for this, you should be able to take us giving you criticism or bullying you.'" It's not all glitz and glamour, as they continue to work hard to earn the respect of both fans and their peers.
"Us women can do what we wanna do. We shouldn’t be typecast," said Saiyr. "More power to us women that are owning our sexuality." She also admitted that they've been told if they were a bit more sexual with their lyrical content, they'd be further along in their careers. That may not the route they want to take, but they don't look down on women who choose to occupy that space. "I be rockin’ to it!" Saiyr exclaimed with a laugh. "But we can do whatever we wanna do."
Well, maybe not whatever. The artists are big fans of the 1990s music scene, a time they said they admired for both the tunes and artists' willingness to connect with their fellow creators. "I feel like back then people collaborated because they just loved the music," said Emaza. "I feel like now it’s all about the hype and it’s a popularity contest."
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Saiyr concurred. "'Cause of social media too," she said. "Everything has a timestamp and a crunch on everything. I wish people [could] work together. We asked for a collab and they left that message on read." Both sisters laughed at the memory.
As Ceraadi presses forward—and waits for that dream collaboration with SWV—they're enjoying their latest EP #GRWM with their supporters while continuing to represent women empowerment. "I feel like our content for our EP, it’s just different messages for women. I feel like we’re the guinea pigs. People just are starting to get it," Emaza shared. "They feel like you have to have a man co-sign for you...and it’s like, nah."
Make sure to stream #GRWM by Ceraadi below, and check out the music video to their single "Favorite" above.