Hip hop artist Celo speaks out about the significance of music

March 16, 2018

Brandeis allows students to explore their passions, take control of what they like to do and make it their own. One student, Marcelo Brociner ’18, or Celo, has been pursuing his love of hip hop for the last six years, since his junior year of high school, and has been recording music for five years. “I started writing raps in my garage. With our whole friend group, the criteria was, ‘if you are in the garage, you have to have a verse to rap’ so that is how I got into writing music,” he reflected. His friends encouraged him to take music seriously, so he began recording music on a real microphone.

The only instrument Brociner needs is his voice. “I used to be good at Guitar Hero, I played trumpet in elementary school, and the recorder does not count,” he said. “Other than that I do not play any instruments. My friends make all the beats that I rap on.” Of performing, Brociner said, “there is something reciprocal about it that feels really good. It is a connection that you cannot really form in any other way.”

Brociner only performs original music. “I never have or will in my life perform a cover. The reason for that is for other genres, covers are totally making complete sense because if it is a sung song, you can totally give it your own flavor based on your voice, but if you are rapping, you cannot really deliver a different rap verse much different than the original verse would have been,” Brociner explained. Though primarily focused on rap, Brociner said he hopes to branch out into “more club type beats.”

Growing up, Brociner listened to Cuban rap group Orishas. “They are really revolutionary with how they made music, but it is rap, and that is the early roots of my rap influence,” he said. Though he cites Orishas as one of his biggest inspirations, Brociner credits Bob Dylan as an early rapper and looks to artists like Kendrick Lamar and Frank Sinatra for guidance. “The stage you are in your own craft dictate how much influence that these artists have on you,” he pointed out. “I think certain artists will influence the sound more and other artists will influence the message more. It really depends on what stage in your craft you are at, still figuring out who you are, it’s easier to latch onto, but once you change up how much you want to draw from other people because you have more identity behind it.”

“It is not healthy to try to sound like one specific person for your own craft for whatever you are working on, like music, writing, painting or photography. You are not contributing anything if you are just replicating,” Brociner argued.

One of Brociner’s songs, “L-W,” is particularly significant to him. He wrote the song shortly after a friend passed away from drugs and alcohol. The album, also titled “L-W,” “was supposed to give a message about how to take a loss and make a lesson or a win out of it, so that meant a lot to me in that sense.” Brociner dedicated his song “Domino” to his family. “I’ve got a tattoo of a domino on me. This song is a dedication for my dad and I for our birthday. Dominoes are huge in Cuba, so this song is an ode to my parents,” he said.

For Brociner, the best part about being a rapper is “whenever one person or anybody, whether they are my best friend or if I never really talked to them before, reaches out to me saying ‘this line resonated with me so much,’ which is really what I care about.”

“I have always treasured that the most, because I am doing what I should be doing, which is just making things for myself, that will then resonate with other people,” he said.
Brociner plans to continue to make music after graduating from Brandeis. “It is not something that I can just stop doing. Any artist no matter what they are doing can say that because it is just too vital of an outlet to cut off because things will continue to just get caught up in your brain. That is what art is all about,” he said.

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