Straight out of the deep South comes this young talented lady who goes by the moniker, Vitamin Cea. Her debut project “Joy Full Noise”(stream is embeded below the interview) was released a while back and some of her other works have been featured here on DEHH . As an emcee she blends her lyrics with heartfelt emotions, enthralling melodies with a soulful tinged soundscape to boot.
We at DEHH got in touch with her for a brief chat about her upbringing, music making process and a whole lot of personal insight into what makes her tick. Check the interview below.
DEHH: Who are you and what do you do?
I am Charity Hicks also known as Vitamin Cea. I teach, I learn, and occasionally I rap.
DEHH: – What do you do when you’re by yourself?
It depends on the day. I’m either relishing in the silence, writing, or listening to music. But 9 times out of 10, if I’m really by myself I’m just enjoying being by myself for as long as that lasts.
DEHH: What got you involved in this in the first place?
To be honest, I wasn’t allowed to listen to secular music as a kid, so there was so many classic artists and songs that I didn’t know about. But my pastor’s son, Jasiel Ace, who is now one of my closest friends used to rap with my sister’s ex back when I was in like elementary/junior high. When I heard him rapping songs that he was able to spit in church that weren’t corny and was mad lyrical, I was inspired. Super inspired actually. So I started writing raps with his music as the standard.
DEHH: What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?
This one is mad random but I remember 2 days before 4th grade started, I was attempting to make a doll house out of the cardboard crates that the WIC milk came in. (Innovation, don’t judge me.) I was using a knife to try and cut a door in the front of it and I accidentally stabbed my hand. My little sister was with me and I kept telling her not to tell momma because I was scared of getting in trouble for using a knife on cardboard. I was real live getting light headed and dizzy but since the cut didn’t hurt, I thought I could handle it. I was dripping blood all the way to the bathroom, not thinking about my hand per se, but getting in trouble for hurting myself. After my dad saw me I remember being extremely dramatic and all of a sudden feeling the pain. I still have the scar. It’s small but it’s definitely there.
DEHH: What’s your musical background?
I grew up listening to what my parents and big sister listened to, so there was a lot of Donnie McCklurkin, Kirk Franklin, Kiki Sheard, Yolonda Adams, The Winans, Trin-i-tee, J. Moss, Mary Mary, Tonex, 21:03. A lot of different gospel artists who have influenced other genres of music greatly. These were some of the only people I was allowed to have in my CD player. As I got older and began to venture into music in the “real world”, I gravitated to Young Money. Lil Wayne, Nicki, and Drake were the trinity to me for a very long time.
DEHH: Could you briefly describe the music-making process
Every song comes to life in a different way. A lot of times I’ll get ideas while in the shower or while driving and I’ll repeat them so I don’t forget because my memory when it comes to lyrics isn’t as great as most lyricists. I’m not a freestyler, so I can sometimes get a theme or concept and try to come up with a hook. Typically after I have a hook, the bars flow. Typically.
DEHH: Is there a particular song or musical passage that never fails to move you emotionally?
He’s Bigger by Jekalyn Carr is a definite favorite. I remember playing that song daily when I’d moved into my dorm and still had no clue how I was about to pay for school. It was a constant faith/spirit check.
DEHH: Which emotion more than any other, currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or passion etc. , and why?
Mainly joy. I deliberately choose joy though. It’s not like I don’t get sad or angry or depressed or confused. I exemplify those through the music as well. Or at least I try to. But I want joy to be the overall tone of my music because there’s so much to be upset about and sad about. But there’s a bunch in this world to be joyful about as well. So I try to provide a balance between all the emotions of life. Its like joy is the cake and everything else is the icing. Joy is the core even though all the other emotions are just as important and just as valid. They honestly make the cake worth eating. But with or without the icing, cake is cake. If that makes any sense.
DEHH: What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I always get mad hype when like hood niggas dig my work. And that’s happened more times than I can count. I remember when I dropped #CoppinCea and there was this cat on Facebook who kept commenting on how I was the dopest female he’d ever heard.
DEHH: Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
It definitely can be. For me, being an artist on top of just being the type of person I am, I’ve had the issue with feeling like I burden people with my artistry and all that entails. I’ve been really apprehensive with sharing my art out of internal fear on top of the fact that most of the things I was/am concerned about, some people in my age range aren’t really thinking about, honestly. Sometimes your ideas and outlook on the world can make artistic life a little lonely. But I don’t think that’s always a bad thing. There’s balance. Counteracting the loneliness is only through venting to God and seeking that divine comfort on top of surrounding myself with other creatives. People have this idea that they’re the only ones who feel the way they feel and that there is no one on earth who can understand them. I’m not shallow enough to feel like I’m the only person who thinks as farfetched as I do sometimes. Plus, humans are weird so being around people who own their weirdness is very comforting.
DEHH: Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues?
I’ve performed at a few places in Jackson, MS, but only one place on the Gulf Coast, ironically. I’ve been on the stage at Hops and Habana’s for Sika’s Audience Control, Conkrete, Starbucks at Jackson State, Freelon’s, and the spot on the coast was 13th Street Jazz Bistro. I think that’s about it. My favorite stage is definitely Hops and Habana’s. Always a nice crowd and great vibe. Least favorite? I don’t think I have one yet, thank God.
DEHH: Do you have any upcoming shows?
I’ve been out of town on business for a minute so not currently but I’m definitely going to start making things shake in August again. Just keep those eyes open!
DEHH: In closing, tell us something about any projects and ideas you have in store or are already working on?
I really don’t want to give much away, mainly because nothing is really concrete, but I’m definitely a feature fanatic and I’m going to be doing more and more of those. Definitely more shows as well. As far as projects, me, my sister NeoSoooul, and a lot of my other female musical counterparts have something special in the works. There’s no dates or anything for sure but we’re strategizing. So once again, keep your eyes, ears, and minds wide open.
DEHH: What is your dream project?
NxWorries, Lauryn Hill, Quavius Black, Rapsody, Frank Ocean, D.Horton, and Kierra Sheard all just doing what they do. That would be iconic.
DEHH: Is there something you would like to do more of in the future?
I want to work with teenage girls more. I’ve had the opportunity to sporadically pour into them whether it be musically or ministry wise but I want to be more intentional in my focus on young girls. That’s where my next desire would come in I guess. I need to do way more writing. A dream is that I can publish a book or two before I’m 25.
DEHH: Favourite or most inspirational place (in *Gautier*)?
On the coast, I’d say the beach. Pascagoula beach. In Jackson, I’d have to say my Element while its parked in a safe place. I love vibing in my car while in Jackson.
DEHH: If you were given a chance, would you enter Big Brother?
Nope. Too much energy to be honest.
DEHH: What is your favorite daily wear attire?
A t-shirt, thrifted mom jeans, and either my chucks or my birkenstocks aka middle age uncle shoes.
DEHH: If you were a biscuit, which would you be?
Sausage and cheese. I hate jelly so I’d wanna be a simple biscuit.
Keep up with Vitamin Cea : Twitter: @TheVitaminCea | Instagram: @TheVitaminCea | Website