By Mollie Eisler | February 21, 2023
Cody Celestin’s got the mic, and he’s here to share it. The label manager, writer, musician, rapper, creator, and emcee extraordinaire brings people together, creating community and bringing creativity to life. Cody got his start in the industry promoting records for Sony which led him to manage independent record labels for The Orchard/Sony. His band, The Café Music Group, not only plays shows but also puts on The Cafe Open Mic, an open mic night that provides a safe space and platform for up and coming artists in the city to express themselves, from live music to poetry to writing and more. Their mission is to give creatives the necessary tools to bring their visions to life, improve on their craft, as well as meet like minded individuals to help further them in their journey. They do this by providing the live musical backing for each open mic act, often improvising and playing their own jams throughout. Cody serves as the emcee, announcing each act and often weaving in his own verses and ballads in between. Each act is kept to a strict time schedule, only allowed to continue past the allotted time when the crowd decides. At open mic night, the audience is very much involved in the show, sharing their support and often asking poets to repeat their most fire verses. The success of this (often sold out) event lies in the community that Cody has curated within the walls of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in Alphabet City: A community that uplifts each other and keeps coming back.
The day after catching our first Open Mic night, we caught up with Cody where he answered a few questions for the groovement:
What was your first concert?
The first concert I went to was a gospel showcase my aunt was in at Salvation Army and for me at the time, that was the first time I saw musicians play what they felt. Just watching the band influence the emotion in the room was something I never saw before. Eventually, we got cable at my Grandma’s house and I saw Lauryn Hill perform “Gotta Find A Peace Of Mind” on VH1 unplugged and that was the first time I cried watching someone perform.
Where are you from?
I’m from Queens, and I’ve lived in NYC my whole life.
What do you do?
I’m a label manager for The Orchard/Sony Music Entertainment.
Who or what do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from vulnerability. I’ve gotten through some of my darkest moments by creating but that process never starts without me being vulnerable and honest with myself first about my emotions.
What does live music mean to you?
Live music means being present collaboratively to me. Everyone plays a part. The musicians, the crowd, the venue, etc… Everything comes together to create a one-of-a-kind moment that will never be duplicated. Only you and the people in that room know the feelings that certain performances evoke and that bonds all of us together in a special way.
Tell us about the music you make and your journey as an artist.
I write what I can feel. I try my best to stay true to that. Whether it be an event we’re putting together, a song I’m writing, or content we’re creating I know it has to be genuine for me to feel satisfied. Knowing this, I knew I just needed to be around music and the rest will figure itself out.