Prom Queen
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Prom Queen

Seattle, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Surf Rock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Oct
12
Prom Queen @ Nice N Sleazy

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Oct
11
Prom Queen @ 81 Renshaw St

England, United Kingdom

England, United Kingdom

Oct
07
Prom Queen @ Hornsey Town Hall

England, United Kingdom

England, United Kingdom

Music

Press


Prom Queen’s upcoming album, Doom-Wop, is a continuation of the sound the Seattle group has honed on their previous two releases. However, per the band, it’s different, and more of an album that “celebrates the ensemble that we’ve built over the last few years.” That camaraderie has been “built from the ground up,” they state, and it really shows. If you’ve enjoyed the darkly mysterious versions of the girl-group sound Prom Queen has explored on Night Sound and Midnight Veil, then you’ll likely adore Doom-Wop, an album to which I’ve returned again and again since it showed up in my inbox a couple of weeks ago.
Here, we premiere one of the album’s highlights, “Blonde.” You can listen to that below, and read our interview with the group’s frontwoman, Leeni Ramadan.

Modern Vinyl: What was your first exposure to girl groups and doo wop?
Leeni Ramadan: I was exposed from an early age and have had a lifelong love for that sound, but it’s a bit of a mystery to me as to why — maybe it seeped in from the womb. My mom had been in a girl-group in high school called “The Seven Slick Chicks.” I don’t think they ever really gigged but maybe did some school functions. My stepdad also really liked “oldies”; he loved the Everly Brothers and almost exclusively listened to AM radio. But from the get-go, I was enamored with Grease and Peggy Sue Got Married, any other movie from that time period that I saw, and just loved the sound of that music for reasons I cannot place.
MV: Why did the music strike you as something worth a modern day exploration?
LR: It didn’t take too much forethought on my part, nor did I have an agenda to modernize the genre in any way. It was really just the music I wanted to make/what I ended up writing. I geek out on the production side of this stuff, so part of it was the challenge for me to produce something that captured the quality of the recordings that I love so much. I am proud of the end result and it was a thrill to hear it on vinyl! This is my first ever album on vinyl so it was a really special moment to listen to that first test press! Fantastic!
MV: It seems like every great ’60s pop icon had a really fantastic duet in their catalog, and Prom Queen’s “I Need You” fits that to a ‘T.’ Why’d you want to work with Same Animal?
LR: I met Joel [Jarek DeGraf] a few years ago, and when he said he was starting a project I was eager to hear it because I had a feeling it would be great. I really loved the recordings he was making and, in particular, his vocal style. I wanted the duet to be with an artist who had the right sound and who was actively creating, so I was so excited when he agreed to record it! He’s down in LA and sent us the vocal takes from his studio.
MV: “Blonde” is a song which really resonates — it has some definite spiritual kinship with Hedwig & the Angry Inch’s “Wig in a Box.” How is hair and dying it, cutting it, shaving it, etc., this metaphor for control?
LR: Well, firstly, Hedwig was huge for me and definitely a major influence. But I’m also really into hair. I toggle between feeling enslaved by beautification rituals and feeling empowered by them. Depending on the day! “Blonde” is a song that is equally as much about self-hatred as it is about the giddiness I sometimes feel about the vast, untapped possibilities of identity shifting. But the song is also about control. The lack of control that I often feel and grasping at the few things that I can control so as to feel less impotent.

MV: Your covers are amazing, but the version of Guns ‘n’ Roses’ “November Rain” which ends “Doom-Wop” is astonishing. I can tell it changed a little from the first cover version, but what exactly did you all go through and alter for the album?
LR: It has morphed a bit throughout the years but the central idea has remained pretty similar. Kind of like how Doc Emmett Brown bumped his head one day and came up with the flux capacitor — the idea of a doo-wop version of “November Rain” came to me back in 2009 and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head ever since.
And, even though there are previous versions, I never felt that I was able to execute it properly until now. And it was cool to be able to license it for the record! The biggest change sonically this time around has been adding sax – making Slash’s solo a sax solo. It’s probably my favorite part of the song!
MV: Prom Queen has funded their last two albums via Kickstarter and GoFundMe. What are the ups and downs of crowd-funding to produce a record?
LR: I am not the biggest fan of crowd funding, so anytime I’ve done it – believe that I’ve done it out of necessity! We jump-started our record with a small fundraiser but right now, even though costs are high because of the release expenses, I have been working all summer to fund the rest out of my pocket. Some people might be confused about that but to me it’s simpler to fund it myself, in a way. Because fundraising is a JOB! And it’s not a job that I particularly enjoy.
That said: I don’t think our last album, Midnight Veil, would have been the same without the Kickstarter community that was built around making a 12 song video-album! That project really took a village and having that village form at the get-go really helped us in production and it aided promotion immensely!
MV: I saw that there are plans to hit the UK in support of ‘Doom-Wop,’ but are there Stateside plans?
We can’t wait to go to the UK! Touring is not something that comes easily so beyond that mini-tour, I have no idea and nothing planned! It’ll probably just be random weekend shows in different cities. If there are any tour booking folks out there looking for a scrappy band of 30-something professionals who would LOVE to tour…please call me. We need help.
Doom-Wop is available as a digital pre-order on Bandcamp, with vinyl following later. - Modern Vinyl


Seattle’s Leeni Ramadan (aka the glitter-gloom pop singer, Prom Queen) has established herself as a singular-voiced, bouffant-boasting player in the Emerald City music scene. If the ultimate goal of any creative person is to establish an immediately recognizable style, Ramadan has done that already. With a pink guitar in hand, she stands front and center on stage proclaiming ideals of bubble gum love and staring-in-the-eye-of-the-demon prescience. And if you need an example of this, look no further than the first single off her upcoming LP. The song, “End Of The World,” is the first track off the soon-to-be released album, Doom-Wop, a foreboding record dressed up in varsity jackets and poodle skirts. KEXP presents the exclusive premiere below.
“It’s the end,” the song begins, Ramadan’s flute-like voice floating high, “of the world.” The singer, as if sitting on a rooftop like a perched bird, is “all alone” as her surroundings seem to crumble everywhere else. Guitar strings are plucked and the bass booms beneath while cymbals crash. The song, Ramadan says, is about an apocalypse – specifically, the one we’re all dreading and yet considering a real possibility in today’s politically and socially turbulent times.
“It’s an anthem expressing our need for comfort, community, and companionship,” Ramadan explains, “in times where we feel the smallest and the most helpless to the destruction surrounding us.” The track, written as a response to a Skeeter Davis song by the same name, is also something of a wake-up call to potential Prom Queen’s fans who might think to enter into her world would be all slow dances and sock hops. Nevertheless, despite all the doom, the work is absolutely lovely.
Prom Queen will celebrate the album release of Doom-Wop on Saturday, September 23rd at the Piranha Shop in Seattle. - KEXP Blog


The sumptuous, retro swank of Vito’s feels made for Prom Queen. From a dark corner of the First Hill cocktail bar, the petite songstress looks equal parts I Dream of Jeannie and Nefertiti, with a dash of Brigitte Bardot. Her smoldering eyes, rimmed with kohl, and pouty lips curled into a mischief-making smile, command the room.

In May, the 34-year-old musician also known as Celene Ramadan—Leeni to her friends—wrapped production on Midnight Veil, an hour-long concept album of what she describes as “dreamy vintage pop.” The 12 songs are packaged with 12 music videos that will be available to stream, download or purchase on DVD on Oct. 11. (Let it be known that Ramadan conceived of her video album before Beyoncé released hers late last year.)

Midnight Veil is a tour de force of high camp and unrepentant glitz, from Middle Eastern kitsch and fire dancing to drag queens, Betty Draper-esque housewives and animated cartoons right out of Hanna-Barbera. She was inspired, she says, by Barbarella, the Monkees’ movie Head—and I Dream of Jeannie, of course: “I wanted to capture a fun, ’60s exotica psychedelic vibe.” She was also determined to create something that defied typical music consumption.

“As a musician, sometimes it’s tough to get anything but a passive listen,” she says. “A spin on Spotify while someone’s working on their laptop isn’t exactly ideal. I love the ritual around film: People go inside a darkened room, turn off their cellphones and watch something that transports them for a couple of hours. I wanted to make something more immersive than audio-only tends to be.”

There’s no real storyline in Midnight Veil. Instead, the thread is a slender-necked, jewel-encrusted magic lamp that weaves its way through each video. The lamp appears in a gothic castle surrounded by potions in crystal ampoules, then in the arms of a sticky-fingered pole dancer, then with a mermaid under the sea. It turns up in dim nightclubs, with greasers in muscle cars. It turns up at a ’50s soda shop where Ramadan—flanked by drag queens in pearls intoning melancholy she-bops over root beer floats—sings: You tell me I’m living a lie / My head is in the sky / And you never felt the same so this is goodbye / And still I don’t know why I can’t seem to cry. Then the scene cuts away to three slick-haired boys trapped in a black-and-white TV, looking dour, playing castanets. It’s marvelously absurd, just a hair shy of saccharine.

“My favorite moments in film usually have something to do with a song,” Ramadan says. “The moment in Life Aquatic when Steve Zissou discovers he has a son and does the slow-motion walk onto the bow of the ship is all the more unforgettable and complete because the chorus of ‘Life on Mars?’ kicks in. What would David Lynch be without music? Or Tarantino? Sofia Coppola?”

Ramadan’s father—a singer and drummer from Cairo who instilled in her an obsession with the Beatles—taught her to drum, sing and play guitar as a kid. In high school, Ramadan taught herself keys, rehearsing after school in the band room hunched over a piano, playing Tori Amos ballads until they kicked her out.

If you ask Ramadan, high-school Leeni was more of a shy, goofball funny girl than a sexpot chanteuse. She never was a prom queen. She didn’t even go to prom.

“I was the weirdo,” she says. “I chose the name Prom Queen partially as a joke but then partially because it sounds like the music I wanted to make.”

Ramadan’s crystalline voice is in one swipe sugary and sultry, her lyrics the lovelorn stuff of classic ’60s girl-group hits. Where Lana Del Rey zigs ultra dark and broody, Prom Queen zags, keeping head and heart above water with a helping of ham, or stone-cold nonchalance. The Prom Queen sound is a mash-up of timeless pop tropes: a little Johnny Cash twang along with some rockabilly dips, lush surf rock riffs and tongue-in-cheek orchestral bombast.

Flexing her musical muscle in offbeat ways—and making a living doing it—is par for the course for Ramadan. For the past nine years, she’s worked part-time as a singing telegram girl, impersonating celebrities: Cher, Britney, Celine Dion, Björk, Katy Perry, Marilyn Monroe. When she isn’t popping out of birthday cakes or serenading in chicken suits, she composes music for smartphone apps and video game developers.

Ramadan started Prom Queen as a solo project in 2012, with her own vocals, electric guitar and backing tracks on a Boss pedal. After a year performing solo at intimate venues and parties around the West Coast, she enlisted Jason Goessl and Ben von Wildenhaus to play guitar and Tom Meyers on drums. Over the past year, the Prom Queen foursome has played the Royal Room, the Showbox and is a semi-regular act at Vito’s.

Ramadan returned to Vito’s and other Seattle locales to shoot the majority of the scenes in Midnight Veil. The Museum of Flight appears as a retro-futuristic backdrop, as does Seattle Center (the Space Needle blasts off, of course), Dick’s Drive-In, Gas Works Park and the confectionary-colored retro boutique Pretty Parlor.

The project’s supporting cast includes many of Ramadan’s closest friends and collaborators, who comprise a glitterati of Seattle’s drag and burlesque scene: Waxie Moon, Inga Ingenue, Randi Rascal, the Luminous Pariah, Paris Original, Lily Verlaine, Tory Tiara and Jamie Von Stratton all sing, dance or make cameos throughout. Like when a bouffanted and raygun-toting Kitten N’ Lou beat the dickens out of a glitter-crusted space cadet in order to get their mitts on the magical lamp. They dash—a full-on cartoon dash in platform heels—past a silvery EMP Museum.

So what is in that bottle?

“The lamp can mean whatever you want,” Ramadan says.

In the song “He Loves Me Not,” the stopper comes off and we dive in, headlong. The lamp’s interior looks like a frou-frou dressing room-cum-hair parlor. There’s Ramadan inside, strumming a glittery, cotton candy-colored electric guitar. She and an entourage of belly-dancing genies dressed in billows of powder-pink chiffon wrestle a mannequin dummy, trying to put together the perfect man. The flesh-and-blood specimen they conjure is nothing less than inspired (played by Jonny Boy of the Can Can Castaways).

But in the final moments of the song, the mischievous djinn have their way with him and he emerges from a makeover swimming in long lashes, rose-colored curls and an ill-fitting dress covered in gems. No matter if the boys come or go, these girls have fun.

- See more at: http://cityartsonline.com/articles/i-dream-leeni#sthash.uWUA6LH5.dpuf - City Arts Magazine


Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Black Magic” by Seattle’s Prom Queen from the 2014 album Midnight Veil on Tsurumi Records.

Prom Queen – Black Magic (MP3)
Celene Ramadan, songwriter and frontwoman of the dynamic Seattle four piece Prom Queen, is all about theatrics, but don’t let that fool you. Prom Queen’s music has all the substance and more to back up their lavish, retro style. Their song, “Black Magic”, crosses genre borders with a languid ease befit of its grandiose but laid back style. At one moment a gothic organ kicks things off with all the moodiness of a silent German expressionist film, and at the next, spaghetti western styled guitars fly listeners to a whole new scene set for gunslingers and lost loves. Add the soft strings and horns of a smoky, swanky lounge around 1:20, and an extraterrestrial synth around 2:12, and you’ve finished the song with a thoroughly exhaustive yet thrilling cinematic experience. Luckily, Ramadan’s steady vocals steer the song calmly through its many transitions, grounded enough to act as its anchor, but mysterious enough to keep the listener coming back for more.

Prom Queen are currently raising money for a West Coast tour, which you can support over at Go Fund Me, or by attending their fundraising show at Cafe Racer on August 15th. Otherwise, stay tuned for updates from the band’s Facebook page and website. If you want more from 2014’s Midnight Veil, check out the album’s full length video below: - KEXP


For Leeni Ramadan, videomaking isn’t just about promoting her music. Rather, it’s a part of the total package, yet another outlet for a brain teeming with ideas. As Prom Queen, the Seattle singer-songwriter creates lush ballads that cast a bygone era in a tantalizing darkness, transporting the listener to a lounge in the 1960s where the music is seductive and the clientele is not to be trusted. The music videos that Ramadan creates for her musical act complete that journey.

Last year, the New Hampshire native released Midnight Veil, a full-length album and DVD in which every song is given a video, the entire collection telling a story filled with larceny and lust and populated by frustrated housewives, cat burglars and lots of burlesque dancers. It is for that collection that she was selected as one of three Featured Directors for the 3rd Annual Sync Music Video Festival, which is produced by Seattle Weekly in partnership with Artist Home and SIFF.

In advance of the Saturday screening of select videos from that series, we delve a little deeper into Ramadan’s role as a videomaker.

Are you able to support yourself with your filmmaking? If not, what’s your “day job”? I don’t really have a single “day job” per se. I have 12 different tax forms this year because my living is very piecemeal. I am a video editor, I edit corporate videos, mostly Microsoft stuff. I also shoot video as well as composing music for videos. I make music beds for animation, web videos, iPhone apps, commercials, etc. In addition to those, I also perform singing telegrams, I’ve been doing that for about 10 years now with Live Wires, a local company. Everything else I make is performance or merch-sales related, music licensing, and I’ve recently started getting commissions making velvet paintings! It’s all over the place but it has to be scrappy. If have a slow month with corporate work, I can pick up more shows or paint more paintings or just cross my fingers a lot and hope something from one avenue or another comes my way.

What is the first music video that you remember ever seeing? For some reason, I feel like the answer to that is Madonna's “Dress You Up” which kind of a boring video because it’s just a concert performance-style video. But I have early memories of being terrified to watch “Thriller” but also being completely intrigued by “Thriller” and being blown away by it. In addition, one of my favorite shows growing up was The Monkees and they had a lot of videos in their show. So probably any of those!

How did you come to make your first video? The first music video I ever made was just filming a car wash from inside my car and then slowing it down to a song I wrote. I like it because it’s simple and it’s a place where I love to hear music (the car wash). It’s a very pure video, in that it’s kind of meditative and DIY/no-frills. I don’t think videos need to be too complicated or clever. I just love the simplicity of a moving image to a good song.



What is your average budget for a video? Where does that money come from? Honestly…average budget is zero. Maybe some pizza for people? Sometimes not even that, cause pizza is expensive and it has all that gluten and stuff in it… But really, I never have any money to pay people so I’ve mostly had to work with people who are passionate and who are friends! I am very fortunate to have some extremely talented friends who believe in what I do! Kickstarter helped me be able to pay some people to help with our Midnight Veil videos, but it wasn’t everyone and it wasn’t enough!

Midnight Veil is a tremendous work with so many moving parts. What was the greatest challenge in making this collection of videos? How did you overcome it? The greatest challenge was scheduling and coordinating all the moving parts. With a regular movie, you will probably have some reoccurring characters and locations. We didn’t have that. Every 4 minutes in this film, you are transported to somewhere completely different with completely different people. Not to mention, music videos are fairly dense, there’s typically a lot of cuts and a lot of shooting to make a video dynamic. So we had our work cut out for us! Thankfully, people cooperated so well and with web apps like Basecamp and Doodle, making schedules and staying organized wasn’t as challenging as it could have been!

Do you currently have any projects in the works? At the moment, my biggest project is to try to get the word out about the album we have just released (Midnight Veil) and play as many shows as we can. We are hoping to be able to do some touring this summer and then I plan on starting to write a new album as soon as I have the time!

What is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone approaching their first music video project? I would say to first dream your biggest dream of what your ideal video would be! I started by making Pinterest boards for each of my videos, so the ideas can take shape from there. Write a synopsis or treatment then look around and see what things you have access to that might help you with your idea. And don’t be afraid to ask people you don’t even know for help! Even if it’s using their location or a prop or having them be the star! It’s a great way to meet people and to expand your creative community!

And, finally, what are your three favorite music videos of all time? This is really hard! But here’s what I think

The Innovative
Bat for Lashes, “What’s a Girl to Do”



Bat For Lashes - What's A Girl To Do from Blink on Vimeo.

The Classic/Nostalgic
A-Ha, “Take On Me”



The Beautiful
Bjork, “All is Full Of Love” - Seattle Weekly


"Opening the show was local band Prom Queen, which usually consists of singer/songwriter Celene Ramadan backed by guitar, bass, and drums, but on this night Prom Queen had the stage to herself. With her Priscilla Presley-esque circa 1968 quaff, poofy 1955 prom dress, and rhinestone-studded acoustic guitar, Prom Queen shone like a diamond on the black stage. Ramadan explained that the reason she was opening for Echo was because the band had heard her version of their song “Nocturnal Me” (from the 1984 Ocean Rain LP) and liked it so much that they invited her to open. She exuded confidence, and her well-written, clever songs were well-received by the crowd. Prom Queen’s last record, the self-released Night Sound, is available here." - Seattle Music Insider


Prom Queen

Gateway Band: Lana Del Rey
Also known as Leeni, this prolific Seattle singer first came on the scene with chiptune compositions (using Nintendo Gameboy sounds) and has since honed a 1960s Parisian noir aesthetic. But she never forgets her sense of humor, especially in the videos for her most recent creation, Midnight Veil (12 songs about topics ranging from genie bottles to gender equality), in which she poses variously as a sweetly murderous girlfriend and in male drag. Often sporting a big black bouffant and wielding a pink guitar, Prom Queen looks as though she stepped straight out of a David Lynch movie. promqueenband.bandcamp.com - Seattle Magazine


Certain terms get used ad nauseam in writing about pop music to describe things that "folky" and "dancy" and "fuzzy" just can't cover. I know, I know, what other kind of music is there? Well, one word that gets used frequently by frazzled writers with a deadline is "cinematic." It's just nebulous enough to apply to all sorts of music, but just specific enough to really only be talking about movies, which makes it a perfect copout.

It's with that preamble that I announce this sentence: Prom Queen is cinematic. The soundtracks and scores of movies are valuable, and can be great, but when we use the word "cinematic" to describe a band, what we're really talking about is the idea of a soundtrack - the music accompanying an impossible film, one that features a dizzying array of romantic overtures, bitter double-crosses, scenic panoramas, carefree comedic set pieces, scenes of deep horror, and the tacit acknowledgement of those grainy shadows and pieces of hair that cling to the projected film.

Prom Queen is that kind of cinematic.

Formed by Leeni (AKA Celene Ramadan) as a solo project, Prom Queen has grown into a quartet, featuring Tom Meyers, Jason Goessl, Ben Von Wildenhaus. Still, the heart of Prom Queen lies in the '60s history of the elegant, smoky chanteuse, as played in this instance by Leeni.

"I was in a band called Romeo and Juliet," says Leeni. "It was a long distance collaboration between me and a guy from Pittsburgh. We were making '60s psychedelic rock, so I got a taste for producing that style. But, because it was long distance, we didn't have any performance opportunities. It was really just a collaboration to make an album. So (Prom Queen) was my way of taking a bunch of songs that I'd written, that were maybe for Romeo and Juliet, and re-tweaking them so they'd be for a solo project."

When Leeni would perform these songs solo, she'd do so with a backing track, full of sweeping orchestration and dramatic instrumentation befitting the likes of Nancy Sinatra or Francoise Hardy. Once the rest of the Prom Queen crew joined up, the live sound was fuller, but Leeni still needed that certain element that would recall grandiose, romantic size of the '60s chanteuse.

"I composed the backing track music myself," says Leeni. "I used a mellotron emulator, so it has sort of a scratchy, vintage sound, and I didn't want to lose that in the live show. So, we keep it, so we have the strings and the timpani and the choirs and some of the drum loops behind us, and we play on top of it."

Even as Prom Queen dabbles in the torch songs, surf rock, and dark pop of the '60s, they're still smart to occasionally throw a few cover songs in every now and again. Leeni cannily chooses these songs to fit in with their vibe, even aside from the decade. Songs like Radiohead's "No Surprises," INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart," and Madonna's "Justify My Love" are all big and melancholy in their own ways, which lend themselves quite well to Prom Queen's sultry facade.

Prom Queen sites David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino as influences, which should come as no surprise. Both directors make films about films, which live in a heightened reality. Prom Queen makes music about music. Who knows what would've happened if you were to actually see Nancy Sinatra perform at her peak of mysterious cool, but Prom Queen is what you might picture if you studied Nancy's album covers for too long with "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" slinking in the background. - The Weekly Volcano


WHO Celene Ramadan, the 33-year-old vintage-pop teen-dream siren and comedienne better known as Prom Queen. (She actually never went to prom). Raised bi-coastal, Ramadan has called Seattle home for 10 years.

FUNNY GIRL Ramadan’s Egyptian father sang and played drums in a rock band in Alexandria. Thanks to him, she grew up obsessed with the Beatles and learned to play drums, oboe, guitar and piano at a young age. A natural thespian and comic on stage, Ramadan was so shy that she refused to sing in front of people and shut herself in the basement to practice and play. After some serious soul-searching in college, she realized she couldn’t live without performing. She canvased the school with gig posters and forced herself to get in front of a crowd.

A HUNDRED HATS Sultry chanteuse isn’t Ramadan’s only colorful day job. She’s made a living delivering singing telegrams; impersonating celebrities like Cher, Britney, Celine Dion, Katy Perry and Marilyn Monroe; and popping out of birthday cakes. She also produces videos and makes custom music for iPhone apps, ringtones, video games and commercials. In her other music project, Leeni, she makes chiptune music with a Nintendo Gameboy.

IT-LIST A self-described Priscilla Presley prom-punk palm reader, Ramadan cites style idols that are as blown-out and out-of-this-world as the queen herself: Debbie Harry, Brigitte Bardot, Françoise Hardy, David Lynch, David Bowie, Trish Keenan (RIP), Björk and Beyoncé.

NEXT UP Ramadan recently successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign to realize her next Prom Queen project: an album released on DVD made entirely of music videos. She raised $12K for the album-film hybrid, called Midnight Veil, and is currently shooting and editing around Seattle and beyond.

- See more at: http://www.cityartsonline.com/articles/pop-royalty#sthash.vw4kpsbt.dpuf - City Arts Magazine


The name Prom Queen (the musical incarnation of Celene Ramadan) has been on our lips a lot in recent months, and at long last her full-length video-album Midnight Veil is here! And it was worth waiting for.

"Midnight Veil is a tour de force of high camp and unrepentant glitz, from Middle Eastern kitsch and fire dancing to drag queens, Betty Draper-esque housewives and animated cartoons right out of Hanna-Barbera," Amanda Manitach wrote in City Arts' September issue. The "dreamy vintage pop" album, 12 songs coupled with 12 videos, taps into a deliciously space age vein, full of mid-century glamour and polished to a high-production value finish. All in all, it clocks in at 59 glorious minutes including—believe it—a blooper reel.

Not only is Midnight Veil an artistic effort of the most delightful order, it's full of beloved Seattle places and faces—like First Hill haunt Vito's and Anna Banana's Pretty Parlor, along with Waxie Moon, Fuschia Foxx, Inga Ingenue and City Arts' cover models Lily Verlaine and Kitten and Lou. Watch Midnight Veil below, and if when you want a copy of your very own, buy a DVD/CD here, and click here to download the album audio on iTunes.

- See more at: http://www.cityartsonline.com/articles/watch-prom-queens-delectable-new-video-album#sthash.nj77Oozp.dpuf - City Arts Magazine


Smoldering like a summer fling, the 60′s inspired, vintage rock ‘n’ roll of Prom Queen is like the soundtrack to a good Tarantino flick. It’s music for muscle cars, leather jackets, fast chicks, and desert sunsets. Attacking the style with utter perfection, the cinematic narratives...invoke the spirit of Nancy Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Françoise Hardy, and Dolly Parton. Completely committed, Celene’s voice emotes with powerful conviction, transporting listeners back to an era of exploitation films and pulp magazines.

With elements of surf rock and psychedelia fusing with the warm fuzz of a worn guitar, Prom Queen seems to come from a completely different planet than the frenetic 8-Bit music Celene makes as Leeni. “8-bit (or chiptune) sounds are only a small sliver of the sounds that inspire me,” she says, “I’m inspired by all kinds of styles and I wanted to start making some of them. I don’t consider myself to be a one genre person. As a listener and appreciator of music, I listen to a vast variety. My moods change with the seasons and it’s nice to have new sonic colours to listen to. It’s been interesting, the similarities and differences between my two projects. It makes me feel like two different people, but I like that. I like having different soundscapes to play with and to be able to write a lyric and say ‘oh, that’s a Leeni lyric,’ or ‘this is definitely a Prom Queen song,’ and have a way to sort through my ideas, essentially. Not that those two are the only two styles I plan on doing. I love all kinds of music and I plan on making more varieties as long as I live.”

Celene taught herself how to produce and record vintage rock music when she joined forces with Jon-Michael Kerestes to form Romeo + Juliet, which was a project the two developed entirely via email. However, playing around with lots of different instruments and styles isn’t new to Celene. Largely self-taught, the multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire can expertly play the piano, the guitar, the oboe, and the Game Boy, as well as create professional sounding beats using Garage Band, of all things. The icing on the cake is her beautiful voice, traipsing between styles ranging from jazz and classical to pop and rock.

Part of the Prom Queen package is the image Celene projects when she performs. With big flowing hair, tendrils of dark curls dance around the delicate neckline of a vintage prom dress. A bright pink guitar crosses her waistline. The visual aesthetic serves to reinforce the sounds coming from the stage, but this is not a character performance, nor is it a novelty act. “It is a stylistically decisive act,” Celene explains, “but not novelty, as it is sincere. I am a person who is very decisive and likes to go all the way with something and still try to find ways to make it my own. Ultimately, I never sat down and sketched out what this would be, I just wrote what I felt like writing and produced it the way I wanted it to sound. I aim to write the music that I myself search for in hopes it exists, but it doesn’t. Yet.”

To behold this breathtaking audio/visual experience, join Prom Queen at Vito’s on May 11th at 9PM (for free!). She will be accompanied live by Ben Von Wildenhaus on guitar and Tom Meyers on drums, however the strings, vibes, timpanis, percussion, organs, etc. found on the recordings will be delivered via backing track, ensuring that the sound quality Celene has worked so hard to achieve is vibrantly maintained. “They have a scratchy, old quality to them that would be difficult to re-create live,” she says. The May 11th show will be the last chance to see Prom Queen play live until August, as Celene is heading back into the studio to work on a new record. Until then, keep reading on to see what Celene had to say when Seattle Peach had a few little fashion questions for her for Brand New Talk.

How would you describe your day to day style?

Pretty practical, unfortunately. Head to toe Lululemon on most days. I am pretty active and my transportation is either running, taking the bus or riding on the back of my boyfriend’s motorcycle: all of those things are enemies to fancier attire. But, it really makes the times when I can dress up feel really special.

Is there a difference between what you wear everyday and what you wear on stage? What is the difference?

Big difference! On stage, I wear a prom dress, heels, big hair, lashes. It’s all sparkle and glamour. At home/during the day, I am pretty understated and casual.

What is your process for styling for performances?

I have a rotating collection of vintage prom dresses that I wear. I’m usually more in the mood to wear one versus another of them. Then I style everything else to match the dress. It’s pretty simple, and it doesn’t take me much time at all. I’ve gotten my hair routine down to under 5 minutes!

How has your style evolved since the band first began?

It’s evolved most in the hair department. I’ve always worn prom dresses for the shows but I didn’t really grasp the brilliance of a well styled wig until much later. I saw the light. In the beginning, with Prom Queen, I really wanted there to be some androgyny to the outfit. I wanted to get someone to design me this hybrid outfit that was a prom dress with a tux jacket and cummerbund and kind of wear a men’s and woman’s prom outfit at the same time, cause I think it suits me. I’m not much of a girly girl, and my music also reflects a masculinity at times. I haven’t abandoned the idea of that outfit, actually I should probably get on getting that made soon.

Who’s style inspires you, who are some of your fashion icons?

My fashion icons are actually the same as my music icons: Debbie Harry, Francoise Hardy, Brigitte Bardot, Nancy Sinatra, Amy Winehouse, Marina and the Diamonds, … and Beyonce.



What are some of your favorite pieces from your own wardrobe?

I love all of my prom dresses, but in particular I have a long sleeve mint green dress that I think is just beautiful. The whole top of the dress is sequined and sparkly and then the skirt part is flowy and airy.

If you could go on a shopping spree anywhere on the planet, a.) Where would you go? b.) What stores would you go to? c.) Who would you bring with you? d.) What is at least one item you definitely be shopping for?

1968 Paris with Mick Jagger. For scarves - Seattle Peach


"Opening the show was our very own local and luscious Prom Queen. A 60s-inspired solo project by Leeni, Prom Queen did not sport a band this evening; she did, however, sport an old prom dress and her signature telephone microphone. An echoing voice from the past, Prom Queen composes all of this wonderful sound from scratch, and the end results feel uniquely vintage. If you’re in the market for a Tarantino-inspired throwback evening (who isn’t?), look them up and catch them downtown." - Seattle Music News


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Prom Queen Kickstarts her Own Pulp Movie
by Tony Kay on September 13, 2013


I’ve been a total sap for Seattle chanteuse Prom Queen since seeing her open up a night of Seattle soul bands two years ago. Her combination of girl-group pop and silky film noir shading has always seemed tailor-made for the evocative soundtrack to some cool movie that never existed, so it’s a welcome non-surprise that she’s making her own cinematic accompaniment.

Prom Queen: Midnight Veil, her forthcoming project, sees the formally-attired siren putting together what she calls ‘a full-length album-film.’ She plans to shoot videos for the twelve songs, interweaving the content into an interconnected series of short films. And with a gallery of tracks that dip into the lush retro-Technicolor sounds of Exotica and psychedelic pop, there should be plenty of fodder for imaginative visual interpretation.

To bankroll the release, she’s put together a Kickstarter fund. It’s just under halfway financed with about two weeks to go, and in addition to the usual incentives (digital download of the Midnight Veil soundtrack, a copy of the DVD of the finished film, etc.), you can net autographed Midnight Veil incense, eyeshadow palates, or a singing telegram depending on the depth of your pockets. Now that’s marketing.

- The SunBreak


Prom Queen ist keine neue Fake Dragtruppe und auch keine neue dusslige Fernsehshow mit zwei tödlich langweiligen Moderatoren. Prom Queen ist der Name einer Künstlerin deren Einflüsse so wunderbar sind wie die Musik. Um nur einige zu nennen: Henry Mancini, Roy Orbison, Nancy Sinatra, Amy Winehouse, The Everly Brothers, David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino & Alfred Hitchcock – die letzten drei sind unverkennbar. Denn schon die Stimme verzaubert wie einst Mazzy Star oder Julee Cruise – und eins kann ich sagen.. ich hatte zu beiden großartige Dimensionsüberschreitungen . Und dazu kommt noch das die Sängerin einfach einen grandiosen Geschmack hat wenn es darum geht ihre Musik in Bildern zumzusetzen. Schon beim ersten Video war mir klar… das ist ein Geheimtipp. Nun kann man neue Musikprojekte auf CDs brennen.. aber das macht jeder. Man kann sie zu MP3s verstümmeln, das ist mörderisch…. man kann sie auch auf Vinyl pressen… aber ganz ehrlich – Bilder sind darauf ziemlich unbewegt. Was bleibt… ganz klar… ein FILM. Genau ihr habt richtig gehört. Prom Queen möchte 12 musikalische Meisterwerke in einen ganzen Film packen und braucht dafür Hilfe.. denn leider hat noch keine große Plattenfirma diese grandiose Sängerin gefunden… unverständlich bei dem Käse den manche produzieren.

Schaut Euch Prom Queen an und entscheidet selber… die Crowdfunding Seite findet ihr auf Kickstarter aber leider ist nicht mehr viel Zeit – doch das Ziel ist nah. Darsteller der musikalischen Abenteuerreise sind unter anderem Ade, The Luminous Pariah und Paris Original als zauberhafte Drag Performer… i like !!

GOOGLE TRANSLATION:
Prom Queen is not a new fake drag force and no new dusslige TV show with two deadly boring presenters . Prom Queen is the name of an artist whose influences are as wonderful as the music. To name a few : Henry Mancini, Roy Orbison, Nancy Sinatra , Amy Winehouse, The Everly Brothers , David Lynch , Quentin Tarantino and Alfred Hitchcock - the last three are unmistakable. Because even the voice enchants as once Mazzy Star or Julee Cruise - and one thing I can say .. I had great dimension to two overruns. And add to that that the singer just has a terrific taste when it comes to their music zumzusetzen in pictures. From the first video was clear to me ... that's a secret. Now you can burn CDs of new music projects .. but everyone does . They can maim to MP3s , which is murderous .... they can also be pressed on vinyl ... but honestly - it pictures are pretty unmoved . What remains ... clearly ... a MOVIE . Just you heard right . Prom Queen wants to grab 12 musical masterpieces in a whole movie , and it needs help .. because, unfortunately, has no major record company found this terrific singer ... incomprehensible to the cheese to produce some .

Look at Prom Queen and decide for themselves ... the crowdfunding page can be found on Kickstarter but unfortunately there is not much time - but the goal is near. Cast of musical adventure travel include Ade , The Luminous Pariah Paris Original and enchanting as drag performer ... i like ! - Queer'lesque Magazine


A live broadcasted interview and performance with Prom Queen on The Andrew Walsh Show on KIRO radio - KIRO Radio FM


Side A: Prom Queen drops by to chat Chiptune, singing telegrams, Guns N' Roses, writing songs plus Prom Queen plays some tunes live in-studio. Side B: Music from Prom Queen: This Town Ain't Big Enough, Black and Blue
- THE MIXTAPE


The situation On a recent cold winter's night, I'm at Vito's on First Hill with Celene "Leeni" Ramadan, a solo artist who released three chiptune records of 8-bit electronic music before transforming herself into a '50s-style pop singer called Prom Queen just this past June.

How She Got Here Ramadan grew up in suburban New Hampshire before moving to Seattle in 2004. She holds down three part-time jobs, using her background in improv comedy for one of them--performing celebrity impersonations at parties. Ramadan says her best impersonations include Nico, Britney Spears, and Björk, and that December's a busy month for the business--last weekend she sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" as Marilyn Monroe at a man's 80th birthday party. "They actually told me 'Don't make it too racy,' " she says.

Shop Talk Earlier this month, Ramadan posted a series of cover songs on her Bandcamp page, including Madonna's "Justify My Love" and Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." The songs are moody, lush, and dramatic, recalling the dark romance of David Lynch's films, but they're just a prelude to the album of original material that Ramadan intends to release early next year. Prom Queen songs deal with love and heartbreak, channeling an old-school girl-group aesthetic, "like finding someone's dusty old diary from the '50s," she says. "I just really adore that whole time in music. With music these days, you're either a badass or you're super-sexy . . . It's nice to go back to a time when women were classy!"

There's a Prom Queen visual aesthetic, too--a video of Ramadan performing Guns N' Roses' "November Rain" at the Columbia City Theater* is currently circulating online. It's an accurate representation of what to expect at her shows--Ramadan alone onstage with her hot-pink electric guitar plugged into an antique suitcase amp, wearing a puffy vintage prom dress. The dresses are thrift-store finds--she never actually went to her high-school prom.

BTW: Ramadan can pinpoint the moment when art, costume, and music collided in her mind. She was in high school and heard David Bowie's kaleidoscopically theatrical "Life on Mars?" for the very first time. "That stage persona really stuck with me," she remembers. "Living in New Hampshire, you just didn't see anything that remotely resembled that. And I wanted that, so badly. I wanted to be around people who did stuff like that, who were more colorful and wild. It's really what propelled me to where I am." - Seattle Weekly


Prom Queen: Seattle musician/comedienne Leeni doesn’t sit still for very long, having dabbled in everything from video-game-fueled dance ditties to some wonderfully winsome pop with her duo, Romeo and Juliet. She’s struck a truly sublime vein, though, as Prom Queen. Accompanying herself on guitar with occasional self-recorded symphonette backdrops, she croons haunting originals and masterfully-retooled covers (Madonna’s “Justify My Love”, Guns ‘N Roses’ “November Rain”) that create their own dusky pocket universe. It’s a sound that straddles the perfect balance between arch theatricality and all of the deeper emotions that swirl beneath such artifice, and it’s captivating enough to connect with anyone who’s ever sat in a lonely bar contemplating the darkness. Cult stardom’s only one evocative soundtrack appearance away. - The Sun Break


Lana Del Rey is being touted (or at the very least talked about) all over the world for her “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” approach to singing and styling.

Seattle has its own answer to those who crave songs reminiscent of the 60's sex symbol, and thankfully she’s less LA lip injections and more leopard-print guitar strap, stilettos and pink electric guitar. She is Prom Queen and last Thursday, as part of the the 4th Best of the New, she thoroughly enchanted the audience with her retro sass, technicolor orchestration and this show-stopping, set-ending cover of Guns ‘n’ Roses “November Rain.”

November 8, 2011
Prom Queen covers “November Rain” & Our Month Has a Theme Song

by Abbey Simmons
Tags
Columbia City Theater Sound on the Sound Presents
3 Comments



Prom Queen ::: photo by Abbey Simmons





Lana Del Rey is being touted (or at the very least talked about) all over the world for her “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” approach to singing and styling.

Seattle has its own answer to those who crave songs reminiscent of the 60's sex symbol, and thankfully she’s less LA lip injections and more leopard-print guitar strap, stilettos and pink electric guitar. She is Prom Queen and last Thursday, as part of the the 4th Best of the New, she thoroughly enchanted the audience with her retro sass, technicolor orchestration and this show-stopping, set-ending cover of Guns ‘n’ Roses “November Rain.”









You can pretty much bet we’ll be listening to and watching the video on repeat all November. If you missed Prom Queen last Thursday, we were so impressed by her sultry songs we’ve asked her to open our December 2nd Sound on the Sound Presents show with Shaprece and Lucas Field. More info and a link to buy tickets coming for that very soon. - Sound on the Sound


By now you may've heard of Celene Ramadan--one of my old drink dates, who goes by the stage name Prom Queen--and her luscious collection of covers of songs by Bowie, the Pixies, Madonna, and more, my favorite of which is her gorgeous version of "November Rain."

Cover songs were just the beginning for Prom Queen, though--she just released a full-length album of originals seductively entitled Night Sound. Prom Queen's '50s-pop sound utilizes sultry vocals and dreamy, slumping instrumentals to a create a sound at once unique and vintage. Night Sound is a sweltering set of songs that wouldn't sound out of place soundtracking a Tarantino or Lynch film. (The Western-tinged "This Town Ain't Big Enough" would fit perfectly into Kill Bill, for example).

You can stream Night Sound in its entirety right now on Prom Queen's Bandcamp page, where you can also purchase the album for just $8. - Seattle Weekly


Celene Ramadan has been a fixture in the music, theater and improv scenes in Seattle for several years, to the point where I feel like we know each other, though I don’t think we’ve ever actually met. She’s been (or still is) half of Romeo + Juliet, Colbert Girl, a filmmaker, composer, actor, performance artist and a celebrity impersonator, but is likely best known as Leeni, also the name of her electro pop project. I’m sure I’ve left out a few other nouns.

Having said that, I do think her new project, Prom Queen, is my favorite musical project she’s taken on. It’s a nostalgic, “Mad Men” era-inspired pop persona where she brings ingénues to mind like Nico and Nancy Sinatra. Her first proper release of original music under the Prom Queen moniker is set for release on Tuesday (the same night as her CD release show at the Can Can). It’s called Night Sound and is quite good.

The songs on Night Sound are often slowly drawn-out ballads that are built around her breathy harmonies. Sixties-era nostalgists aren’t exactly impossible to find, but it’s Ramadan’s background as an actress that helps sell the character to an audience that might otherwise look upon the music skeptically, demanding a certain threshold for authenticity.

Stylistically, the obvious comparison may be to Lana Del Rey (it’s been made before by others), and it might not be completely unfair because both might cite the same inspirations and influences. Plus, Leeni made an 8-bit cover of “Video Games” once. Yet, there’s a romantic sense that comes through with Prom Queen that the former Lizzie Grant lacks. The music of Prom Queen is sexy with its lush vocals and moody instrumentation that somehow convincingly straddles the line between being thematically dark but still hopeful and romantic, particularly on songs like “I Won’t Give Up on You” and “Love Me Dearly.”

“Kill the Night” is a go-go pop number that could score the same type of campy comedy/thriller that Austin Powers liked to poke fun at. A few songs later, Leeni successfully pulls off a country song called “This Town Ain’t Big Enough” that Loretta Lynn’s fans should appreciate. “Don’t even try with my friend Sue; you never knew, but she always hated you” is one of the most memorable and clever lyrics on Night Sound.

While she sounds strong and threatening to a former love in “This Town,” the next song, “Love Me Dearly” lays out her vulnerability by singing about a (possibly) unrequited love. It’s a sweet little song that could be on mixtapes everywhere if enough people hear it. When she sings delicately in the chorus, “Love me dearly, love me true, love me and I’ll love you, too,” it sounds like an agreement that’s difficult to refuse. - Another Rainy Saturday


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12TH, 2014
POETRY FICTION ESSAYS EDITORIALS VISUAL ARTS MUSIC ABOUT SUBMIT ARCHIVE
MUSIC JAKE UITTI — September 10, 2013 11:23 — 0 Comments

An Interview with Celene Ramadan
Celene Ramadan, aka Leeni, aka Prom Queen is a Seattle musician, artist and performer. She’s worked a ton of jobs, including as a singing telegram deliverer. She has also composed music, called chiptunes, with a Ninetendo Gameboy. Her most recent project is a compilation of songs and videos. The Monarch Review got a chance to chat with Celene about all that’s going on.



Jake Uitti: Before we get into your new project/album, I want to talk about two videos you’ve helped out with recently: the Blurred Lines parody and the unicorn video. What was the inspiration for these projects and what did you and the team hope would come from the work?





Celene Ramadan: First off, I should say that I’ve had the privilege to perform as emcee and singer alongside Mod Carousel for almost two years now. They are incredibly hard working and professional and it is refreshing to collaborate with artists who go above and beyond to make sure the end product is the best it can be. So, needless to say, video production is a tricky animal and it’s a world I come from myself, having worked in production since I was in college. But, like everything else they do, they not only pulled it off they exceeded every conceivable expectation for its success! I merely helped!

Trojan was the one who came up with the Blurred Lines gender swap idea and pitched it to the troupe: and he’s also the reason why Mod Carousel is making videos in the first place, having just forayed into video from his career as a photographer. And the unicorn video came about because the boys have had that unicorn act for a little while now and always wanted to make a video of it. The idea grew more intense with everything that’s been happening in the news of late in regards to gay rights around the world. Tying it in to something topical and lending a positive message to the conversation really made it work.

The costumes were made by the guys and I made the music so it was a great collaboration that really showed off everyone’s assets. Cute, pink-tailed assets.

JU: And you’re working on a solo project now, a multi-media effort. Can you tell me about that? And is there a Kickstarter?

CR: Why yes, there is!

I began Prom Queen about 2 years ago to have a medium for some of the writing I had been doing. It’s as much a pet-production-project as it is a vessel for my writing and composition. The production goal was to try to pull off a sound that was as authentically vintage as I can get for using Garageband for all of my pieces.

Over the years it’s grown into a band with live instruments, but still keeping the backing bone of the orchestrations I had built behind it: so our live sound still has the vintage quality I cultivated for the recordings.

Having made a few pretty neat Prom Queen music videos over the years and, having also landed a licensing deal with Zync Music, it was apparent that the music I was making was something that was very cinema-friendly. Practically every write-up that Prom Queen has ever had has mentioned David Lynch or Tarantino. It just seems to naturally evoke imagery and mood in such a way that I almost felt like the live shows weren’t enough.

So I launched a Kickstarter to make a film out of my next album “Midnight Veil”. It’s 12 songs and I want to make 12 music videos so people can watch the film/listen to the album continuously. The plan is to release the film on DVD, have digital downloads for the music and maybe even try to get it into a few film festivals or streaming online somewhere. The goal being that people who watch it will have a richer experience and a deeper connection to the music than if they were just passively listening while doing other things.

The rituals surrounding film consumption are something that I am envious of as a musician. The fact that people regularly buy tickets, turn off their cell phones, sit in a darkened room and consume art in movie theaters is fantastic. Musicians rarely get that kind of undivided attention. But when you marry music and film together, I think magical things happen and that’s what I aim to explore with this project.

JU: Can you give a couple examples of the music videos you’re planning – I should add, you often dress (alluringly) in costumes, and the cover of your album looks like you’re inside a magic lamp!

CR: Every video will be it’s own little world but they are all tied together with a baton pass of a magic lamp: ala The Red Violin. So the only connection between the stories will be that this lamp ends up in each of the worlds in some way. The lamp is a cheeky nod to I Dream Of Jeannie as the album has a decided Middle Eastern exotica feel to it, but in a cartoony Hanna Barbera way.

Each video will have it’s own look and feel and will also bring it’s own interesting production challenges. For instance, we have one video where we are using a crazy amount of fire effects, another where we filmed underwater, several that use animation (both stop motion and drawn), another that has multi-media within the shoot: using live projections to help tell the story. We are filming a very cool pole dance sequence for one and trying to make our own homemade colored smoke bombs for another. The pre-production is insane right now because we are simultaneously dealing with so many videos all at once. But it’s really fun. I’m having a blast with all the challenges.

JU: Who are you working with to produce all this?

CR: For the music, I’m mostly building them at home and then Tom Meyers (my drummer) is helping record live musicians and helping mix the tracks. Also, I’m working with Ground Control Recording. For the film, it’s all me and my boyfriend Danny: with some help from friends. Anna Bananna from Pretty Parlor is doing most of the styling for the film and she’s doing a phenomenal job!

JU: Your boyfriend is in the boylesque scene here in Seattle, right? Can you talk to me some about the burgeoning culture of boylesque, burlesque and that sort of fantastical performance here in town? How does it inspire you?

CR: My boyfriend is Trojan from Mod Carousel. Since we got together I’ve been so much more exposed to the burlesque scene than ever before. What I love about that scene is the integrity of the artists and their self-respect and hard work. The artistry that is cultivated from this flourishing scene is top notch. I’ve now seen burlesque in so many different cities all around the world and I can truly say that Seattle has something very special going on. It’s hard not to be inspired when you see people putting so much into their art all around you.

JU: There seems to be such a strong collaborative culture there, no infighting, no crabs in a barrel mentality. Do you get this sense, too?

CR: Well, I am still on the outside of it so I can’t really say with total authority. What I can say is there is a strong sense of community in the scene, both local and internationally. A lot of touring opportunities grow from that and it seems there is a burlesque welcome-wagon in most of the cities we’ve toured to, which I think is lovely.

I think that’s why I value tapping into niche communities with music. Those smaller scenes have a similar feel. With my years doing chiptune music: I felt booking shows in other towns was a cinch because there was always a chiptune musician in any city where you might find yourself going. It’s just plain easier than if you were a musician who was self described as an “indie rock artist”.


Bio:

Jake Uitti is a founding editor of The Monarch Review. - The Monarch Review


Seattle’s Prom Queen (Celene Ramadan) tickles that prominent nostalgia bone for dramatic/romantic lyrical themes couched in sultry torch songs, spy-jazz atmospheres, glockenspiel tinkles, and surf-rock guitar lines. The line “Kiss me, baby/Kill the night” aptly captures the mood on Prom Queen’s Night Sound album and the project’s general thrust, too. The instrumental and production details are very on point, the result of rigorously styding ’60s pop culture, with a master’s degree in the Nancy Sinatra, Jane Birkin, and Dusty Springfield catalogs. - The Stranger


Damn, it's nice to see a local act with some ambition. Prom Queen's Leeni Ramadan and her band have "pulled a Beyoncé" (when's that going into the OED?) and made videos accompanying each of the 12 songs on their delightfully Technicolor-hued new album Midnight Veil. This is actually one of the lower-key songs on the record, which comes off like a long-lost collaboration between a femme fatale Nancy Sinatra and an LSD-fried Martin Denny. Music to soundtrack whichever young auteur wants to claim Tarantino's postmodernist pulp dreams, basically. And a helluva lot of fun at that, which is in desperately short supply around these parts sometimes. - The Stranger


Sat, Oct 11
Prom Queen: Midnight Veil Release Show
With Midnight Veil, Prom Queen (Leeni Ramadan) has gone beyond making an album of catchy retro pop tunes; she's made created a whole visual world to accompany the music. Prom Queen made a music video for each of Midnight Veil's 12 tracks and strung them together in a movie that's sensory overload of dark B movie camp, psychedelic belly dancers, '60s rock nostalgia, and mischievous cabaret sensuality. The extensive production premieres at Fred Wildlife Refuge with a full screening and live performance by the band. Fred Wildlife Refuge, $10. - Seattle Met


Do you like pulp novels? Film noir? Mid century modern design? Kitsch-americana? Spy films? Spaghetti Westerns? Psych Rock? We do too.
These things are the basis for Prom Queen, a band/hallucinatory fever dream born long after its time. On their sensate album Midnight Veil they capture the haunting, softened, pastel imagery that comes to mind when you think “vintage.” Sensuous, thick vocals, and trance inducing, plucky strings transport the listener to a an iconic, sexier era.
In an amazing feat of production the Seattle rock trio released a full 58 minute video-album for their release Midnight Veil. Watch band leader Leeni Ramadan get her ’50s mixed with her ’60s in this mid-century melange of a music video.
See Prom Queen at Timbrrr Winter Music Festival Jan 9-10 or catch them at the Tractor Tavern on Jan 22nd before they head to Bellingham and Portland. Buy their albums on bandcamp. - American Standard Time


MEET THE WOMAN LANA DEL REY WISHES SHE COULD BE. SHE’S A FILMMAKER, A COMPOSER, AN ACTOR, A PERFORMANCE ARTIST, AND SHE’S THE SULTRY, CRYSTALLINE VOICE OF ONE OF SEATTLE’S COOLEST BANDS.

I’d like to think I’m a pretty level-headed guy, but when I was about to pick up the phone to call Celene “Leeni” Ramadan from Seattle favourite Prom Queen, I was suddenly transported back in time to highschool to when I was asking out Jen Shields. My palms became sweaty, my heart was thumping, and I had this panicked thought of “I’m totally going to fanboy out on her”. And why wouldn’t I? Celene is seriously cool. She’s been a big part of the music, theatre and improv scenes in Seattle for a number of years. She’s a filmmaker, a composer, an actor, a performance artist, and most important of all (to me), before it was a full band, she started off Prom Queen by herself with her own vocals, an electric guitar, and some backing tracks on a Boss pedal.

“It’s now or never” I thought, so I swallowed the lump in my throat and began dialling the phone. A couple rings, no answer. Was this going to be super anti-climatic? A couple more rings. Suddenly, a crystalline voice answers “Hello?” Fully expecting the call to go to voice mail (and thus saving me), I’m taken a bit off guard, and I stammer out a “Hey! It’s Jason, how are you?”

After getting through the pleasantries, I say to Celene that she’s been described as “Seattle’s Beyoncé” and I describe her as an “ass-kicking Nancy Sinatra”, but how would she describe herself? She lets out a laugh, “Hmm.. It’s hard to describe myself in terms of that. I think the Beyoncé thing is because we did a video album, and she did too at around the same time – so it’s kind of a joke” she pauses and thinks. “I dunno… I think I can talk about the band or the sound more than I can myself.” Fair enough, it’s kind of a bullshit question anyways – I mean can anyone really answer that? So we shift focus off Celene herself to the band. “I think it’s best described as a thrift store band. Like, you go into an old thrift store, and you see an album there – something weird, something psychedelic; a montage of retro kitsch.” She tells me this is how she likes to describe the band, it’s the aesthetic that’s she’s drawn to. No surprise there, her latest (and probably most ambitious project) Midnight Veil, a full video-album is full of this vintage kitsch. It’s steeped in lavish glitz that makes no apologies, with everything from middle eastern exotic and the twangs of spaghetti western, to psychedelic space rock reminiscent of an eye-patch wearing David Bowie.

“SO WOULD YOU SAY YOU GOT THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS OF BANDS?” I ASK. “YEAH, MAN.” SHE SAYS WITHOUT MISSING A BEAT.

Still from Prom Queen's video for Lie To Me

After expressing my love of what she, the band, a group of local Seattle artists, and 157 Kickstarter backers accomplished, I asked her what her favourite vignette was to film and why. Celene begins to lament on how hard it is to choose, and then expresses how difficult they were all to film, and how stressed she was during filming. “One of the most difficult ones to film was “Lie to Me” because we had these vintage cars that were really hard to deal with. One of them kept breaking down, and it was SUPER stressful. In addition to that we had these crazy locations, and super long hours – so when we finished filming it there was just this crazy sense of accomplishment.” she pauses. “So in that respect, I think the one I enjoyed filming the most was the one I had the least to do with” she says with a laugh. “We had guest videographer come in for “Mystery” – Ty Migota, and that was a huge relief because it was a very easy shoot day, and it turned out beautifully!” I tell her my personal favourite was “Can’t Seem to Cry”, which featured a pompadour-sporting Celene singing woefully in a milkshake joint amongst a group of Drag Queens that looked like they raided the costuming department for Bye Bye Birdie – adding on that I think the pompadour is a good look for her.



We have a quick laugh, and then I tell her how I first discovered her from a videogame trailer, which led me to downloading her first album, Night Sound. I continue to say how impressed I am with how Prom Queen’s sound has really progressed, growing from the 60’s noir feel of Night Sound to the much wider selection of vintage kitsch that is Midnight Veil. I ask Celene if this was a product of going from a solo act to a full band. “Yeah that was part of it” she starts. “I knew I could pull off a lot more with backup. It’s hard if you’re just one person to make something so grandiose sounding. With a band, I’ve really felt like I can do more.” Thinking myself very clever and creative, I ask Celene to tell me about the band, but to describe them as if they’re members of the A-Team. Much to my chagrin, Celene proceeds to tell me that is generally how she describes them to people – like super heroes. I let out a cry of defeat, and she laughs, and I solemnly tell her to proceed.

Prom Queen

“I’ll start with Tom Meyers, our drummer, who also recorded and mixed most of the album. He has amazing ears, and we have just the most epic recording sessions – he just has such a way of finessing the sound both in the studio and at our live shows. In addition to all that, he also knows how to dress – he just looks so good all of the time.” She then turns her attention to Jason Goessl, the band’s primary guitar player. “Jason does most of the shows that we do and travels with us on tour, and he’s just incredible! He just loves playing, he’ll do three shows in a night with a smile on his face. He’s probably the best technical guitar player I’ve ever met – he can do any style.” And finally, on Ben Von Wildenhaus, Prom Queen’s other guitar player (who should get the award for world’s most badass last name in my opinion) – “Ben was actually the very first member of Prom Queen as a band. I met him while doing shows around town – we were sharing a bunch of bills as two solo acts. I was blown away by his performance, and I asked him during one of our shows if he’d like to play together sometime, and he said “Yeah!” That was really when Prom Queen became an actual band. He’s totally amazing.”

Celene then tells me how things just clicked with her and her other bandmates, how it all just came together perfectly. “You know those movies, where from downbeat one the band is perfect, and you’re like “whatever, that NEVER happens”? That TOTALLY happened with this band. We barely have to rehearse – we just walk in and do it. I sometimes feel REALLY guilty about calling a band rehearsal.” “So would you say you got the Harlem Globetrotters of bands?” I ask. “Yeah, man.” she says without missing a beat.

Prom Queen at the Triple Door Photo by Wittypixel photographyPhoto Credit: Wittypixel Photography

Curious about the pathway from solo act to all-star band, I ask her: “Was it that initial contact with Ben that got you thinking about a band? Or how did you come to the conclusion that you wanted to take Prom Queen from a solo act to a band?” “I was invited to play this Elvis tribute show.” Well, that’s one way to start a story. “It’s called “Elvis Alive”, and it’s at the Triple Door, which is a HUGE stage in Seattle, probably one of the biggest. So I thought about just going up there alone, and thought the stage was just going to swallow me, so I thought “wouldn’t it be cool if I got a couple people up here with me?” you know, to play this music with me.” “Moral support?” I offer. “Yeah! And so I asked Ben to do it, and then my friend Troy stepped in on drums, and that was the first time I ever did it as a band. It just sounded so great, and felt really good on stage, and I just realized I really wanted to keep doing it.”

Prom Queen Performing Photo Credit: Wittypixel Photography

It was at this point I felt it was ok to ask Celene something I wasn’t sure was true or not. I’m going to pull back the curtain a bit folks, full disclosure: when you go to interview someone, for those not in the know, generally you research the shit out of them so you don’t sound like an idiot when you’re talking to them, or ask them something really dumb. As part of my internet stalking campaign of Celene, I came across that she’s also a celebrity impersonator for a living. I ask her if this is legit or not. “Yeah, that’s legit.” I tell her that’s amazing and ask who she impersonates. “I do a lot of Cher. I’ve done Britney Spears, Katy Perry, pretty much any female pop star you can think of. It’s for singing telegrams actually, and a way for me to make some additional income. I know, it’s a totally weird job.” “They don’t make you jump out of any cakes, do they?” I say jokingly. “Yeah! I have jumped out of a cake before.” I nearly drop the phone. “That stuff still happens?” I ask. “Yeah, it was like for a 90th birthday or something. I was so terrified that I’d jump out of the cake and give the guy a heart attack and kill him, so I was really nervous about jumping out too loudly? I guess.” No doubt, I’m sure accidentally killing someone doesn’t give you too many good reviews on Yelp. “He actually had his back turned though” she continues, “I remember his daughter had to go “look over there! Someone just jumped out of the cake”, so she had to tell him what just happened.” after laughing about this obvious snub to her grand entrance, I ask her “has anyone ever recognized you?” “Yeah, Seattle is such a small town in some ways, so there’s been a number of times I’ve shown up in character, and I look out and see somebody I know and go “Aww dammit.” you know?”

Celene Ramadan of Prom Queen

“I NEVER WANT IT TO BE SUPER HUGE. I’VE ALWAYS LOVED THE IDEA OF A CULT FOLLOWING, A SMALL GROUP OF REALLY DEVOTED FANS. I WANT MIDNIGHT VEIL TO BE SOMEWHAT OF A CULT CLASSIC.”

After learning that people jumping out of cakes still happens, and isn’t just some punchline in the movies, I figured it was about time we started talking about Celene’s tattoos. I ask her to tell me about them, the usual what she has and where. “My first tattoo is an 8-bit heart, which was the name of my first album for a side-project I do (author’s note: Celene is referring to her chiptune music, where she goes by Leeni), and it’s located on my upper right arm, and it has headphones on it. I got it in 2007 or so, when I had just finished that first album, and it was a token of that. I did that again with my second album Labyrinth, and got another pixelated, videogame-looking tattoo on my left forearm. My friend Gabe made this awesome design, and it’s a pixelated heart with headphones, and has these pixelated vines over it – it was a darker album so it has this all black design.

Prom Queen at Pretty ParlorPhoto Credit: Wittypixel Photography

I thought I’d do it every time I put out a new album, but I’ve stopped that plan because I’ve released 7 or 8 albums now so I’m not sure I can fund that” she says with a laugh. “Besides those, the only other tattoo I have is a tribute to my late father, he passed away in 2004. He used to have a house in Maui, and we scattered his ashes there. Then 5 years later my friends were getting married in Maui, so I thought “What a great way of going there and do something fun with my friends, and celebrate this marriage.” So during that trip, I made an appointment to get a tattoo in his honour on the island. I got three hibiscus flowers, which represents me and my two sisters, and it has these initials on it, and it has the words “awake” because he was a poet and wrote a poem called “Awake” – which I ended up writing a song to.” It’s clear that Celene’s tattoos are all incredibly meaningful to her, and represent some pretty major milestones in her life. I ask her if there’s anything next, possibly a Prom Queen tattoo? “The genie bottle from Midnight Veil perhaps?” I posit. “Yeah, the genie bottle would be cool. I definitely just want the words “Prom Queen” somewhere though.”

Prom Queen Magic LampPhoto Credit: Wittypixel Photography

I was incredibly focused on two things at this point in my chat with Celene. 1) To not keep asking her music-related questions, and 2) To not fanboy out on her. I will come clean however, and say that I failed miserably at this endeavour. “Ok, I lied. I’m going to go back to the music.” I say, guiltily. “I just had to say that what I really like about you and Prom Queen is that it’s obviously not a gimmick, and you’re not trying to be something you’re not. It seems incredibly sincere.” Celene agrees with me and expresses how much she loves the productions of mid-century exotica and old Phil Spector stuff, and that this is just the music she wants to make, not the music she’s trying to make. I ask her if it’s safe to say that she creates the kind of music that she wishes she could hear, that she wants to hear, something that she’s not finding. “Absolutely. That’s exactly what it is. Midnight Veil is exactly the type of album I wish I could find.” she says with utmost certainty. “That’s what I like about it the most. I think I’ve made a few albums where I’m happy with the end product, but it wasn’t as exciting to me as a listener. Whereas Midnight Veil, as a listener I’m very excited about it, and if I found this album I’d be like “Oh, this is great!” I don’t think I’ve ever really felt this way about an album, and that’s important to me.”

I ask Celene if this is important to her, what does she hope Prom Queen becomes, and what does she hope people get out of it? “I never want it to be super huge. I’ve always loved the idea of a cult following, a small group of really devoted fans. I want Midnight Veil to be somewhat of a cult classic. I want some people to just have it in their collection of albums that they always go back to. I want some culture behind it, and some people that really connect with it on a level that makes it more of a timeless thing.” With Prom Queen’s kitsch flare, this doesn’t strike me as surprising – and with their instrumentals that echo a past of pinup girls, 60’s housewives, and femme fatales, and a vocalist with a sultry, crystalline voice that would make Lana Del Rey jealous, it’s hard to not imagine a future where someone at a party introduces someone to some “classic Prom Queen”.



You can buy Prom Queen’s music (and get a Midnight Veil DVD) at their site, promqueenmusic.com, or on iTunes. Full disclosure: the author absolutely fucking loves this band. - Tattoo Hero


Portland locals Is/Is opened a sold-out show at the Doug Fir on Friday night with Seattle's Prom Queen and La Luz. We've been lucky to have La Luz visit Portland so often over the past couple years, and their following has visibly grown. They last played in town at Rotture with Shannon and the Clams in December, only to sell out their own headlining show a month later. Their full-length from 2013, It’s Alive, energizes a classic sound and they sell it well—they clearly have a good time on stage. Not to mention that sunshine-y, lo-fi sound—a little surf rock in January is good for the soul. All three lady power bands made for a great, inspiring show, and I loved the addition of Prom Queen. If I wasn’t swooning over the '80s cupcake dress, I was definitely swooning over her sultry and sweet vocals. - Portland Mercury


I don’t know where TF Prom Queen came from, but I’m glad I found them (her? it?).

Listen up if you’re unfamiliar, then follow that up by watching the few amazing videos available from the inspired Midnight Veil project. And when you’re done with all of that, support PQ by buying the full Midnight Veil DVD and tickets to their Tractor Tavern show tomorrow (1/22/15) to see a live performance you won’t forget anytime soon.

Finally, if you still have energy, or you know all about Prom Queen (and you should, they just came off a strong second half of 2014 and an appearance at Timbrrr music fest), read my interview with Celene Ramadan, the insanely creative and talented mind behind one of the most interesting projects I’ve seen come out of Seattle in my 30+ years here. She talks about her incredible “year of yes”, running a successful Kickstarter campaign, and how making an ambitious 12-song music video/film was made possible by the support of others. Read it all below!

1. First off, do you go by Celene or Leeni?

Celene: Both — Celene is my ‘real’ name and Leeni is a nickname that I’ve been using as a stage name for a few years.

2. Your musical project, Prom Queen, is getting a lot of buzz due to your newest album, Midnight Veil. How long has Prom Queen been around?

Celene: Prom Queen has been around close to 3 years now. It started as a solo project for the first year or so and then I slowly built a band. The original mission for me was to produce music that sounded as convincingly vintage as possible using very little money or resources. I created all the tracks on the first album “Night Sound” in Garageband and my $99 USB microphone. Once the band formed, Midnight Veil had a similar origin but then we had Tom’s (our drummer’s) studio, Ground Control Recording, and he recorded many of the live instruments and mixed the album, so it has a fuller sound.

3. Midnight Veil is a multimedia bonanza filled with aliens, mermaids, sexual themes, dancing, greasers, more sexual themes, genies, crime, and a mystical lamp – among many, many other things. If I sat down and listened just to the music on it I wouldn’t dream all that stuff up. Why was it important to you to put visuals to the entire album?

Celene: I’m a visual person and I also work in video. I love the marriage of music and film and I think they can be really powerful together. They are complimentary art forms and I happen to work in both of them so I really wanted to make something that reflected that and that gives the listener a more immersive experience. I also love mid-century kitsch and wanted to make something that was a visual thrift-store montage of these pieces of multi-techni-colored eye candy.

4. How did you come up with the idea to not only make a video for every song but tie them together to create a film out of the 12 pieces?

Celene: I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time now and once I started putting this album together I knew this was the one to do it with. And I just happen to know some of the raddest people in Seattle and I really wanted to seize the opportunity to do a project with this entire community of artists that I know and make something that we can all keep forever.


5. What did you learn through the process of making, funding, and releasing Midnight Veil?

Celene: I learned that people are very generous! I’ve nicknamed the year that I made Midnight Veil as “the year of yes”. Everyone said yes to everything. And every time I asked any one for anything I was always prepared for a “no”. There’s a million reasons why doing a project like this is too much to ask, but everyone said yes. And I am so grateful to have done something exactly the way I wanted to with the exact people I wanted to do it with.

6. Midnight Veil was made possible in part because of your successful Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter may seem easy to people who read about potato salads getting getting funded, but anyone who has ran one knows they’re anything but easy. Have you used Kickstarter to raise money for a project before? Was this one pretty smooth or were there some challenges/bumps/scary moments along the way?

Celene: I had never used Kickstarter before and I probably won’t do it again. Not because it was a horrible experience but just because I only felt it necessary due to the scope of the project and the amount of people I wanted involved. I wouldn’t do one for something small but since it was bigger than me and I had never done anything so big, I knew I needed the money and support to do it. The campaign was wonderful and it was a great way to create buzz about the album for a whole year before actually releasing it! People really wanted to be involved in it once they watched the Kickstarter and they were in on the process of the making-of, which is fun! I don’t think I’ve ever pulled back the curtain while I’ve made something and had people watch along the way to it’s completion. I think it really made a difference in the success of our project and for people’s enthusiasm on being involved.

7. Any other Kickstarter tips for artists thinking of using it to fund a project?

Celene: Have a great pitch video! And don’t expect random strangers to fund you. 95% of our backers were people we knew. There were actually some high-donors that we did not know and that was amazing! But for the most part, you can’t count on that. So be sure you have a large network of good friends/family that can support you before you go into it.

8. In your Kickstarter video you note that you’d like Midnight Veil to be a community project and love letter to Seattle. How many people, including actors, were involved in the making of the film?

Celene: I am horrible at counting but if you look at the full credits list on our website promqueenmusic.com/midnightveil you can see it all there. It is a wonderful community of very hard-working and amazing artists and I am so lucky that they all wanted to be involved!

9. Besides playing with all those kittens, do you have a favorite behind the scenes moment?

Celene: Our shoot at Vito’s was really fun! They were nice enough to let us film there at 7am on a Tuesday. And it was a trip to see all those people show up, dressed to the nines, before their morning coffee. There was a great sense of cooperation for that shoot and we actually had a bigger crew that day than we did for the entire filming process so it was a really great set to be on.

10. The DVD is available to purchase, the entire film is up on You Tube, you threw a super successful release party, what’s next for Prom Queen and Midnight Veil?

Celene: Just trying to get the word out as much as possible about the film. We want many, many, many more people to see it so playing shows, trying to get exposure from press and blogs and having people share it as much as possible is our immediate plan! We do everything ourselves: no manager, no label so it’s a grassroots thing. We know it’s a great finished product so we feel like we owe it to ourselves to get as many eyes and ears on it as we can!
One more time – Make sure to catch Prom Queen tomorrow (1/22/15) at the Tractor Tavern w/Evening Bell and Powers. You’ll have a good time, I promise :) - No Cover


Full video package: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRzb1E1mKkc - Band In Seattle


Video: http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos?videoid=x52461 - Seattle Channel


Prom Queen: “Lie to Me” – What can’t Prom Queen, aka Celene Ramadan, do? She sings, produces badass music videos and somehow used to make music using a Gameboy. Her CD/DVD Midnight Veil is a 12-track masterpiece and “Lie to Me” is the crown jewel. It’s part sadistic, part in love with the world. One look at the video and you’ll wish to be in the stable of artists Prom Queen employs. - DList


Leeni Ramadan never falters in her character as Prom Queen, carrying herself with a Heathers-style mix of beauty and wickedness. She manages to make a pink guitar look totally hardcore instead of “Girl Power!” gimmicky. The band, whose music sounds like ‘60s bubblegum pop on Quaaludes, lists David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, and Alfred Hitchcock as influences, hinting that for Prom Queen, aesthetic is just as important as the music. Ramadan’s period wardrobe is pretty spot-on—she looks like she just walked off the set of Valley of the Dolls. Going to a Prom Queen show is a must for any Twin Peaks fanatics who loved the musical acts at the show’s swoon-worthy Bang Bang Bar. With Saul Conrad, Levi Fuller & The Library. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005, chopsuey.com. 8 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. 21 and over. DIANA M. LE - Seattle Weekly


The concept of Prom Queen (aka Celene “Leeni” Ramadan and her band) is more than simply songs, it’s a larger-than-life throwback of lavish camp and swoopy eyeliner. With ingredients like spaghetti-western surf scores, sweet retro pop, and Nancy Sinatra’s clear-voiced sultry heartache (and boots)—all perfectly arranged against a backdrop of swanky 1960s exotica—Prom Queen’s self-described “cinematic ’60s rock” with make you want to down a couple purple martinis and bust out the hula-hoop. Or crash your neighbor’s poolside barbecue while dressed in a velvet bikini. Or both! - The Stranger


Welcome to City Superheroes, the second installment of a regular column that highlights the powerful figures walking among us with the help of a (usually local) illustrator. This week’s pairing: performer Prom Queen and cartoonist Marc Palm.

Moniker: Prom Queen

Given Name: Celene Queeno Ramadan

Other Aliases: Leeni

Superpowers: Time travel, shape shifting, spatial manipulation

First Appearance: April 2012 at the Can Can Kitchen & Cabaret for the release of her record, Night Sound.

Local Haunts: Vito’s, the Can Can, Café Racer, the Blue Moon

Archenemies: Closed-mindedness, Defeat, Complacency

Even Heroes Have Heroes: David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Amy Winehouse, Lesley Gore

Origin Story: Born in Massachusetts and raised in New Hampshire, Celene Queeno Ramadan visited Seattle in 1999 and fell in love with it. She moved here in 2004, after graduation (from the University of New Hampshire) and a year-long stint working at PBS. It was when Celene moved to the Emerald City that her super powers — time travel, shape shifting — really took off. Indeed, no historical era is beyond her reach. A virtuoso creator, Celene can also summon a magic genie whenever she needs extra inspiration.

She began her Seattle career as Leeni, a solo musician performing Chiptune (synthesized, 8-bit music derived from vintage electronics). In 2011, she transitioned to Prom Queen, a solo, cinematic confection with a bouffant and a pink guitar.

Prom Queen, the band, emerged soon after when Celene joined forces with keyboard and guitar player, Ben von Wildenhaus, and hit its stride when lead guitarist Jason Goessl and drummer Tom Meyers joined a few years later. In 2014, the four bandmates released their musical and cinematic masterpiece, Midnight Veil, a 12-track audio and video project featuring Seattle luminaries such as Waxie Moon, Ahamefule J. Oluo, Lily Verlaine and Fuchsia Foxx. The project’s Parisian, 1950’s-noir aesthetic is as alluring as an ounce of Chanel #5.

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Her Philosophy: “Get out of your own way and do the best work you can. Realize that while art is important it is not the end-all-be-all. The most important part of art is that it’s truthful. Choosing art is choosing honesty, a certain level of openness, a very humble life and finding joy and celebrating in the immediate.

“I always want to have a community that I feel like I’m a part of where we’re really supporting each other and everyone has their own gift to bring. I just want to keep people close because people have such unique voices — and that goes for both creative collaborative and friendship.

“I love that I can go out in Seattle and see someone I know. I like that the city is small enough that you can do that and large enough where you’re always meeting new people. It’s the perfect sized city, which helps build strong foundations.”

What’s Next: Prom Queen plays Vito’s on Saturday, April 25th. - Crosscut


At The Cannery, the legions of Rocktographers from the region gathered to take in Prom Queen. This trio performs classic surf twang that gets you hot and bothered, filling the venue to capacity. In a bright pink dress and electric guitar, front woman Celene Queeno Ramadan exudes sexiness before a single note is played. And with the first tune, Prom Queen thrilled the crowd with their cool style and playfulness. Having not seen them before, but hearing a lot of buzz about this band, Prom Queen was certainly one of the highlights of the festival thus far. - Northwest Music Scene


People have been comparing Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things to Twin Peaks ad nauseam. The small town mystery, the alternate dimension, the ending… But never their soundtracks.
Leeni from Prom Queen, a fan of both shows, made that connection for us and asked herself what Laura Palmer’s Theme by Angelo Badalamenti would sound like in the style of the Stranger Things theme by Survive.
“I have always loved synths. So I fell in love with Stranger Things the first time I heard the theme song,” the singer, writer and producer from the Seattle-based band tells Welcome to Twin Peaks. “And Laura’s Theme is my favorite thing to play on any synthesizer. It’s so beautiful,” she continues.
So tonight, in premiere here on Welcome to Twin Peaks, here’s Prom Queen’s take on the two iconic themes!
Stranger Peaks by Prom Queen
So do you see Laura Palmer running through the woods… or is that Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Will?


Visit http://welcometotwinpeaks.com/music/stranger-peaks-twin-peaks-stranger-things-theme/#ixzz4J4SrHnEs - Welcome To Twin Peaks


"Thanks to Welcome to Twin Peaks, we’ve learned that artist Leeni from Prom Queen has taken “Laura Palmer’s Theme” by Angelo Badalamenti from the original Twin Peaks soundtrack, and imagined what it would sound like in the ’80s synth style of the Stranger Things theme by S.U.R.V.I.V.E. And it actually works really, really well. Called “Stranger Peaks” (of course), you can listen to this delightful mashup in the Soundcloud link below. Whether your dark alternate dimension of choice is the Upside Down or the Black Lodge, this mashup should tickle fans of both series." - Nerdist


"Seattle country-noir singer Prom Queen just released an entire album of videos. That is, her most recent album is made up of a series of super cool videos based around a common theme. So she makes great videos. And her smoky vocals and cold-as-fuck country singer persona may be the vaccine to inoculate Nashville against its own bullshit. Too bad they aren't listening. But you should be!" - KITHFOLK


A
sk Celene (Leeni) Ramadan, the creative force behind Prom Queen, why she's so drawn to that kitsch 1950s and '60s aesthetic—the beehives, the roller skates, the drive-ins, and the forlorn, love-lost songbirds of doo-wop and blues—and she'll say she doesn't quite know.
"It's really a mystery. I wonder if it has something to do with a past life, or maybe it seeped into the womb from my parents," she jokes, musing about her possible past life as a bobby-socked, poodle-skirt-wearing, blonde-ponytailed teenager listening to records on a lonely Friday night.
"I think the best way I could describe it is, it just sort of feels... haunted." And that's exactly the sort of spirit Ramadan is trying to evoke in Doom-Wop—Prom Queen's new album, out September 23 (the release party for it happens on that date at the Piranha Shop).
The 10 songs on Doom-Wop match the album's title perfectly: honey-laden, sultry-voiced but foreboding songs, at times tinged with a dimly glowing despair, and at other times drenched in it.

"I feel like there's a creepy beauty to it," she says of the album. "I like to call it Twisted Americana. It's not quite on-the-nose Americana. It's something that's a little darker."
Ramadan says that while making Doom-Wop, she wanted to capture the sense of uneasiness that she had been feeling (and continues to feel) about the state of the world these days. But she says she also wanted to create music that could transport someone into another world... one filled with melodic melancholy layered over acrid undertones—like a milkshake mixed with a martini (it sounds better than it tastes!).
Ramadan even accomplishes this effect in a way that feels more nuanced than an Amy Winehouse, or even a Lana Del Rey, a tricky thing to do in such a formalistically stylized genre.
In fact, it's the songs on the album that stray from that tried-and-true doo-wop format that are most appealing—and they're some of Ramadan's favorites. "Manic Panic" adds some mid-song power-pop riffs to the mix, managing to energize the song without sounding out of place.

For "Why Do You Dream" (my favorite song off the album because of the "stalker" vibe lurking underneath the syrupy-sweet veneer of the seemingly innocent words), the band used wine glasses and a thunder tube to make unnerving backdrop sounds that, Ramadan says, "would make you feel like you're in a horror movie."
"I just felt like putting a sweet, straightforward love song on the record wasn't quite what I wanted to do," Ramadan says. "I definitely feel like it's hard for me to do anything just, like, totally straightforwardly."
This time around, Ramadan, who has in the past made most of her albums on her computer, is recording live with a band in the studio, giving Doom-Wop a different kind of feel than the highly orchestrated Midnight Veil, Prom Queen's 2014 album. She's ditched the Mellotron and symphonic strings for a more natural but no less dramatic swooping sound.
"It was really cool to do the thing where you're playing as a band into the board, and singing the scratch track along with the band. I'd never done that before!" Ramadan exclaims.

And for anyone who liked Prom Queen's 2012 album, Covers (filled with fun versions of songs by Björk, Madonna, INXS, Pixies, and more), there is one cover on Doom-Wop—"November Rain" by Guns N' Roses, a gently swaying rendition that makes you want to slow dance and put your head on someone's shoulder (at the prom, of course).
You definitely have to be in the right mood for Doom-Wop to pick up on its cinematic, mystical qualities—a mood that feels like Patsy Cline meets Valley of the Dolls, or maybe Ozzie and Harriet meets Twin Peaks.
"Doom-Wop is Lesley Gore after she listened to a bunch of Morrissey records," Ramadan laughs. "It's like, what if Lesley Gore was able to speak her mind a little bit more and talk about her existential dread?" - The Stranger


Prom Queen’s music has always been delightfully addicting. I first fell in love with it when Midnight Veil came out in 2014. The gloriously entertaining and catchy video album - featuring original retro animation, neo-burlesque starlets and the cult film legend Lloyd Kaufman - is one of the most enjoyable musical films ever made. If you haven’t seen it, watch NOW! Then came her genius mashup Stranger Peaks (it’s Stranger Things meets Twin Peaks) which instantly went viral. Prom Queen’s latest album comes out today and it promises the usual blend of her cleverly re-imagined 50’s and 60’s pop kitsch and the darker Badalamentian undertones.

Get your copy of Doom-Wop here. If you happen to live in Seattle, London or Glasgow, don’t miss her upcoming live shows. And enjoy the brand new music video Blonde: - Huffington Post


Discography

Night Sound, 2012

Midnight Veil, 2014

Doom-Wop, 2017

Photos

Bio

"Prom Queen, is all about theatrics, but don’t let that fool you. Prom Queen’s music has all the substance and more to back up their lavish, retro style." - KEXP

Prom Queen's sound marries technicolor B-movie sounds with dark-surf, girl-group noir. 

After the release of her debut album Night Sound in 2012, Prom Queen went from a solo project to a full-fledged band: with Ben Von Wildenhaus, Tom Meyers and Jason Goessl joining the fold. The live show is moody and electrifying, showcasing the musicianship of each member. 

Prom Queen's second album release, Midnight Veil, is a multimedia concept-album. The band has chosen to release it on DVD as a video-album: a film of 12 interwoven music videos, each with their own style, following the journey of a magic lamp that travels between the videos. The project was launched and then successfully funded on Kickstarter in September of 2013 and released in October 2014. Go to http://www.promqueenmusic.com/midnightveil for more information!

Gearing up for their 3rd release this fall, Prom Queen continues to expand their sound while keeping their roots in a classic, dreamy, mid-century palette. 

Band Members