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Sometimes you have to fall apart in order to find the most real version of yourself.
On the surface R&B and soul singer Alanna Royale appeared to be brimming with confidence. Yet the artist behind the internal earthquake “Trouble Is” insists that until this latest LP she felt fragmented. Only after the most unnerving time of her life did Royale finally feel at ease bringing her full artistic self to the table. “There is a lyric by one of my favorite rappers that goes “You gave me the tools but didn’t show me how to hold them,” she explains citing how everything finally congealed on this record. After a brutal period that ended with an emotional collapse, Royale produced her most hauntingly honest, poetic collection of songs yet. “I wanted to make something so intensely personal but now have to live with it,” she partially jokes.
Laugh out loud funny and fearlessly outspoken, one doesn’t have to wonder if Alanna Royale is in the room. Since storming the Nashville scene in 2013, Royale has repeatedly made her presence known from calling out politicians she can’t stand to calling monopoly on her classically minded, R&B sound. In her first year alone, the artist landed headlining slots at Nashville Pride Fest and won “Road to Bonnaroo” with only an EP under her belt. After fine tuning her swagger fronting punk bands, it appeared Royale had found her perfect niche marrying soul and pop. Or so she thought.
DC-based vocalist and songwriter Cecily, (pronounced ses-suh-lee), is known for her agile soprano and honest lyrics. Her sound, as soothing as it is rich, is rooted in a deep appreciation for mid-century soul and jazz, 90’s R&B, and re-imagined folk music.
In her songs you’ll hear the influence of growing up surrounded by her parents’ vast record collection. Her father, a lover of Miles Davis, and her mother, a Smokey Robinson fan, filled their home with soulful sounds that captivated their daughter, and which she has channeled into her own work. This influence gives her work a unique sensuality that informs not only her vocal approach, but also her self-reflecting lyrics, grappling with self-acceptance, vulnerability, and rebirth. Soulbounce says that Cecily creates “music that pulls from the past but looks toward the future.”
Her debut album Songs of Love and Freedom garnered her a 2019 Wammie Award for Best Soul Album and was named “Best New Soul on Bandcamp” by the Bandcamp editorial team, who described the project as “stirringly timeless and modern.”
Cecily’s 2019 release exploring unconditional love, Awakening Pt. 1. landed her first SoulTracks Readers’ Choice Awards nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year, a 2020 Indie Soul Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year and a 2020 Wammie Award for Best Soul Song for her single, “Clumsy,” which BET.com praised for its “gorgeously sultry vocals.” The project was also named “Best New Soul on Bandcamp” by Chaka Grier of the Bandcamp editorial team, who praised her ability to blend “top-notch songwriting and thoughtful self-reflection with a gentle jazz-influenced sound.”