WHO IS CECILIA JAMES?
Cecilia James is a songwriter and visual artist from Santa Barbara, California. Set to dreamy guitar-based arrangements, her blend of conceptual and autobiographical writing favors nuance over flair and is ripe with a melodic sweetness that allows intimacy to become a calm and sublime feeling.
In 2017, James released her first single, a breezy surf-rock tune entitled “Malibu,” that saw her collaborate with fellow Santa Barbara multi-instrumentalist and producer Maxton Hunter. Her 2018 follow-up, “Sonic Baby,” presented a much more stark and atmospheric sound palette that was largely fueled by James’ tender, velvet-like melodies and the track’s psych-tinged guitar passages. Shortly after the release of “Sonic Baby,” James embarked on her first tour, traveling across the American Southwest, performing her growing collection of songs on the stages of desert bars and music clubs everywhere from California to Louisiana.
From the latter portion of 2018 through early 2020, James returned to the studio to complete the sessions for her first EP, which had started multiple years prior with the tracking of “Malibu.” Teaming up with producer Jesse Rhodes and a variety of other musical collaborators, she finished work on her official debut, the aptly titled Different Ground.
Comprised of deeply personal songs written between the ages of 15 and 20, the material on James’ first release reflects the sea of changes that occurs in the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. Released on July 30th, 2021, the EP’s seven tracks offer a charming mix of confessional guitar jams and warm, jangly beach-pop that evokes the cool blue skies and sun-kissed vistas of California’s central coastline.
The renowned area creator is known by and large as one of our region’s most promising songwriters with an incredible voice who since her early teens has won the admiration of this publication and others for her rocking, haunting sound.
- Ella Richie Demaria, Santa Barbara Independent