It's hard to pinpoint what we love most about Cecily's 2019 project, Awakening, Pt. 1. Her enchanting, multi-octave vocals paired with lush arrangements steeped in jazz and soul are an obvious draw. Yet the transparency that permeates the album's lyrics almost balance the scale, delivering a personal, love-themed narrative that engages the listener and encourages self-reflection. As if this wasn't already an impossible decision to make, she makes the task that much harder with the recent premiere of Awakening: The Visual EP.
Like the aural version, The Visual EP has many merits. Cecily previously shared that Pt. 1 is "the story of my awakening to Love," and the short film offers a chance to see the drama unfold. Director Torell Shavone immediately locks our attention with a close-up view of a lovely Black couple (played by Cecily and Dale Deberry) having an intimate conversation that quickly becomes tense. Soundtracked by "Clumsy," the unraveling relationship plays out before our eyes. In the aftermath of the break-up, Cecily embarks on a journey of introspection and healing with "Set Myself Free."
Her epiphany and rebirth leads to the realization that there's "No Room For Fear" in love. Totally committed and ready to try again, the saga ends with "Acceptance." Poignant quotations from Thích Nhất Hạnh, bell hooks and don Miguel Ruiz are sprinkled throughout the clip to underscore the song themes. Shavone and director of photography Kirby Griffin allow us to bask in the literal beauty of #BlackLove. The use of lighting, bold colors, scenic backdrops and organic landscapes adds texture and verve to the storyline. Meanwhile, the leading couple serves up several amazing looks – including an array of natural hairstyles and a stunning final scene featuring modern-meets-traditional ceremonial pieces.