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Reflections on my 27th Year

My birthday was on Sunday, March 4th. I turned 28 years old. Today I took some much needed time to reflect. The past 12 months have been truly a time of growth – a soft balance between inward looking and external action.

Trusting myself has been a major theme. Getting married was an exercise in self-trust – knowing that this certain human being is meant to be my partner for the rest of my days breathing and finding solace in that fact. Feeling gratitude for the peace I find in the touch of his hand,  and the LOVE – unconditional, nonjudgemental, accepting – I find in his eyes. Trusting myself to love him the way he deserves, and give of myself — my time, my undivided attention, my listening ear, my space — give to him without fear.

This has also been a year of acceptance, specifically accepting the things I cannot change and the things that are out of my control. Being okay with the unknown – accepting as an essential part of life that sometimes I won’t know exactly what’s next and that’s ok. Learning to exist in that realm of unknown and just BE without worry has marked my 27th year. Learning that lesson has reshaped me in beautiful ways.

But this year has also been one of action! Of taking responsibility for the things that are in my control, and those things are innumerable. My biggest accomplishment of my 27th year in this lifetime is my upcoming album, Songs of Love & Freedom. I am most proud of this work because it feels as though I pulled it out of my own body. It’s a piece of myself I shaped over many months, and long hours, and tried to fashion honestly, making it beautiful — true beauty which can only come from Truth. The truth found in solitude; the truth that lifts you from comfort and into something much more powerful – rebirth.

My voice has gotten so much stronger over the last two years. Every time I perform I find new ways to approach notes and new sounds that my body can somehow create in the moment. So with each song on this project, I tried to capture a moment like that. I tried to give you the moment I sat in the grass in London feeling the sun on my face and appreciating not having to please anyone but myself. I tried to give you the moment I was in Ghana’s lush green Volta region and felt the power of Wli Falls spraying my back — how alive that felt! I tried to give you the moment I sat in my room in silence looking at Spring outside my window and knew that the Universe was holding my hand and leading the way, if only I let my ego go. I tried to give you the moment I learned of the murder of Jordan Edwards, just 15 years old and killed by a police officer. The moment I found Hope in hopelessness.

These past 12 months have also been about Vision. In September I performed at my first international jazz festival. I stood in front of thousands of people who had never heard of me, who didn’t even speak the same language as me, and I sang to them as if we were family. That moment taught me that every single thing I wish for is possible – that I am more than capable!

This year I stood on the top of a mountain, looked out into the horizon and saw what was to come clearer than I ever have before. I could touch it. It was real. In that moment I adopted this affirmation and it’s been carrying me ever since…

I have the power to create everything I desire. I take responsibility for that power and I freely and intentionally choose to use my power to create everything I desire.

With unconditional LOVE of self — appreciation of the growth, the struggle, the beauty — I offer you a piece of myself created out of my own power – the Power that comes from vulnerability.

Here is the tracklist for my upcoming project Songs of Love & Freedom, coming May 4th, 2018:

Pisces
Your Idea Of Beautiful
Hope
A Song For Bobby
Can You Feel It?
Grow
Don’t Hide the Sun

For now, here’s the lead single, “Pisces”

Lessons of 2016: Happiness

I’ve realized this year, I do not need a reason to be happy.

Any little thing is enough. Any big thing is enough. The sun. A nice cleansing breath. A good nap. My loved ones. The color of my nails. Someone else’s laugh. I don’t have to feel how I’m expected to feel.

I don’t have to feel how I usually feel or how I used to feel. Happiness doesn’t have to be a smile, although it often is. It can be a quiet, knowing peace with what is right now.

Opening for Res

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of opening for Res. She killed & it was so much fun to open for her. The energy was amazing! You can always sense when you’re in room full of real music lovers. Whatever you send them, they give you all that energy right back! They are engaged. Sunday night at Liv Nightclub was definitely that! Shoutout to everyone that bought my CD 🙂

 Thank you Maurice Bland for all the wonderful photos!11037551_860373594033661_146122394583114770_npic res

Cece & Res

I was on the Ion Network

This was pretty cool. Watching yourself on TV is always a little surreal.

I appeared on the show Metro Magazine hosted by Bonnie McDaniel. It was a truly enjoyable interview experience. She’s so personable and was very easy to talk to. We discussed my upbringing, my training, lessons I learned from my parents, and the recent uprising in Baltimore. I also sang a little bit of “Black Butterfly” (you know that’s one of my favorites!).

Here’s a few pictures and clips I recorded while watching it on my TV. Watch a short video clip here >>>> Singing Black Butterfly

Hoping to do many more interviews soon! I do like talking lol

I'm enjoying this lol Talking to Bonnie McDaniel on Ion TV  #singer #songwriter #artist #dmv #interview

James Baldwin on Artistry

I am in the process of writing an artists statement for a grant application. I turned to James Baldwin, one of my favorite writers and philosophers of all time, for some inspiration. I came across these 3 quotes I felt I should share.

“One writes out of one thing only — one’s own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give. This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art.” (1952)

“Art has to be a kind of confession. I don’t mean a true confession in the sense of that dreary magazine. The effort it seems to me, is: if you can examine and face your life, you can discover the terms with which you are connected to other lives, and they can discover them, too — the terms with which they are connected to other people.” (1961)

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story, to vomit the anguish up.” (1985)

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National Poetry Month – 6

Be Here

In all your obnoxious certainty, I still see the Searching in your eyes, floating, looking for a soft place to ground itself. And that’s how I know we are fate. My hair, my palms, my tongue are velvet, crushed from years of holding on too tight to those who didn’t want to land. Now they are soft for you & your arrival. Be here.