Cecilia James Reflects on Adolescence Through Debut EP “Different Ground”

Late July, Santa Barbara-based artist Cecilia James released her debut EP, Different Ground. Compiling a soothing selection of Indie music recorded in the midst of her adolescence, I had the chance to speak to Cecilia about growth as an artist, change, and her inspirations. Read the full interview below!

Cecilia is no stranger to music.”Since I was 10, I’ve been bused around Santa Barbara to do shows…it was inevitable I would fall into music.” She tells me in late 2016 she began to record her own music, which over the past 4 years has manifested into the recent EP, Different Ground. She includes, “there were lots of insecurities I had to combat before I released Different Ground.” Prior to her start in recording music, Cecilia tells me that she went through a name change–”Once I decided to rebrand, it gave me the feeling of ‘you have it all ready’”, and the theme of overcoming barriers was ultimately a catalyst for the EP. 

Between the ages of 15-20, Cecilia wrote a series of songs, ranging on themes of love, heartbreak, and change to name a few. She mentions that because of the four year spread of recording, there was definitely an evolution of sounds and themes through “Different Ground”. For example, Cecilia explains how her oldest song on the EP, “Headcrush”, contains more childish lyrics whereas songs such as “Different Ground” have more complexity sonically and theme-wise. “The title track ‘Different Ground’ touches on the sound I’m going with forward”. She adds that this EP is very symbolic of growing up in adolescence, as she writes about many formative moments of her teens years. “Now it’s out and I’m letting it go…”

Ultimately, Cecilia James is inspired by love, friendships, heartbreak, “all of that”. She’s fueled by interactions with people, and is trying to gain more inspiration by everyday things. 
If she had to listen to three albums for the rest of her life, her choices would be “The Archer by Alexander Savior, Devotion by Beach House, and 5 Leaves Left by Nick Drake. Cecilia adds, “I fell in love with Devotion when I was 17…I want to get a Devotion tattoo”.

Different Ground is the perfect EP for reflection. The whispiness of Cecilia’s voice alongside the soothing acoustic guitar takes you away, as you’re met with a content sense of nostalgia for bygone times. My favorite track personally is “Pretty in Your Eyes”. The EP is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music, with a music video for the title track set to release in late August/early September. Keep up with Cecilia James on Instagram and Twitter.

Written By: Alexa Terry

Photography By: Alondra Costilla