Cecilia James is a twenty-two-year-old 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.
Today, we’re premiering her new single “Pretty In Your Eyes” from her upcoming debut EP Different Ground dropping in July.
I wrote this song when I was so young, and it really helped me process this shift and grow from it. It has served as a reminder as I move through life to stay connected to myself. While the song itself may be sad and angsty, it’s really about growth and finding your own sense of identity outside of other people.
Tell us about your new music.
“Pretty In Your Eyes” is the sophomore single off my debut EP titled Different Ground coming out this July! I wrote “Pretty In Your Eyes” about the universal feeling of longing to be loved in return, as well as losing yourself to another person. It’s also very much about my own struggle with self-worth in and out of relationships. The song starts off slow and dreamy, gradually building on the darker emotions that underlie those internal battles. The music video reflects these themes and pays homage to cinematic masterpieces, such as “The Virgin Suicides” by Sofia Coppola and David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” series.
What was the writing and recording process?
I wrote this song back in 2017, months after a breakup, which was sort of my first heartbreak. The song entirely wrote itself. I recorded a demo with a nylon string guitar, a little 1980s Casio keyboard, and waning electric guitar solos overlaying the track just for fun in my bedroom, but it turned out that much of the professionally recorded version stays true to that demo. In terms of professionally recording it, I really wanted to build on the darker emotions that come with such a relationship. In the moment of writing this song, I felt bereft of myself… I felt that I had changed myself to be their ideal person, and when they left, I was unsure of who I actually was. I was very intent on having the composition and production portray this build-up of emotions until the very where it all releases. One of my very favorite parts of the track is the stream-of-thought spoken word that creeps into the middle of the song.