Rising pop star Cecilia Gault exhibits a rare artistic intuition and discipline for a 18-year-old. On her stunning debut EP, Beast, the singer-songwriter effortlessly blends a playful and insightful perspective on adolescence in New York City with exuberant pop hooks, the right dash of musical sophistication, and profound multi-instrumental skills.
“This EP is my vision, and I’m communicating what it means to be a young girl coming up in a city like New York City,” Cecilia explains.
Cecilia’s music traverses alt-rock, urban, EDM, hints of jazz and blues, and sleek modern pop. She counts as influences Cari Cole, Bob Dylan, Lykke Li, Adele, James Blake, Tom Odell ,The 1975, FKA Twigs, Banks, and The Neighbourhood. Her mastery of vocal dynamics is dazzling, her phrasing is sensual and in her singing she spans sultry low tones, breathy high tones, skyward melodies, and detached cool middle register vocalizing. She wrote the songs on her EP, and she plays piano, guitar, bass, drums, and ukulele. In fact, Cecilia got the name for the EP from a moment in the studio when she was casually asked by a studio engineer what she did musically. When she rattled off singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, the person enthusiastically responded: “You’re a beast!”
Recalling that moment, Cecilia laughs good-naturedly, and adds: “That stuck because I feel like being a young girl in New York City you have to be a beast to survive.”
Cecilia describes her background as being “a product of diversity and mixed-cultures in love and harmony.” Growing up in a bicultural household—Irish and Japanese—she was exposed to a diverse array of traditions and this openness also informed the music she was exposed to. Cecilia enjoyed attending operas and pop-rock concerts with her parents. At the young age of 7, her parents signed her up for singing lessons with the hopes that music would ease her out of being so shy. At the same time, she began playing piano. By 11, she began writing songs. But it wouldn’t be until she began studying with renowned vocal coach and talent developer Cari Cole that she began to hone in on an identity as a singer and a songwriter.
Beast is a powerful first volley for an up and coming career pop artist. Cecilia’s ability to convey adolescent struggle, heartbreak, and everyday life, illustrates immense sensitivity, cleverness, and a desire to soulfully reach her audience.
The six-song EP is kaleidoscopically musical. The single “Red Mustang” is smoky and haunting, an infectious mix of smoldering vocals and playful cultural commentary. “I had a chance to spend a day with a super model, and I wrote that song imagining what it was like to have everything at your fingertips,” Cecilia says. “It’s definitely a celebratory, girl power song.” The song’s accompanying video perfectly encapsulates the song’s perspective by integrating quirky humor into luxury lifestyle imagery.” “Red Mustang” is revisited later on the EP as a transcendent dub.
Beast is loosely themed around the unraveling of a love relationship. The narrative begins with the soaring and amorous “Velocity.” The ethereal beauty of “Pills” conveys that initial jolt of disorientation after a breakup. “Raining” features a heartstring-pulling piano melodic motif and it evokes the moment of love lost acceptance. “That song is about the dark stage when you know it’s over, but those difficult moments are what make you and define your character,” Cecilia says.
Previous to the EP’s release, Cecilia has made impactful career strides. In March of 2011, she performed for “Bridge to Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Benefit Concert,” at City Winery NYC, along with Patti Smith and Marshall Crenshaw. This event garnered her accolades with the press reviewing her as a “rising star.” Around this time, Vivien Schweitzer, music critic for the New York Times, singled out her talents. Parallel to her musical pursuits, Cecilia is a noted actress having appeared on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and How to Make It in America and on stage in Opera Omnia’s “Giasone.” In addition, she’s also a published writer concerned with issues of social justice.
Currently, Cecilia is attending New York University, juggling academics with her professional music career. “I come home from school and I practice, and I also practice throughout the weekends. Sometimes it’s hard to sacrifice a social life with my friends,” she admits. “But, for me, music brings me so much meaning because I am get to be myself, share my feelings, and connect with people in a very deep way.”