Alums Get Soulful for Music Video Featuring Cecily Bumbray '12

by Erin Kelly
Cecily Bumbray '12
"Too Much," performed by Cecily Bumbray '12, is the first commercial release of indie label Harmonious Grits.

The entertainment industry is notorious for recycling the status quo and repackaging it for mass consumption. But for singer and songwriter Cecily Bumbray '12, the real achievement of following a dream is staying true to yourself and your vision.

"The entertainment industry is intimidating partly because people are always pushing you to sound, look and be like other people. For me, being a Swattie has helped me not to give into that pressure," Bumbray says. "Swarthmore really embraces the individuality of each person and I think that is something to which I'm dedicated to staying true."

One of Bumbray's most recent visions to become a reality is a music video for "Too Much," a soulful single she co-wrote with Anthony Montalbano '12. Vaneese Thomas '74, director of the College's Alumni Gospel Choir, arranged and produced the single. Tayarisha Poe '12 served as director.

According to Sherry Bellamy '74, Bumbray's mother, the single is "a love story that begins sweetly, ends sadly, and leaves you feeling at a loss for words." It is the first commercial release of indie label Harmonious Grits.

"My favorite part of developing and releasing a single is the very first step - the writing process. Being able to make music with someone and create something that expresses some truth is incredibly fulfilling," Bumbray says. "On this project, I was very blessed to work with people who are as attentive to detail as I am - Swatties!"

Poe says that working with fellow alumni made the direction and production of the video a unique experience. "There's already a base of a common language," she says, "so when you're trying to communicate a cinematic feeling and all you can do is wave your hands around and make a non-verbal noise, they will likely still get it."

Bumbray says the most compelling lyric of "Too Much" appears in the chorus: How do I write a song about love gone bad, when I can't even grasp what we had? "It really sums up the overarching theme and tone of the entire song," she says. "It's a question the singer is asking of herself, her former lover, and her audience. It signifies that the singer is in a state of confusion and is at a loss for answers and closure."

It's that state of reflection that Poe hoped to capture in the video. "Overall I wanted lots of light and a mix between clear and steady shots and close hand-held movements," she says. "I wanted to evoke a sense of reflection and longing for a time past." Read more about their creative process in The Phoenix.