We had the good fortune of connecting with Cecily Dionne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cecily, career-wise, where do you want to be in the end?
I’m such a multifaceted person, so I desire to do so many things by the end of my career. One of my biggest goals is to open a performing arts school. It’s so many things that I wish I would have learned about the arts in school when I was younger. I feel like sometimes it’s really hard for creatives to thrive in the traditional learning environment. So, I desire to create a safe space where they will not only thrive but learn about the business of their craft from experts in the field doing the work. I want every single creative that walks through our doors to graduate ready to take this industry by storm. As a creative, you often feel misunderstood, and it’s hard to trust people in the industry. I want every student that comes to us to know we get it. Your dreams, your potential, and your gifts are safe with us. Aside from this, I see myself thriving in the beauty, fashion, and tech space as well. My industry is very male-dominated, and I desire to change that by paving the way for other women to win.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My approach to artistry is very different, and I refuse to be put in a box creatively. My music is genreless as I infuse R&B, Gospel/Inspirational, and Hip Hop sounds to tell stories. There are multiple layers to my story and my music. I’m most excited about the work I’ve been able to complete during the pandemic. My debut album is set to be released mid-year. Getting to where I am professionally today hasn’t been easy. It’s been a lot of transition, grief, uncertainty, and even some good days, it’s been life. I will discuss a lot of this on the album. It’s the journey of me and how I’ve overcome challenges I thought I would never get out of. I hope that through my story I will inspire others to keep going. Everyone may not have the same story, but we all have one to tell. My faith in God has given me a measure of resilience that I know I wouldn’t have otherwise. So many things transpired in my life that should have made me give up by now, but I know I have to keep going. I understand that this is bigger than me. I’m creating a blueprint for everyone that has ever felt like the underdog. I’ve learned how to be grateful for the simple things, how to view every challenge as an opportunity to grow, I’ve learned how to do it scared and I’ve realized that the only one that can get in my way if allow them to is me. In the world, it’s many people that unfortunately will say and do anything to get to the top. I strongly believe that although your talents will open doors for you, your character is what will keep those doors open. So many people in my industry lose sight of who they are just to make it, and I refuse to do that. What you see is what you get.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is such a hard question because it’s so much to do in the city. Since we’re in a pandemic, my favorite place to be is the house (lol). However, in no particular order, I would take them to Ponce City Market, City Winery, Plant-Based Pizzeria, Buttafly Kisses ATL, The Sundial, The BQE Restaurant & Lounge, The Breakfast Club, Hattie Maries Texas Style BBQ and Cajun Kitchen, Slutty Vegan, Centennial Olympic Park, Botanical Garden, Perimeter Mall, Shops at Buckhead, The Avalon in Alpharetta and I would definitely take them to one of the many karaoke/spoken word spots. I could honestly go on for days because it’s so much to explore here.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It’s been so many people that have been monumental in my journey, so I will say everyone that has played a part in my story and they know who they are. My biggest shoutout would have to go to my granny. She passed away in 2015 and she raised me she was my biggest supporter. She taught me how to be a woman of faith, respect, integrity, and class. She taught me how to love hard on others and give from my heart, even when people make it hard to love. She was my introduction to music. She told me as a child that I was different and wouldn’t fit in with certain crowds and even some family, but that was okay. She helped me find my strength; she was my voice when I wouldn’t speak up for myself, and she fought for me when nobody else would. She taught me that nothing is ever handed to you, to work hard and let God do the rest. She taught me how to save money, how to shop (My shoe addiction came from her lol), and she taught me you don’t just let the clothes wear you but WEAR the clothes. She taught me how to clean, and how to cook, even though I will never be as good as her. We didn’t have much growing up, but everything she had she gave. Everything I am and everything I will ever become is because of God and her.
Don Sheard Jr.