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Pop singer Cecily: from Devonport to the world

Flagstaff Team

Blooming career… Signed to Warner Music, Devonport’s Cecily Danaher releases her latest single before Christmas, and next year plans to take her musical ambitions overseas.

Cecily, Devonport’s latest addition to the pop landscape, has a new single out for Christmas, in between kick-boxing and reading Agatha Christie novels.

Red Flags hits the airwaves on 20 December. It’s about “giving people a lot of chances even when you shouldn’t,” says Cecily, in an interview at her central Devonport home.

Another single is planned for release in January and an EP – likely to be six tracks – in February.

First known around Devonport as Cecily Danaher, she went to Devonport Primary and then Carmel College. Cecily cut her musical teeth at  Victoria Theatre open-mic nights from 2015 on.

She learnt piano and wrote songs from a young age “but no one heard them”, as she didn’t perform in public until she finished school.

The Vic open mic nights changed all that. She was spotted singing Father’s Day – about her father – and Mike Chunn, a former member of Split Enz and founder of the Play it Strange charitable trust and songwriting incubator, was tipped off to a promising new talent. The song was recorded, with the accompanying video shot in Devonport. Cecily signed with independent label Big Pop  in 2017 and Warner Music in 2018.

Cecily has since put out two singles,  Awake and Thinking Bout Me. Both have been downloaded more than 100,000 times on music-streaming platforms.

Financially they have been a drop in the bucket so far, with sales yet to cover production costs.

“I don’t make any money from the streaming,” she says. “It all goes to my record label.”

Piano forte… Cecily learnt music and wrote songs from a young age, but held off performing in public until she left school

Cecily (22)  completed a BA in English and Art History at the end of 2018 and spent this year on her music, which develops first on the piano.

“I want to make the most of the opportunities… I hope to travel overseas with it [in 2020].”

She describes her musical style as “sad-girl pop” and is a great admirer of Mazzy Star, who sang the hit Fade Into You.

Cecily supplements her income with a job as a kick-boxing instructor at Devonport’s Just Workout gym.

She started kick-boxing aged 16 and has been a teacher for the last four years. She likes the energy it generates.

“You can’t be a kick-boxer if you don’t want to let off a little steam.”

While she knows about Devonport’s musical pedigree, she’s come after the wave somewhat. “My mum used to run a chess class that was attended by Lorde’s sister,” she says wryly.

Cecily relaxes by reading, and has set herself the task of reading all of whodunnit author Agatha Christie’s novels. Currently she is past the 30 mark.

She and her mother Felicity also foster cats.

“We once had 20 cats at the same time – we got one cat that was pregnant and it had five babies – it was pretty chaotic.

This article originally appeared in the 13 December edition of the Devonport Flagstaff. Download PDF.