Performances by Akie Bermiss and Cecily Bumbray at the Open Society Foundations Innovation and Impact Forum for Black Male Achievement.
Akie Bermiss is a Brooklyn native reared by former activists in a musical household full of jazz and politics. He began singing in church, moved it to school for a while, and then took it up as a career. He flirted with going professional in high school but gave
it up in the hopes of becoming a better
It was at Bard College that he began to seriously study piano. Under the auspices of John Esposito, Erica Lindsay, and the composers George Tsontakis and Kyle Gann, Akie began
experimenting with form and function in
music. He currently performs with his band Aabaraki and plays with such artists as The Screaming Headless Torsos and the rapper Soul Khan. Akie lives and works in Brooklyn, NY as a singer, songwriter, accompanist, and writer.
Cecily Bumbray is a talented young vocalist and songwriter, destined to make her mark on the music world and
beyond. At the age of 22, she has participated in classical and gospel choirs, she has also sung in a host of school sponsored events and talent showcases.
Cecily describes her style as “unique,” because of the rich appreciation that she has for “the instrument that is the voice.” She has been influenced throughout her life by powerful vocalists and by a broad range of music including Jazz, Blues, Funk, New Jack Swing, and Hip Hop. A decade of studying and performing has provided her with the training to form a secure foundation, enabling this seasoned soprano to perform with confidence and ease.
Cecily recently graduated from historic Swarthmore College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and in Black Studies. She is now in the beginning stages of launching her career as a solo artist, preparing to release her first two singles – “Too Much” and “Crazy for You” – in September of 2012.
Of course, winning a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and walking the coveted Red Carpet would be a dream come true, but Cecily’s ultimate goal is to be known as an artist who is consistent, conscientious, and caring of her art and especially of her growing numbers of fans.