Simply Cecily at the GRAMMYs!
Posted: Mar 31 2014
If you know me, I don’t really watch TV. I’d much rather listen to some music, sit down at the sewing machine or play with my mini me. But on January 26th, I was excited about watching The GRAMMYs because I was hoping to get a glimpse of one of my dresses on the red carpet. Well that didn’t happen BUT the fact that two amazing women, Singer Deborah Bond and Wendi Cherry (Executive Director of The Recording Academy® – D.C. Chapter) were wearing Simply Cecily at events during Grammy’s week was enough for me. So, last week I sat down with them and wanted to share their story with all of you!
Cecily: Thank you both so much for talking with me. Wendi, tell us about what led you to your position at The Recording Academy.
Wendi: Upon college graduation, I worked at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem as a stylist in the wardrobe department. I realized that I wasn’t good at it, I didn’t like it and I really just wanted to travel. So eventually I came to D.C. and decided that I wanted to go back into the entertainment industry. I later joined The Recording Academy and have been here for seven years.
Cecily: That’s interesting that you started out as a stylist at the Apollo and didn’t like it! Wow. Deborah, tell us about how you got started in the music industry.
Deborah: I grew up drawn to music and loving the sound of music. My parents listened to a lot of funk and soul and I was a kid in the 80s when MTV when was huge. I just absorbed a lot of music. I eventually connected with some musicians that I felt could help me bring out my dreams. When I finished school, I connected with my band and we did three songs together that ended up being on my first album.
Cecily: At what point do you remember that you really wanted to become a singer?
Deborah: It wasn’t until after the college. I knew that I would be the happiest if I was performing. When I met different people, they really got me thinking about it and exploring the idea. Then I realized that singing was really what I wanted to do in life.
Cecily: So what’s it like going to The GRAMMYs?
Wendi: The GRAMMY is a peer award given to those who exhibit excellence in music. However, we plan events for our 12 local chapters all year long. Though people see The GRAMMYs on Sunday, we have events all week long prior to that. One of the highlights was the MusiCares Person of the Year Award presented to Carole King. All of the funds support MusiCares to help musicians in time of need. The unofficial events are just as fun since everyone in the music business comes to LA to network and party.
Deborah: For me, The GRAMMYs is an event to have a great time. The events I went to were on point. When you’re in LA, having the right pieces to wear is really important so that you can present yourself well in front of all of the industry people. I felt that way with my Simply Cecily dress. It’s quite surreal being in a room with people like Stevie Wonder, Madonna, and John Legend.
Cecily: Did y’all get any sleep?
Wendi: Yes, I took a lot of naps. The first year I went I was so sick because I didn’t know it was a hustle. But I learned pretty quickly.
Cecily: Deborah, describe your style and the way you like to dress.
Deborah: My style is very similar to my music. My music is a fusion of so many flavors that I have been exposed to. I love funk, R&B and electronica and I can fuse them into different songs. With my style, I love clothes and can change it up from day to day. I love maxi dresses, bright collars, pin stripes and bell-bottoms. I believe that fashion really speaks to who you are.
Cecily: Wendi, what made you decide to wear Simply Cecily to the Grammys?
Wendi: I love being able to showcase the African side of me. I took my DNA test from African Ancestry and we’re sisters! We’re both from Cameroon. I got a lot of compliments from all types of people. One of my goals for this year is to go to Africa so I’m taking steps on becoming more conscious of the motherland.
Cecily: What country would you like to go to?
Wendi: My maternal side is from Cameroon. So once we get the paternal test results back, we’ll decide which country to visit first. I plan to film a documentary around it and show people how empowering this knowledge can be for them and their family.
Cecily: That’s pretty amazing that you’re going to make a documentary about your experience. I can’t wait to see it. Which GRAMMY events did you wear your Simply Cecily pieces?
Deborah: I wore my Simply Cecily dress to the Merritt Awards and Nominee Reception and another event in the morning. That dress got a lot attention. People were like your dress is gorgeous! I definitely stood out and immediately got attention. It was so comfortable and so bright. It was completely perfect for me.
Wendi: I wore your peplum top to a GRAMMY event that featured Lalah Hathaway and Will.I.Am’s fundraiser event. And of course I wore your gown to the actual GRAMMY Awards ceremony. It was a hit for sure!
Cecily: Anything else you’d like to share?
Wendi: I was born to Inspire, Connect and Empower others to move closer to their purpose and destiny. I’m also getting to know myself and my familial history. It’s been a great journey to inspire myself and connect with my people here and soon in Africa. And it will be even more meaningful to empower others to do the same because I feel like we all have a story to share.
Cecily: You both have been great. Thanks so much for talking with me!