A Star on the Rise: A Conversation with Cherée

Cherée © Bolade Banjo
Cherée © Bolade Banjo

I want people to be able to listen to my song and through the feel and words, be able to relate to my emotions.

London has been home to an immeasurable amount of fantastic musicians. If you ask Cherée, what makes London so inspiring is that it is a “melting pot” and the city, along with the UK in general, allows people to create music that is more “raw and unpolished”. The 20 year-old R&B singer, whose released singles have shown incredible promise, is definitely a star on the rise. Her music is mature and unique, tackling issues like love and relationships through a perspective that is somehow only hers, but also universal. Her voice is hypnotic, and when juxtaposed with her beats and smooth melodies, she creates a world of her own.

Atwood Magazine caught up with Cherée to talk about her influences, music, and what’s next for her in 2017.

Listen: “For Me” – Cherée

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Atwood Magazine: Your family comes from a very culturally diverse background - do you think that influenced your music at all?

Cherée: Somewhat, but I guess I was more influenced by my surroundings more than the cultures I’m from. My sister was part of the generation that was heavy on UK garage so I heard that a lot as a kid and she also got me into artists like Aaliyah or Mariah Carey and a lot of Hip-Hop which I just dug deeper into as I got older. Growing up in London Itself gets you aware of culture – I would listen to Grime, Dancehall and Afrobeats with friends. If anything my cultures made me more aware of other music out there but I wouldn’t say it directly influences the music I create.

Your music is very atmospheric; each track is a three-dimensional and full listening experience. What kind of world are you trying to create with your music, if any?

Cherée: I focus heavy on lyrics when I listen to music in general, but in instrumentation I get drawn to feeling, so rather than something just having a catchy melody or drum line I think a lot about how I feel while listening to it, so I guess that’s why it tends to be so atmospheric. I want people to be able to listen to my song and through the feel and words, be able to relate to my emotions.

I want people to be able to listen to my song and through the feel and words, be able to relate to my emotions.

What or who inspires you the most, both lyrically and musically?

Cherée: I write a lot about different types of relationships and how we deal with emotions as people. People in general inspire me. I love the way Amy Winehouse writes, so raw and honest and Frank Ocean has a way of making really simple, relatable things sound poetic – I love both of them as writers.

I’ve read you are inspired by strong women - who are your icons?

Cherée: After reading about Maya Angelou’s life I got a new found admiration for her. I’m inspired by Beyoncé – her career and her work ethic. Eartha Kitt is an inspiration. I love how strong and feisty she seems. Kelis has also been someone I love especially during her ‘Kaliedescope’ period.

Your lyrics are very mature, honest, and self-reflective. When you’re writing, what drives you, is it getting a message across, pouring your heart out, learning from a past experience?

Cherée: A lot of it is about lessons. I’ve realised that I tend to write things that I don’t even wanna admit and I’ll read over it after and think oh shit, that’s why I’ve been stressed out for so long. Its a release for me and I hope it can be that for people who listen and can relate to it.

Cherée © Thursday
Cherée © Thursday

Your singles have generated a lot of buzz; what’s next for you?

Cherée: I just want to keep growing and getting better as a musician. I have a lot of different styles in me that I’d like to show and doing a live show would be amazing. I’m excited to perform. I have a lot of ideas in my head.

You mention that your songs are very personal to you, and hold a sort of vulnerability and empowerment to them. Do you think your songwriting keeps with the same themes usually, or does it tend to vary?

Cherée: I think what I’ve put out so far has been similar in theme, discussing love and lust, but I have a lot coming soon that digs into more personal topics, self reassurance, my childhood and being a young woman and the things we go through mentally.

Being from London, how did that diverse musical landscape affect your sound, if at all?

Cherée: The thing I love about music from the UK, especially from the underground, is that it feels a lot more raw and unpolished in comparison to what’s coming from say the States. I try to keep that feeling in my music. I think my music as a whole can be a bit of a melting pot, and that’s just London in itself.

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How and when did you definitively know that you wanted to be a singer?

Cherée: I remember being about 9 and making up dance routines and I’d be singing, writing up songs as I went along. That was always so comfortable to me and never anything I’ve gotten bored of. It feels so natural for me to be connected to my voice in that way and express myself like that so I guess since then I’ve known I wanted to be able to do that as much as possible in my life.

What is the best piece of advice you've received that has continued to push you toward your goals?

Cherée: I have a childhood friend that I grew up with and we’d always have these long convos at night chilling on the estate, about life, aliens, just all these random things. I remember once he said, “Imagine all these people who get to 40 and realise they hate their life and didn’t do the things they wanted to. God forbid that’s us,” and just that whole idea of living a life that you truly want is what drives me. 

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Cherée © Bolade Banjo

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:: Listen to more Cherée ::

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