London-based singer-songwriter, Cherée is on our list of artists to watch in 2017. With a growing music library Cherée’s sound multi-dimensional, thematic sound always projects a strong message.
Fresh off the release of her new single “Just Like Me“, we caught up with Cherée to talk about her passion for music, development of her sound and songwriting process. Check out our interview and stream Cherée’s new single below.
Sonic Selects (SS): When did you first develop a passion for music?
Cherée: When I was 8, I would watch videos on Yahoo Music because that was our home page on the computer. When I watched those videos it inspired me to be like the women singing these songs. My sister and parents always played a lot of music around the house. It was such a mixture of stuff, but I always had an excitement when it came to hearing music, no matter what it was.
SS: Growing up in London, can you describe how your surroundings influenced your artistry?
Cherée: I think the rawness of London is in the way that I write and the mix of sounds in my music. I think we’re less polished or structured in the UK and I like that a lot, it feels honest.
SS: What impact have your influences had on the way you make music?
Cherée: I have been influenced a lot by really great writers, like Frank Ocean, Lauryn Hill or Amy Winehouse. I really hope that I can create imagery and emotion through my words the way that they do. I’m still learning as I go, but I’d like my writing to be as poetic as theirs.
I also listened to a lot of old R&B growing up. I love the use of melody and harmony in that era of music. In future records, you’ll hear a lot more of my homage to that.
Cherée: It was different with each but overall, I think they all showed great attention to detail and a way of listening to my tastes while still putting themselves into the track, those things are important to me.
I easily focus on one aspect and stay in my own bubble of vision, so I love working with people who can easily express their own perspective.
SS: How has working with each of producer helped in the development of your sound?
Cherée: It has got me paying more attention to details in the tracks. I can remember with both Tanaka and Tidelines, as they were developing the tracks I thought it sounded finished when they were only like half way through and then they’d suggest something or add more layers that took the song somewhere else. It has taught me to push a little further and think, ‘what more could there be?’.
SS: How do you see your sound evolving? Are there any producers you want to work with?
Cherée: I definitely would like to show more of my love for old school Hip-Hop and R&B. So far, I’ve explored my interests in Alternative R&B and electronic sounds because I was so into that while writing these songs. lately I’ve come back to my childhood loves and I want to show that in the records. It’d be a dream to work with Pharrell Williams, Mike Dean, Timbaland… there’s so many I could list!
Lately, I’ve come back to my childhood loves and I want to show that in the records. It’d be a dream to work with Pharrell Williams, Mike Dean, Timbaland… there’s so many I could list!
SS: What is your songwriting process like?
Cherée: I usually start with a melody. If the basis of the track is already there, like a chord sequence, then I play off the sounds, hum some lines and see what topics it feels like to me. Usually, the sounds will take me to a memory or maybe a single line of lyrics and then I work around that topic.
I tend to write fast to try and get out what is most natural to that song and then I’ll go over it and tweak wording or parts of melodies.
SS: Not only does every one of the tracks you’ve released have honest lyrics but they establish a feeling for the listener. How important is it to provide honest lyrics with feeling as an artist?
Cherée: I think it’s really important because I want people to engage with what I’m singing about and for that to make a connection with them.
In life, when something is forced you can feel it and that creates a disconnect. I love music because it pulls on parts of my soul that I want to express or didn’t even know were there. I want my music to do that for people.
SS: What challenges have you encountered in your writing process?
Cherée: Sometimes I wonder if parts of my lyrics make sense or if the message is clear, but I’ve realized to let that go a little because words that mean one thing to me, will mean something else to another person and that’s the beauty in music. It affects us all differently but it can difficult to know what will make sense to others outside of your own thoughts.
SS: Is there a story that you’d like to share about how your music has impacted one of your fans?
Cherée: I’ve had a friend tell me they couldn’t listen to a song of mine because they knew what situation and point in time I was writing about and it bothered them to hear me sing those words. I think it’s interesting that music can affect us so much, but I’m glad that it reflected how I felt
I think it’s interesting that music can affect us so much, but I’m glad that it reflected how I felt authentically because they know me, they understand how raw my music can be for me to sing.
SS: For the remainder of 2017, what’s next for Cherée?
Cherée: I’m writing more and trying to explore other sides of my music that haven’t been heard. I want a fuller picture of my sounds and influences to be painted as time goes on. I defiantly have more music coming soon that’ll show you another aspect.
SS: Finally, for someone listening to Cherée for the first time, what should they expect to hear?
Cherée: A mesh of honest struggles, playfulness and inner strength. Amongst the darker thoughts, there’s always a sense of strength.