London born Cherri V has been tipped by some as the female NeYo, describing her sound as “R&B–pop.” Writing all her own tracks the young songstress has been on the scene since as far back as 2005 when she was part of R&B trio Trinity Stone.
Although music was always a part of her family, what with her mother and aunt (soul legend Mica Paris) both part of the industry, Cherri reveals that her first foray into the performing arts came in the form of dance, having embarked on her first professional tour at the age of 16. Dancing is, evidently still very important to Cherri, responding to probes about what she would do if she were not a singer with the suggestion that she would perhaps teach choreography to younger children. “I’d still be part of entertainment,” she ascertains confidently.
Laughing while telling the story, Cherri reveals how at a young age she had written her mother a long, heartfelt letter about how she wanted to be a singer. “Ananan I’m gonna be a famous singer!” she laughs, put-on, high-pitched whiny voice to boot. Cherri majored in drama at Brit School, mainly due to the belief that music came naturally to her, whereas acting and dancing were things she had to work at “to perfect my craft.”
But studying drama did come in useful. “It helped me to let go and just be vulnerable,” she reveals, something that is evident in her lyrics and her performances, passion supremely evident both through the words and the manner in which they are sung.
“Sometimes it comes to the point where you’re writing stuff and listening to it and you’re just like, ‘ohhh I just told my whole life story. Shut up shut up shut up Cherri shut up,” she laughs. Evidently basing the majority of her lyrics on real life or on things she’s seen around her, such as experiences her friends go through, there isn’t much she deems too personal to discuss, bar perhaps sexuality. “On Shades Of Red (her latest EP, cop it here) there is a song that’s a little bit cheeky though,” she says as she erupts into laughter, again.
“I’m just sharing my life with melody and song,” she says revealing how at times she has been overwhelmed by the extent to which people relate; citing in particular her track ‘Silent Lover,’ featuring Baby Blue, which was based on a relationship where the other person wanted to keep her a secret. Revealing how women have approached her with their own experiences, she expresses her surprise, and her belief that as women, (and human beings) we can all share our experiences and learn from each other.
Listen: Cherri V – “Silent Lover”
Highly praised for her lyricism, perhaps this is, in part due to the writing camp she was once upon a time part of, along with the likes of super producer Harmony, SDM and Mark who is now a part of Encore. “I always had them to kinda encourage and bounce ideas off each other,” she reveals.
“Sometimes its harder if you’re just by yourself and thinking ah no one understands my struggles or whatever.” Although still occasionally working together on their individual projects, these days, Cherri has her family to turn to, citing, in particular her grandmother as an encouraging force whenever, and if ever she feels like giving up.
And having been on the scene for such a long time, many question how far she has come in relation to where she “should” be. “But I don’t think success is about the destination; it’s about the journey,” she maintains, “and every day I wake up and do what I love to do… Where I am today is a lot better than where I was last year.” And put like that, there isn’t really any more to say on the matter.
Refusing to compare herself to artists the likes of Beverley Knight and Shola Ama who some may say have paved the way for artists like Cherri, she praises them for their support, emphasizing that although she can’t say she’s doing anything better than them; “there’s only one Cherri, innit.”
One thing that inspires and encourages Cherri to keep going is the fact that UK artists are becoming more and more mainstream, often dominating the charts and festivals, as opposed to US artists previously looming large. “It shows that it can be done… We’ve got our own style now,” she goes on to explain, “our own vibe that even people in Europe and the US are starting to notice.” To this respect, her aims are to be an established and respected singer / songwriter both in this country and “other territories,” as well as, of course, being happy, “as I am now.”
In addition to her lyrics, Cherri is also relatively well known for her refixes of popular tracks the likes of Tinie Tempah’s ‘Pass Out.’ “There’s a lot of songs I like out there that are Hip Hop based and there’s a lot of excitement going on with the male artists and emcees over here, so it’s nice to put my spin on it” she reveals, claiming that apart from helping you reach a wider audience, it is also nice for women to feel they can relate (even more) to the tracks they love, once the perspective has been changed.
Self proclaimed as “a bit too obsessed” with Frank Ocean’s Nostalgia, Ultra she reveals that although many (myself included) have suggested she refixes one of his songs, she tends to only remix those emceeed, “maybe like a sung chorus or something… but never of a singer,” she ascertains.
Having just released her Shades of Red EP, the singer/songwriter is currently working on her debut album, expected sometime next year. “I think there is that first album fear,” she says, discussing how the first album is often compiled over a number of years, and therefore that sometimes it is difficult to top, especially considering new artists don’t have as much time to put their “heart and soul” into the second one. “I think that would be like one of my ‘ahh’ moments,” she reveals. Obviously very excited, however, Cherri is working hard on the album, as well as performing live. Be sure to check her out when you can.