Music Interviews

Interview: Cherie Charles

Cherie Charles

Cherie Charles

The name Cherie Charles may not yet seem familiar, but if I replaced Charles with Ocean and said her father’s name is Billy, then you might immediately think: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”

Well the going’s pretty good for Billy’s daughter at the moment, for she’s recently signed to a major record label and released a spanking pop single, No 1. We got into her car (via a phone line, naturally) to ask a few questions.

Our call finds the songstress in Bristol. “I’m having a hectic time, but really good. I’ve been doing commercial radio for the last three weeks, so it’s been a pretty mad tour of the UK doing stuff. It’s been great fun though, I’ve performed here In Bristol alongside Jamelia, Peter Andre, 411, the Sugababes and others. Getting on stage and performing No 1 live has been a real buzz.”

Cherie comes across as an endearing, softly spoken girl who admits to being “a little shy” but certainly knowing what’s in store for her.

“It’s going to take time, it’s all gradual. It’s my thing and it’s what I’m passionate about, so I’m really excited and will take each day as it comes. I’ve been really lucky so haven’t got anything to complain about.”

“It’s all about looking out for number one in life. I’ve found that’s struck a chord with a lot of people.” – Cherie Charles reveals the lyrical motivation behind her debut single. Whatever happened to altruism…

Cherie is now 22, but the signs for prolonging the Ocean family dynasty were already evident seven years prior when she got the opportunity to sing with Chaka Khan. She was approached by Steve Jenkins of Jive’s A & R, and in February he picked up on one of her demos.

“It was amazing, he just said to me, ‘I really want to sign you, and I’ve got this great song I want you to do,’ which turned out to be No 1. So we recorded it, and here it is!” Cherie now has to contend with seeing her face around the place, not tomention talking to strange interviewers. “It’s quite exciting, seeing yourself on the Box, saying, ‘Yes! Request this now!'”

However, No 1 isn’t a song about achieving maximum chart status. “No, it’s all about looking out for number one in life. I’ve found that’s struck a chord with a lot of people and they relate to it real good – especially teenagers.”

“I actually write a lot of stuff myself, and it’s very important for me to keep doing that” – Cherie Charles on how she doesn’t just want to be a pop puppet

With such a swift rise to Jive’s front line, I wonder if there’s extra material to follow.

“I’ve been doing a couple of extra tracks – think we’ve looked at about five so far. I actually write a lot of stuff myself, and it’s very important for me to keep doing that for creativity, helping me to find myself.”

It goes without saying that Cherie comes from a musical family – even accounting for her father, there are sisters and a brother who can also sing and produce. I’m curious to know the extent of her dad’s influence on her life, and whether she even sees much of him. “Yeah, I live with him!” she exclaims incredulously. “He’s a really family man, and the family means a lot to all of us – we’re all there for each other.”

Aw, how sweet. And does he give her advice? “Not really. All he’s said to me is just relax and be myself, ‘cos at the end of the day I’m a very different person to him and want to do things my own way.”

“All he’s said to me is just relax and be myself.” – Billy Ocean’s advice to his daughter Cherie Charles as she embarks on her pop career.

Cherie’s label mates are none other than Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, and she fully appreciates that it might take sometime to get alongside them.

“It’s a bit mad, being on the same label as them, but they’ve not always had it easy and it took a while for Justin, in particular with ‘N Sync. As a British artist I think it’s great to be on that label – most of the others have come from a completely different background to me.”

Keeping her feet on the ground, it doesn’t look like Cherie is heading for any diva-type tantrums. “You don’t expect anything, so don’t take advantage of anything,” she says. “I’m not going to change just ‘cos I’ve signed this deal and put a record out, I’m still the same girl at heart.”

She’s made a confident, assured start in her musical career, and although No 1 hasn’t set the charts alight, it’s worth hearing as a polished, catchy debut record. If her following material is as competent, you can expect her to be dressing the airwaves with her smooth tones before too long.

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Interview: Cherie Charles