Interview – Cherie Charles

The name Cherie Charles may not 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. musicOMH 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, butreally good. I’ve been doing commercial radio for the last three weeks, soit’s been a pretty mad tour of the UK doing stuff. It’s been great funthough, 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 tobeing “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’mpassionate 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 dynastywere already evident seven years prior when she got the opportunity to singwith 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 wantyou to do,’ which turned out to be No 1. So we recorded it, and here itis!”

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, as I point out, 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 alot of people and they relate to it real good – especially teenagers!”

“I actually write a lot of stuff myself, andit’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 extramaterial to follow.

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

It goes without saying that Cherie comes from a musical family – evenaccounting for her father, there are sisters and a brother who can also singand produce. I’m curious to know the extent of her dad’s influence on herlife, and whether she even sees much of him.

“Yeah, I live with him!” she exclaims incredulously. “He’s a really family fan, 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 andBritney 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 aBritish 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 Cherieis 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, andalthough 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 hersmooth tones before too long.

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