Singer/Songwriter Cherri V is busy promoting her recent new single "Leave Me Be"' which is produced by Joey Stickz. Currently preparing to release her upcoming debut album, finishing “Brown Eyed Soul,” we spoke to the UK RnB star about her music, joining Teedra Moses on tour and more.
SMC: How did music find you?
Cherri V: Music found me through my family and attending church. Although I wasn't the most forthcoming when it came to expression and performing as a child, I was heavily persuaded because of other singers in my family including my mum. My mum, a gospel singer, now was a signed artist back then and had her ears to the ground naturally when it came to emerging and established RnB artists. Especially from the U.S as she was back and forth. My mum introduced me to RnB veterans like Brandy, Mary J Blige, Jodeci, etc. before their presence was as prominent here in the U.K. Looking back I didn't realize how insightful that was then and how much it played a big part in shaping my sound today.
SMC: “Leave Me Be” seems to showcase a vulnerable side of yourself? What was the inspiration behind this song?
Cherri V: My goal going forward was 'Connection Over Numbers' and in order to achieve that I had to realize that I'd have to strip back a few layers and allow myself to be vulnerable. The inspiration behind that song was merely where I was at socially at that moment. I went through stages of beating myself up for not being 'little miss bubbly' ALL THE TIME and somewhat being judged for that, for giving off a bad first impression just because I was in a mellow chilled out mood that day. Or having a resting face that wasn't that inviting cause I was thinking about my entire life an argument I had or what I was gonna cook for dinner the next day lol a plethora of thoughts. So as I begin to write down what I was feeling to the track, with no filter, it just became a small cry for acceptance explanation and encouragement for others to meet people where they are. Sometimes deep, it and gives a person room to simmer. *Laughs*
SMC: Is it ever difficult performing songs that are deeply personal?
Cherri V: Absolutely! Especially if it takes you back to a space you are no longer in. The other day someone asked me to perform a very personal track of mine from a few years back called "Greedy eyes" I was stunned. My first thought was "I gotta go back there? Ok" Let me just put a knife in the old wound then and open it up. *Laughs*
There's also a song on my forthcoming album called "Brown Girl”, which is based on colorism and police brutality - THAT SONG is difficult to perform but always leaves a lasting impression, so I cling to that notion when the lump rises in my throat.
SMC: What made you decide to name your upcoming album Brown Eyed Soul?
Cherri V: The term 'Blue Eyed soul' inspired me to flip the script.
SMC: What was it like sharing a stage with Teedra Moses?
Cherri V: Was really nice because the audience was very warm and ready to soak up some live RnB music. It's always nice to perform on the Jazz Cafe stage too, so I was grateful for the opening slot. As there isn't such a great RnB presence here in the U.K compared to the states, I really respect when U.S artists come over for their sold out shows and personally try and shed some light on U.K RnB and use their influence to help the genre grow in this territory.
SMC: Did she offer you any pearls of wisdom during your time together?
Cherri V: Teedra is one of the nicest artists I've met on my journey. She was so supportive and sincere. She has a lot of substance, and you can hear that when she talks on stage and while she performs. She just encouraged me to embrace my artistry 100% and use what I have to take me to the next level. She expressed that she loved my sound as well and that was a major compliment because her first album is a classic to me and I fell in love with her voice the very first time I heard her! ''Twas a moment indeed!
SMC: You have an incredibly supportive fan base, but do you ever get disheartened by the music business?
Cherri V: I'm so grateful for the support I have received this far and look forward to gaining more...
There are moments of disappointment definitely, but I think as I've grown I've become a lot better at handling them. It's a very unpredictable business and getting accustomed to that is hard for anyone but as long as you keep passion and purpose at the forefront many things are possible.
SMC: We love your braids in “Leave Me Be”. How do you keep your crown healthy?
Cherri V: Thank you I had them styled by Radiant Salon, London, I’m actually loving the break from wigs/weaves. *Laughs*
I'm quite simple when it comes to keeping my crown healthy. I have 3c/4a type hair, and I swear by organic coconut oil, Argan oil strength & Shine leave in conditioner, and for gels I'm in between IC hair polisher gel and olive oil eco styling gel....I've had a nightmare trying to find products that don't flake in my hair, so I try and keep it simple.
SMC: What is Black Girl Magic to you?
Cherri V: Owning your melanin despite the adversities... Becoming the word beautiful rather than obtaining it from societies standards...
Embracing your authentic self and kicking a whole lotta derrière while smelling like Shea butter and pink oil moisturizer. *Laughs*