Cherine Anderson has been making waves since her debut in the entertainment industry. It’s Dancehall music like no other: a genre that has graced the world with hypnotic dance moves, hot beats and talented artists. However, Cherine sets apart from the rest by delivering a unique sound she describes as “where street meets sweet”. The queen of Dancehall-Soul has come a long way indeed; from impressing audiences with her captivating on screen performance in the popular ‘Dancehall Queen‘, to rocking out at Madison Square Garden, and touring with international artists like Sly & Robbie, John Mayer, and Counting Crows. There is no border Cherine will not cross to take her music to listeners worldwide.
Currently she’s working hard on her debut album and making plans on getting back on the road, but Cherine still managed to take some time out from her busy schedule to give us an interview. Watch the hot new music video for her latest single ‘Make Up Sex‘ below, and check out the exclusive interview to learn more about Cherine’s journey:
EY: Thank you for taking the time. In your words, tell us who Cherine Anderson is.
CA: Cherine is a singer, songwriter and actress from Kingston Jamaica.
EY: You made your film debut in 1997, starring in the popular ‘Dancehall Queen’. How did you land that role, and what was the experience like working with the cast and production to create a film that would become internationally known?
CA: Dancehall Queen was my first film and I had the honor of working with some of Jamaica’s most talented actors and actresses. At the time I had only been a part of theatre productions with minor roles here and there, but this was the first time I was doing a film. I was like a sponge just soaking up all the do’s and don’ts.
EY: Upon making appearances in ‘Dancehall Queen’ and later-on ‘One Love’ you received recognition as an actress, so did you transition into singing or was that something you’ve wanted to do even before becoming an actress?
CA: I have always been a singer. Even before the movies I was singing especially as a member of ASHE (one of the Caribbean’s leading musical theatre companies). The opportunities for films came first but I have always been a singer. It was a natural progression after doing films to move into music as it offered me another forum to fulfill my dreams of being an all round entertainer.
EY: Many actresses upon deciding on starting a music career receive flak for it; were you taken seriously as a singer after debuting with your single ‘Good Love’ in 2006?
CA: I’ve been one of the blessed ones. I’ve been supported and by some of the most respected people in the business, like my mentors Sly & Robbie as well as my manager Patrick Lindsay. Well before releasing my own songs, while still in high school, I was blessed to be singing background vocals, writing and/or arranging vocals on projects for icons like Toots, Shaggy, Bootsy Collins, among others.
-“My style is uniquely my own because at the core it’s all me.”
EY: Describe your style of music.
CA: Dancehall-SOUL. Dancehall Soul is where street meets sweet. My music is like a melting pot of all the genres of music that I love like R&B, Hip-Hop, Jazz and Rock, but it is anchored in dancehall and reggae because that’s my roots. It’s music that is for the every day people. Dancehall Soul has a certain level of rebelliousness to it but it’s real music about real issues and real people. My style is uniquely my own because at the core it’s all me. I do not limit my musical style to one subject matter. I could be singing about ‘cheating boyfriends’ on one song to the something as politically charged as ‘Kingston State of Mind’ on the next. It represents my experiences as well as the people around me.
EY: Your songs are often thought-provoking, whether it’s encouraging women to stand their ground with a cheating man in ‘Talk If Yuh Talking’, or addressing injustice and other deep issues in ‘Kingston State of Mind’. What inspires you to write these songs?
CA: LIFE. I write from either my experiences or the experiences of friends and people around me. We do live in an ever changing and challenging world so my music is based in the realities of my surroundings.
EY: Recently you were touring with Michael Franti & Spearhead, John Mayer, Counting Crows, and Sly & Robbie. What was it like touring with these musicians, and has any had any significant impact on you as an artist?
CA: At every step of this journey it’s been more and more amazing. Touring with Sly & Robbie was great. They were the first musicians to take me on an official tour of the US and later Europe. I learned so much in the beginning about connecting with the international reggae audience. Through Sly and Robbie I got the opportunity to work with Michael Franti on his “All Rebel Rocker’s Album” that they produced and we had a great working chemistry. Michael invited me to tour with him, so we spent great time on the road touring North America, Europe and also Australia. That was also an amazing time. I learned a lot from Michael who as you may know is a true experienced performer. Through these opportunities I definitely grew as a singer and performer. The crowds were bigger and even more diverse. During the period I was blessed to be featured on a song with Michael called “Say Hey (I Love You)” that hit several billboard charts and was a major top 40 hitJ. Michael again asked me to join him and his band Spearhead on tours with John Mayer and Counting Crows. The one thing I have learned from all these acts is the importance of hard work and staying committed and focus to making great music and being open to learning and growing as an artist.
EY: You had the opportunity to perform at three events to commemorate the inauguration of President Barack Obama. What was that experience like for you?
CA: It was great to have the opportunity to perform at the inaugural Peace Ball and Green Ball, and the Rock-The-Vote/Calvin Klien inaugural party to celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama. I have to say it was truly an honor to join Michael Franti and Spearhead for what were truly exciting and rewarding performances. This was such a great moment in history and to be able to share stage with some of the worlds most celebrated musicians. I also got the chance to meet one of my role models Harry Belafonte. It was just a great experience. I can still feel the excitement just talking about the whole event.
EY: Cherine, describe your feelings on being the first Jamaican female artist to reach the Billboard Rock Charts, and having your empowering anthem ‘Shine on Jamaica’ top international and local reggae charts.
CA: Wow! All I can say is I’ve been one blessed girl and I try to live in the moment and enjoy these things when they happen. The Billboard rock chart was an interesting one because I didn’t even realize it until it was pointed out to me. I realized the song was on 6 billboard charts simultaneously and I remembered when it top the heatseekers charts but it wasn’t until a few weeks after that that it was brought to my attention. “Shine on Jamaica” was another surprise. The song was released in Jamaica a few months before the release of my EP “The introduction-Dubstyle” and it got good feedback but nothing crazy. My team pushed the song out to Djs in North America and Europe and it got an overwhelming response in some key reggae markets. The song quickly topped the NY and South Florida reggae charts and spent 4 consecutive weeks at #1 on both charts. I feel particularly happy about this because it is a song of up-liftment. “Shine on Jamaica” continues to surprise me, it’s was featured on Sly & Robbie’s 2011 Grammy nominated album One Pop Reggae.
EY: That’s quite impressive. How do you remain humble throughout it all?
CA: I really try to stay focused. I am not willing to settle and I keep pushing everyday to be a better songwriter, singer and just to be a better person. I’ve discovered some beautiful things and met some wonderful people but I still feel like I am at the beginning. The best of Cherine is to come.
EY: Tell us about your debut EP ‘The Introduction-Dubstyle’, in terms of concept?
CA: The idea behind “The Introduction-Dubstyle EP” was to introduce the world to my music. Its purpose was really to be a precursor to my debut album. However, the music business continues to change and evolve and while we plan on releasing an album we realize that it’s very important to make sure that the world gets to know Cherine ahead of an album. We’re planning a release this year and I am truly looking forward to delivering a project that truly reflects the versatility of Cherine. The EP supported my growing fan base who wanted a body of work from Cherine, so the EP was completed and released. We compiled a few reggae hits like “Coming Over” and “Kingston State of Mind” but my team and I thought it would be a great idea to pay homage to the dub era of reggae so we made some of the songs longer than the radio format with more of a dub element. I was blessed to have some of reggae’s most celebrated icons like legendary engineer Errol Brown (Bob Marley), Sly & Robbie, Gussie Clarke, Christopher Birch, David Norland among others who produced and supported me on the project.
EY: Recently you released a music video for the song ‘Make up Sex’. A quite interesting one indeed. Can you provide us with more details about the song and the inspiration behind it?
CA: The song and video for “Make up Sex” was recently released and the feedback has been very positive. Making the video was a lot of fun. In many ways my alter ego took control in this video.
EY: When are you planning on releasing the debut album? I know a lot of your fans are anxiously waiting.
CA: I am really anxious about releasing this album too and I can’t wait to play the new songs for all my Dancehall Souldiers. My debut album will be out later this year. I am also looking forward to getting back on the road and look forward to interacting with audiences around the world. I love the stage.
EY: Any major plans for the New Year? Maybe doing another film back home [Jamaica], or doing something overseas?
CA: My debut album is the major project on the agenda for this year and also going on the road with more live performances. However I know my manager is in talks about a few exciting projects but I’m sworn to secrecy until everything has the green light. This is going to be an exciting year.
EY: Please send a message to your fans worldwide.
CA: Thank you Dancehall Souldiers all over the world for your support. I appreciate you so much. There is new music coming so stay tuned and get ready to have a blast in 2011.
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