Born and raised in Berkshire with her younger brother and sister, 22 -year-old Cherie is the proud daughter of 80’s icon Billy Ocean, citing him as one of the biggest influences in her life. “When I was younger, and this sounds silly, but to me he was just my dad, it was only as I got older that I started to appreciate his music and realise just how successful he had been. He really did make some amazing songs.’Even though she is clearly a chip off the old block, she hasn’t been keento use her father’s name to help her make it. ‘I’ve workedhard to get where I am now, and yes my dad was a successful artist in the musicindustry but this is my turn to show what I can do and he has been nothing butsupportive.’
She had her first taste of singing live whilst studying Music GCSE, she studied hard to play percussion in a school orchestra that performed all over Europe (‘Hey, playing percussion is harder than you think!’) but didn’t concentrate on her voice until a bit later. ‘I had singing lessons to help improve my voice even though my dad would say ‘it’s a natural talent why do you need to be taught it?’ but there’s so much more to singing than just, well, singing.’
Cherie went on to study Commercial Music at University of Westminster and went on to work for a concert promotion company to help pay her way in between recording demos.
The hard work finally paid off when Jive records (home to Justin Timberlake, Eamon and Britney Spears) heard her demo. ‘It really was a dream come true when they told me that they wanted to offer me a deal, they gave me a song they wanted me to record and I literally went in and recorded it and signed the paperwork the next day. You never hear of it happening like that do you?’
Growing up, she listened to some of the greats, including Chaka Kahn (‘She’s a legend’), Whitney Houston (‘Saving All My Love For You’ was my audition song’) and the Motown classics (It’s just not possible to pick a favourite – they are all incredible songs.’). Now she’s just as happy listening to some of the newer R&B artists – Joe, Beyonce, R Kelly, Lemar and Blue. ‘Joe is just an incredible artist. I met him out in Miami when I made the video, he was staying at the same hotel as me and when he found out that I was on the same label as him he came over and introduced himself. I would love to work with him.’
Cherie Charles has the voice and the attitude to bring British R&B back to the top of the charts and she ain’t afraid of the word pop either. ‘I am going to be another element of the whole pop thing and I’m not worried about that – all music, whether rock, soul, indie, R&B has an element of pop… it’s popular music and as long as people buy it who cares what it’s called if people enjoy the songs?’
Its time for a change and Cherie Charles is here to bring it…