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Jazz vocalist Cheri Anderson delivers musical healing on new album
(Published: January 28, 2017)

The deep soulfulness of Cheri Anderson's singing can lift the saddest of spirits. On her latest album Notes from Cheri, Anderson unveils the healing qualities of music, something that she has experienced in real life.

Q: How did you get into music, especially jazz?

A: I've been raised in a musical family. My mother and her siblings were artists. My mom was a Gospel singer who also loved jazz. Jazz was a staple of music in my family. My uncle used to have a vast library and would invite us over to his house whenever the latest album was released because he bought everything that came out by all the jazz greats. My parents were fans as well; however, they let my uncle have the "aficionado" title. I started performing in elementary school, in the youth choir, at my church.

In junior high school, I auditioned for a solo part in the choir and became the soloist for the choir as well as for the school musicals. This started my journey into the world of music and performing. My passion for performing art grew exponentially as I sang in choirs, ensembles, trios, and finally as a soloist. Over the years I noticed there was something I wanted to say and music was the way I wanted to express it so I started writing songs, tunes that had a jazz background feel to them.

I fell in love with contemporary jazz as the jazz scene evolved in the '70s, which ignited my songwriting ideas. I started performing professionally in college with a 13-piece band. We wrote songs that were a combination of jazz and R 'n' B. We opened for jazz artists such as Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds and also for R 'n' B artists like Earth, Wind, and Fire or the Jimmy Castor Bunch. My love for jazz music has to do with the richness of it, that transcends age or cultural background. I believe jazz is the only genre of music that is infinite. There is always a new type of sound being created in the jazz genre. It is understood worldwide.

Q: Can you give us an idea about what "feel good" jazz is?

A: "Feel good" jazz invites the listener in to have a seat, close your eyes, and feel the sounds that lift the spirit in you, likening it to having a warm blanket put on you on a cold winter day, warming you up so when you get up you are ready to do whatever there is for you to do, with renewed, bright energy.

Q: What are the advantages of being able to perform at different places?

A: The advantages of performing at different places for me is sharing this gift I've been given with a variety of people in a variety of venues. Each show is different for me, so having a different place helps me create the ambience I feel inspired to share.

Q: How often do you practice?

A: I practice weekly when I have time in between performances and daily when there is a show to prepare for.

Q: What song on Notes from Cheri is the most personal to you and why?

A: The song that is most personal for me on Notes from Cheri is "Each Day." That song expresses where I have been in my life journey, especially these past few years. This song has evolved as I have. I believe I was in the mode of writing songs that kind of preaches and "Each Day" took me to a place where I wanted to share my experience instead.

Q: Can you tell an unforgettable story related to your live performances?

A: I perform on occasion convalescent facilities and hospitals to sing to patients and residents. I perform jazz standards to tracks. Most of the songs I select to perform are songs about love, fun, or enlightenment such as "Sunnyside of the Street," "When I Fall in Love," "On A Clear Day," etc. The patients and residents always enjoy the music.

On a particular day a catatonic patient, who was always brought in to the session, was sitting in his wheelchair. What I do is walk by each patient and sing to them and on this day I did this with him, touching his hand to let him know I was there. I started my way back to the front of the room then turned around and as I looked around I saw the patient move. His hand was tapping the tray on his chair to the rhythm of the song. The nurse in the room came to me after the performance to tell me that this was the first time the patient had responded. Seeing her expression of surprise and joy in that moment, I felt deeply my calling to "do" and "be" the kind of music that moves the listener.

Q: Is there any artist/s that you would like to work with in the near future?

A: I would like to work with Sting or Quincy Jones.

Q: What can you consider your highest accomplishment so far?

A: I consider my highest accomplishment in my music journey to be performing for the Indigenous King of Hawaii in 2012. That experience, again, reminded me of my calling to "be" the music that moves!

Q: What keeps you busy these days?

A: These days I am working on selling my CD, Notes from Cheri. Also preparing for the 2017 festival season.

Q: What kind of legacy would you want to leave when you retire?

A: Retire? There is no plan to retire from music. I plan to sing up to the day I leave the planet. What I want to leave in that time is the message of love I live every day. My hope is people who know me will get that to live this life is to live it fully, with as much joy and love as we can muster. Grow where you are planted.

More Information: http://www.cheriandersonmusic.com

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