The unquestionable Queen of Dancehall-Soul Image

by Biko Kennedy

Precocious is an attractive adjective to describe Cherine, after all, her career span drips with numerous hit singles and acting roles dating to as early as 1997.

Jamaicansmusic caught up with the bubbly chanteuse to talk about her plans for 2013 and her recent hosting gig for the African Channel's thirty-minute-long music program: Muziki Ni (Sawhili for music is).

Jamaicansmusic: Having recently appeared on the thirty-minute-long music program, Muziki Ni, what was your initial reaction to being asked to host the program and what was the experience like?

Cherine: The experience was a positive one. I am always happy to share my music with people who are interested to learn more about my brand of dancehall-soul music. The Africa Chanel has given me a platform to reach people who may not have been familiar with Cherine or dancehall–soul and especially the new movement of positive dancehall, reggae and soul music being created in Jamaica from a female perspective. So I am grateful for the opportunity and we had a great time taping the show on the beach.

JAmusic: What has the reception been like since the program first aired on Jan 25th?

C: The reaction has been very positive. There are still many people who haven't seen it but it will be repeated on The Africa Channel throughout this season. This was truly a great opportunity to showcase my brand and music to people outside of Jamaica and that is definitely a positive thing.

JAmusic: You're currently promoting the single 'Haffi Come Back' like crazy, is there a project to be released by Cherine sometime soon...maybe an EP?

C: 'Haffi Come Back' is one of two singles that I am promoting right now; the other is 'Eagles and Doves'. The success of the Haffi Come Back video has sparked a huge interest in the streets so the success is completely fan driven. The video topped the E-Strip Hitlist and has now increased in radio rotation because everybody is talking about 'Haffi Come Back'. My team and I are pleased with the success and we are definitely taking our promotion to the streets directly to the fans. 'Eagles and Doves' is also getting steady rotation on some stations and it's also doing well outside of Jamaica. It peaked at # 1 for 3 weeks on the NY Reggae Charts; it hit the top 5 for South Florida Reggae Charts and went to number 1 on Bess FM Top 10 Culture Chart in Jamaica as well. So it's two songs showcasing a different side of Cherine, both are up-tempo and dancehall, 'Haffi Come Back' completely for fun and 'Eagles and Doves' is an uplifting inspirational song.

JAmusic: What are some of the plans you have in place for 2013?

C: We've started off quite strong this year, thanks to the support of the fans for the 'Haffi Come Back' song and especially the video. I am in the middle of the RJR Cross Country tour for the months of February and early March. We've been making appearances in cities across the island to meet my #dancehallSOULdiers (supporters) up close and personal and the response has been overwhelming so far. All together I'll perform in about 42 cities. I recently did the YVAs (award show) for the first time, that was cool. Additionally, I will be appearing on several shows throughout Jamaica for Reggae Month some with a DJ and others with my band Rockfort Rebels. There are also plans to embark on a summer tour with my band but as the dates draw closer we will send out a release with more information but people can stick close to the for everything Cherine.

JAmusic: We've seen the image of Cherine evolve as the years pass; the raunchy/risqué image of Cherine now seems to be one that couldn't wait to get loose. Why hide her from the world so long?

C: Well there has been no hiding here. I would describe it more as my fun side, as I don't do anything raunchy. As an entertainer I have a wide range of fans and all my performances are focused on my fans. Every artist evolves I am no different, I sing songs about all types of reality songs like 'How You Living' and 'Kingston State of Mind' was one type of reality, 'Coming Over Tonight' addressed another kind of reality and now 'Haffi Come Back' which actually is similar to some of my other releases – 'Cookie', 'Kitty Kat', 'Hey Baby' and 'Make Up Sex' to name a few. Image should inspire conversation and help to tell the story of whatever you are putting out to the public. Music transcends socio-economic differences, racial and class differences, it is the great equalizer and I am striving and growing as an entertainer every day. I do make a wide range of music and have much respect for my growing and wide variety of supporters. If ALL my music was played on Jamaican radio this discussion wouldn't even be happening now. I have been blessed to have created a broad range of popular songs and I love to dance. So, no, I do not do raunchy just fun songs and energetic videos.

JAmusic: You've started a new online series called ASK CHERINE; why was it deemed necessary to partake in this interactive series?

C: That's a great question. I have always been very interactive with my fans. It's just who I am. From answering their Facebook comments and tweets, to the days of being on Myspace and responding to their posts, nothing has changed but the hairstyle (laughs hysterically) and that will ALWAYS change. Cherine TV was originally created as my YouTube channel in 2006 and it has always been interactive. It's been there since I started touring. It's always been about my #dancehallSOULdiers from the onset. ASK CHERINE is one of several things that are showcased on Cherine TV. There is the LIVE series that focus on live shows and tours etc. There are the BACKSTAGE episodes, plus other things. I have been blessed to have supporters from around the world and sometimes they have questions they want answered that are never addressed in other interviews so I give them the chance to ask me questions and hear the answer from me directly, no filter.

JAmusic: Just a random question, as it pertains to your recording career, what are you most afraid of?

C: Nothing, I am a very positive person and I see every challenge as an opportunity for me to get better, work harder and grow as an artiste and a person.

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