I have had a love affair with music from the very beginning. Back in my native Jamaica, in the quiet enclave of Giddy Hall, in beautifully verdant St. Elizabeth, I loved to enthrall the countryside with spontaneous song, oft from a perch in our favorite yellow Poui tree. There I found an unparalleled depth of self-expression in music that propelled me into becoming an avid singer and prolific songwriter, winning my first singing competition at age 14.
I had my first publicly performed composition at age 15. This was a little Christmas ditty sung by my high school choir. To my utmost surprise I learned recently that my Christmas song is still being performed by at least one alum, who remembers it dearly! I thank God for my parents who initiated and nurtured my musical gifts, and as well for the faithful encouragement of my music teacher, Marguerite Gourzong-Vernon. Mrs. Vernon is still transforming young lives by connecting us to the music within ourselves. Thanks, Mrs. Vernon!
I went on to co-found New Creation (now New Creation Generation International-NCGI), while a student at the University of the West Indies. Within this group, with whom I still sing, I have found lifelong friends among whom the synthesis of great music is always a wonderful and treasured experience. With another friend, Dawn Bennett, I began the Eagles Christian Theatre Troupe. Working alongside Dawn – she directing the acting and me directing the music – the Eagles have presented thought-provoking, entertaining, and award-winning, theatrical bounty. Both groups have produced audio and video recordings in collaboration with other artistes, as well as television productions. One notable such is, “Can God Save A Nation?”, a multimedia production that is still being broadcast on national television, with great impact, years following its original release. NCGI and Eagles have also performed extensively in Jamaica and internationally including the 2012 Fun in the Son Gospel Festival, Jamaica. Among our most prestigious invitations was a command, private, performance for the Prime Minister of Jamaica. Throughout my years with NCGI and Eagles, I have functioned as Vocalist, Songwriter & Music Director for both groups.
Part of the legacy from my parents is strong roots in the Church. For this reason, I often write and perform inspirational music. However, my love of the Jazz and classic R&B genres has greatly influenced my musical tastes and artistry. I enjoy doing solo cabaret performances, especially working alongside my favorite accompanist, the very talented Alex(ander) Martin-Blanken. He and I have been a recurring act at annual events, though I often perform with other musicians. My recent shows include the 2011 Summer Concert Series with the ABCs of Jazz, Lasdon Park, New York, and headlines at BeanRunner Jazz Café, New York.
My signature delivery is a melee of musical styles: a little Jazz and some classic R&B with a zest of Caribbean Reggae and Folk intermingled with Inspirational highlights. I especially love pulling a few folk songs out of the toolbox, and so do my audiences – Caribbean and non-Caribbean alike!
Through my debut solo CD I seek to delight the senses… with “…a taste of Jazz”. The response to my jazz EP has been nothing short of tremendous, with a clamor for more.
I plan to follow my debut project with an album of inspirational hymns, delivered in pseudo-contemporary style. That project will be followed by “Cheryl sings… Cheryl”, an album of my originals. Along the way, I will be producing recordings of various singles as the occasion arises. So stay tuned for much, much, more….
I have been told that my voice is uniquely haunting, yet clear, and my smile, though oft winsome, charms and delights my audiences. Not often having the privilege of that vantage point, I know only that my goal while singing is to somehow draw my audience into my private musical reverie, eventually releasing them refreshed and inspired. I hope someday soon to share that experience with you!