Already blessed by the likes of Sam Smith, the East London singer-songwriter Cherie Jones is steadily winning hearts over with her musical gems, or as Smith described them, “fucking beautiful.”
Her singles are subtle yet intricately produced complimenting her already divine-like voice. She has been working with producers such as Raffertie, XO, A.K. Paul and Rodaigh McDonald who has worked with the likes of The XX, King Krule, How to Dress Well, Adele, and so many other notable figures in music.
Although, that’s an impressive list to name-drop, Jones is making her own path, one that’s being guided by her powerful vocals and poetically potent lyrics. She is scheduled to release her first album New Skin sometime early next year, in the meantime she has released a number of singles including Deep, You, Indulge and most recently Hoops.
We couldn’t be any more excited for Jones as we watch her ascend into the limelight. She was gracious enough to answer a few questions regarding her creative process, who she has in mind when she writes her lyrics, and what we can expect from her.
How did your passion for music come about?
It arose an a very early age, my mother was always playing music around the house or in the car. A lot of my childhood memories are from singing along to these songs (at that age where you can’t properly pronounce the words or know their meaning) with her. And as I grew into my early teens I focused more on singing pop songs and learning how to use my voice. It’s always been my favourite pastime.
What is your creative process like?
It really varies. It used to be a much more introverted process and I remember being horrified/petrified at the thought of opening up to a stranger and trying to write a song with them. It’s a bit like getting into a room and saying “let’s make a musical baby together.”
I’m always writing notes to myself, observations, revelations, metaphors and sometimes it’s nice to bring these up in a writing session as starting point. Other times I like to just get into the room and hear some chords and get inspired from that. When I hear a chord sequence or snippet of music I always close my eyes and try to switch off my logical side of the brain and listen out for “What is this saying to me? What’s the story? What’s the emotion?”
What do your songs center around?
Sometimes they can be straight up personal therapy for something that I’m working through or more commonly stuck on, but other times I really enjoy just creating and telling a story. Just one line can open me up to an entirely fictional story that seems to come from nowhere. Perhaps on some level I’m talking about myself or something I’ve witness at some point during life. But sometimes after writing a song I wonder to myself where on earth it came from. A wise person once said to me that I should detach both the ego and responsibility from writing, saying that those that write or create art are just vessels, this is something that has always stuck with me. But generally I just hope to bring some honesty to whatever I’m writing about, I think being honest with ourselves is so important.
Is there anyone else besides yourself that you write lyrics about?
Yes I often like to write about friends, for example Deep is about my frustration at watching friends in repetitive cycles and being aware that I’m powerless to really do anything to change or help it. Again, also enjoy writing fictional scenarios, like short stories in my mind.
You post letters hand written by you. Who are they for and what draws you to being so open?
I think honesty is important, I’m not the type to be hyper-actively posting things on social media (it feels pretty alien to me) but I wanted to share something with people and connect in some way. Quite early on I’d been asked to write a letter to a loved one for a blog, I’d decided to write it to my childhood instead, and then from there I had the idea to start writing more letters and notes as a way to connect without feeling like I was being fake or posting things just for the sake of it that didn’t really mean anything to me. In some ways I’m very guarded and introverted and in other ways very open and honest. The letters are to different aspects of life, like Fear, Love, Time…I find it interesting to talk to these things as if they were a person.
Besides being a musician is there anything else you’d like to be?
Career-wise no not really. I used to want to be a therapist of some kind, but I tend to absorb peoples energies and problems and sometimes I feel their sadness a bit too much that it might be a bit overwhelming. But other than being a musician my life goals are to be a good person, a free person and an honest person.
We love the cover art of the single Hoops. What are you wearing?
Thank you. I really don’t know much about fashion, but I always have a sense of how I want an image, or performance to feel. For the Hoops artwork I’m wearing a (backwards) high neck cardigan and bottoms from Pleats Please by Issey Miyake, styled by Kimi O’Neill.
I love winter! I love going on holiday somewhere hot when I can be the beach. But there’s just something so romantic and classic about the way London looks and feels in the winter. I think I find the darkness, and night time and those feelings associated with them more inspiring to write about than the sun. There’s something intriguing about the darkness and the things it hides.
Probably this decade, because so many significant things are happening in my life and this is probably the first time during life that I’ve felt I’m where I want to be and around people that understand me. Adolescence just felt like a struggle and I always felt out of place.
What is next for you?
All of my energy is going to putting together my first live show and getting that up to the standard that I want it to be in my head, to do something special for everyone that’s gone out and got a ticket. And then after that it’s getting the album finished. I’m very proud of all the songs going on to it and I’m very excited to share it with the world. After that doing more live shows and watching it all evolve…