Rising Country artist, Cherie Oakley's music has been described as pop country with a twist of soul. Cherie has enjoyed a successful career in the studio already as an established studio session vocalist featured on singles and albums by The Band Perry, Martina McBride, Kelly Clarkson, Vince Gill, Reba, Gretchen Wilson, Cassadee Pope and Sarah Darling as well as others including the cast from the popular CMT Channel show, Nashville.
The up and coming artist is also a country hit writer. Reba McEntire’s Turn On The Radio, written by Oakley went to #1 on the Billboard Country charts. In our exclusive interview, Cherie Oakley chats about the inspiration behind her latest single "Work It", upcoming projects, and more below!
What's the inspiration behind your single "Work It"? I was inspired to write WORK IT, when I noticed how women became fewer and fewer on the radio, awards shows and even as background vocalists in country music. It deeply effected me in many ways. As a songwriter, when I heard so many people say they certainly did NOT want to write a song for a female, as a session singer, since fewer female artists were signed and making fewer records that meant fewer sessions as a BGV, as well as gigs as more male musicians sang the female recorded part and bands did away with female BGV's ... It was frustrating and felt like a losing battle as an aspiring artist ... I remember very clearly having an "aha" moment as Oprah would say ... It hit me one day that I do have more power to change things than I realized ... Being an artist give me the platform to write about and address issues that are important, and the platform to sing about them. Suddenly I didn't feel frustrated anymore, I felt empowered and inspired. This really positive feeling made me want to write something fun and empowering in a celebratory kind of way for women ... Nothing negative in any way, just a type of anthem for the working women out there ... So Mark Oakley, David Fanning and I wrote "Work It" ... When did you begin singing? I began singing the moment I began speaking ... If you asked my mother, she would say at 6 months of age haha! She swears I began humming melodies when music played at 6 months ... I don't know about that, but I now I started singing as soon as I could speak and performed in front of audience for the first time at the age of 3. Why did you choose to pursue a musical career? I've never known anything else honestly. I would sing from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. It's all I ever wanted to do. Thankfully that was encouraged and embraced by my parents. I grew up traveling with my family in evangelism all over the country and I literally sang for hours and hours from state to state on the drives. It's never even been a question ... It's all I've ever known and all I've ever wanted to do.
What advice would you give to other females looking to pursue a musical career? I would give the same advice that's been given to me ... Do it because you love it. I would also say to really learn your craft, learn every ounce of it, take care of yourself and find out what you consider "success" to be and just go for it. You appeared on the debut season of NBC's The Voice. How has that impacted your career? Well, at first it felt very negative. I had just celebrated a #1 as a songwriter and was very successful in the studio and on the road singing BGV's but after the first season (before people realized how big the show would be) all anyone wanted to know was "how far did you get?" To have my entire life's work be summed up by one exit on a show was a difficult pill to swallow and I felt people wine and dine me when they thought I had a chance at winning, and basically ignore me when I went home ... So for a while I didn't tell anyone about being on The Voice. Once the show got as big as it did and everyone realized that it doesn't matter if you "win" or "lose" it only matters if they air your episode and that you get the incredible exposure, I felt really proud to have been a part of it and I was thrilled when people were excited to find out I was on the show. It also helped when I sang with Kelly Clarkson and Vince Gill on an awards show and I was backstage waiting to meet Kelly and she ended up running up to me hugging me saying she was a huge fan of MINE and wanted me to win on The Voice SO bad! I thought, "Wow, people remember me and people like Kelly Clarkson were rooting for me!" I wondered who else rooted for me and who else remembers me ... I still get emails and posts from people who have followed me ever since seeing me on the show ... I feel really proud to be an alum really grateful. Anyone I speak to who wants to be on the show I encourage to do it, solely for the unbelievable exposure, though ... If a person gets to stand on that stage and sing and they air that episode? You already won! What an incredible opportunity ya know? I'm grateful What can fans expect in the upcoming months? We are gearing up to release a couple of more singles as well as the EP and currently booking shows, so lots of exciting stuff!