It's a few days before the One Night Only Michael Bolton concert at the National Indoor Sports Centre. Amid preparations for the show and the hustle and bustle of trying to shoot her latest music video in the face of inclement weather, songstress Cherine Anderson reveals her thoughts on being the only woman on the major show.


"As the lone female on the show, there is some level of pressure but patrons can expect a soulful presentation. It's going to be an exciting show. I can't give too much away you just have to come out and get ready to dance."

When I caught up with the 25-year-old in the dressing room area on show night last Sunday, the signs of any pressure were definitely not showing on her. A picture of poise and confidence, her sparkling smile and bright eyes suggested that she was ready to deliver on her word to put on an exciting show. And this she did in a 30-minute set that left the audience wanting more.

Dressed in a body hugging black dress with circular gold accents on the sides and shimmering gold-coloured tights, Cherine brought the music to the crowd with a vibe that was playful, sexy, stirring and soulful.

For those persons in the National Indoor Sports Centre who might have recognised her as the daughter of the protagonist in the movie 'Dancehall Queen', but were not previously hip to her vocal prowess, the proof was in her performance. For those already in the know, the feeling that it's only a matter of time before she truly fulfils the promise of her talent and garner international acclaim was firmly cemented.



THE EARLY YEARS.

Like the rose that grew from concrete, Cherine blossomed into something that was much more than a "product of her environment". Her take on life is that it should be treated "like a rose, give it water and light and it flourishes", and this philosophy has worked well for her.

A healthy atmosphere of personal development and growth in the familial setting superseded any negative influences in the volatile East Kingston community of Rockfort, where she grew up.

"Rockfort is no different from any inner-city community in Jamaica. There were days when everything was perfect, and some days when you felt like the violence was unbearable. There were days when we had a lot and days when we didn't," was her matter-of-fact take on the situation. v Her passion for the arts, which she embraced from the age of three, kept her focussed. Her parents, Derryck and Barbara Anderson, always kept her and her two older sisters involved in church activities and at that tender age she discovered her love for the voices that made her "feel something".

She joined Excelsior Primary School's choir, drama and dance group at the age of seven and at age 12, she became a touring member of the Ashe Performing Arts Ensemble. She has never looked back since.

"When you are young, you can never truly tell the course your life is going to take. I do remember being very determined and having much conviction to perform. I really did not have the urge to become a doctor or lawyer, I just loved the idea of performing. I wanted to be a singer like Whitney Houston, an actress like Angela Bassett and a prolific songwriter and performer like Lauryn Hill."

However, before launching into the entertainment career path, this intelligent young lady walked the path to higher education. She graduated with honors from the prestigious Middlebury College with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Music and a minor in Japanese Language and Literature, which required that she live in Japan for a year.

During her time at college, she was able to secure internships at entertainment companies such as MTV Networks, Interscope Records and the Chris Blackwell-owned Palm Pictures and Palm Records.

Cherine Anderson
MUSIC IS MY HEART.

While she has emerged as a triple threat in terms of acting, singing and songwriting, Cherine professes music to be her first love

"It has always been [my first love]. At different points, I enjoy being a songwriter more than being a singer and vice versa. Music is my heart. It's really a window into Cherine's mind and heart.

"However, acting challenges me, and I love a challenge. It's also a profession I can see myself growing old in. I can see myself as the 80-year-old grandma and still acting in movies and hopefully writing and directing movies."

For Cherine, acting provided her with her first big break in the entertainment industry at age 15. It came in the form of the Rick Elgood and Don Letts film 'Dancehall Queen' in 1997. In the 10 years since then, she has pretty much grown up in the public eye.

"Having opportunities to start at an early age enabled me to learn and gain experience, which I am able to use today. So when the opportunity came to do 'Dancehall Queen', I really pushed for the support of my parents and jumped at the opportunity.

"There have been challenges growing up in the entertainment industry like balancing education and entertainment. In addition, the industry is very tough, there is truly a lot of hard work behind the scenes. Living my life in the public eye was a reality that I had to learn to accept. The other reality is that praises and criticisms come with the territory. I have learned to trust in my own instincts and the team that I have around me."

In 2003, Cherine successfully combined her two passions, singing and acting, by starring in the film 'One Love' and lending two songs to the soundtrack. Her acting in the lead role opposite Ky-Mani Marley earned her the MTV2/Urbanworld Film Festival Award for best actress in a feature film.

Most recently she landed a role in the interactive drama 'Choices' on MTV Tempo. She described her involvement in this project, which was shot in Trinidad, as something important to her, as it is focussed on educating young people about sexual responsibility and the reality of HIV/AIDS.


Cherine Anderson


Cherine Anderson w/ Robbie Shakespeare
ON TOUR.

Now, Cherine is busy concentrating all her efforts on her music career. In August 2007, she hit the road with Sly and Robbie and the Taxi Gang as the featured vocalist on the 15-date one-month long tour of the Western United States and Canada. This was her first official tour, and having legends like Sly and Robbie in your corner was definitely a bonus.

"Wow! It was an unbelievable experience! Working with Sly & Robbie in the studio is one thing, but being on stage with them is something else. It feels almost spiritual," she gushed.

Playing to over 17,000 people at the Hollywood Bowl was the highlight of the tour for her, and she's already excited about stepping things up for upcoming tours in the US and Europe next year. She's hard at work on her debut album, which should be out in early 2008.

"We have not made a commitment to any labels, as we do want to be sure that any company we work with truly understand the music and supports my direction."

Kingston State of Mind, a recent chart topper by Cherine, is a clear example of her singing and songwriting abilities. Written after her return from college, it speaks of the harsh realities of Kingston's inner cities. The song, which facilitated her directorial debut through the music video, has strummed up much attention, with a remix already recorded with Wyclef Jean.

"I have since recorded about seven versions for specific inner-city communities in UK, US, Trinidad and Haiti. Listen out for the soon to be released remix featuring Wyclef. The reality is that the song is bigger than me."
BRIGHT FUTURE.

The recent rains have made the shooting of the video for her new single "You And Me Against The World" (which she describes as soulful, fun, feisty and confident all rolled into one) a bit problematic. Nevertheless, there seems to be nothing but sunshiny days ahead for this talented young singer on her way to international stardom. She's come a long way since her official debut single "Good Love" and the smash hit "Coming Over Tonight" with Chuck Fenda.

Her list of achievements in the music industry include recording with Wyclef Jean and Sting while still in high school, penning a song entitled Soul Sista for Bootsy Collins and appearing alongside Sir Paul McCartney on the remix of his song Nod Your Head.

She credits her family for the role they continue to play in her success and in keeping her grounded, as well as the members of her management team and close friends. The 5'3" songbird describes herself as a rebel who is not afraid to speak her mind.

"I believe in putting my best foot forward and in being true to Cherine. I'm a dancehall soul artist. I am not afraid to champion a cause. I sing about serious issues, I sing about love, I sing about fun, I just sing, and I am a complete person. Stick with me and you'll understand me better."

She's a stickler about keeping her personal life private, but I was able to learn that she loves traveling, going to the beach and watching TV. In terms of the attributes that she looks for in a man - supportive, considerate, adventurous and a great cook. If she wasn't in the entertainment business, she'd probably be working with children in some capacity or working in the fashion industry.

"I feel really blessed to have been given the opportunities to express myself in entertainment and be respected for what I do. My goal is to really be successful. Doing something on a daily basis that you love is truly a mazing. I am in it to win it."
Text by MarkThompson (Pure Class magazine)
(Please do not reproduce without permission)