Vocalist and songwriter Cherie Oakley has become one of the most respected vocalist in country music. Having penned a number one hit record for living legend Reba, she is continuing to spread her influence in the music industry.
Outside of being a vocalist, Oakley appeared on the first season of The Voice taking her talent to new heights. She has shared the stage with superstars such as Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow, Luke Bryan, LeAnn Rimes, Kelly Clarkson, and Mary J. Blige receiving nothing but positive reviews.
Recently I caught up with the superstar to discuss some of her recent accomplishments. As she discusses being a vocalist, and working with some of music’s biggest acts, it is clear that her talent is undeniable. Check it out below.
Cherie Oakley Interview
Respect: What is the most rewarding thing about being a vocalist?
Cherie Oakley: I grew up in ministry with my family, so connecting with people and reaching out to people has always been a part of my life. Being an artist gives me the opportunity to connect with people through the music they hear and through performing live. It means the world to me to have that connection to people.
Respect: What was the inspiration behind Reba’s “Turn On The Radio”?
Oakley: There was a lot going on when we wrote that song. There was a massive flood that had just happened in Nashville. I had an artist deal in the works and we wrote that song for me. We needed something fun and exciting live, something I could really sink my teeth into as a vocalist and something to take our minds off of the flood that had just happened. We wrote it effortlessly and it was a really fun process.
I knew instantly that we had written a #1 song. However, I do not know how I knew this though. I also was certain my artist deal was now crumbling and I felt really devastated by what was happening. Reba heard the song and called my cell requesting it.
Long story short, I gave it to her and she asked me to sing background vocals on it and it all happened really fast. It never happens that fast! I am leaving a lot of details out but that was the gist of the way it all came about and it was crazy.
Respect: What does it feel like having a number one record on the Billboard Country charts?
Oakley: I don’t even know how to put it into words. I had not written many songs when it happened and I also had no clue of how difficult it is to get a song heard much less cut and go to #1 with a major artist. I have a greater understanding of all of that now. At the time it was just very exciting but I think I appreciate it more now because I see how rare that is.
Respect: Who have you worked with that has been the most memorable for you?
Oakley: This is a tough question for me because there are quite a few I have worked with that are memorable for different reasons. Some of them I learned an enormous amount of what to do in a professional way but what not to do in a personal way and vice versa.
Some I got to see the world with and do TV and award shows that I had only dreamed of. I would say most recently it has been Amy Grant. She has taught me a lot about perspective and she probably does not know this, but I would just sit and watch how she would handle things and how she carried herself. I was like a little sponge.
Respect: Describe your experience performing on the Voice.
Oakley: I was on the first season so my experience was very different from anyone who’s been on any other season. When I was out there they were not exactly sure of what kind of show it would end up being. They kept all of the contestants out in L.A. for a really long time and we kept insane hours all while being filmed.
It was like “Survivor” on crack with singers. The performing part was great though, it was a total rush and I loved every second of that. I also really enjoyed working with Christina who was my coach. She was lovely.
Respect: Why is it so important for you to write as a professional in the music business?
Oakley: I have been through a lot personally and professionally and feel like I can write from a place that relates to a lot of people. It is important to me as an artist to sing what is genuine to how I feel about issues and express my heart. The best way to do that is to write my own music.
Respect: What are you currently working on?
Oakley: I am writing right now and figuring out when the right time is to release my next single.
Click here to learn more about one of country music’s biggest hidden gems.
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