Every artist you’ll come across has a message to spread, a personal and intimate story that is being written as their life go by. Every artist shares experiences to a rather silent audience – their message is generally spread in various ways, often through their lyrics or through the caption of an Instagram post. This simple action of sharing creates an instant bond between the artist and his audience, and while sometimes the messages are quite modest, even timid, others, like that of Cherry Seraph, are crystal clear. Likewise, sometimes, this very message adds to that of a larger cause, allowing artists to see exceed the reach of their personal audience.
Cherry Seraph is a young artist based in England. While she produces her own music, she also supports the queer community as a queer person herself ; she intends to give more visibility to the female community and LGBTQIA + within the music industry through her very own art. Her music sways between dreamlike experimental pop and light, synthetic pop rock ; in order to celebrate the release of her debut EP today on streaming platforms, we got to talk about all of these important topics with her. Get to know her below !
1. Hi Cherry Seraph ! Thank you very much for answering our questions today. Would you mind introducing yourself in a few words for those who don’t know you yet ?
Hello! It’s so wonderful to have been asked to be interviewed by your magazine – I really appreciate it. My name is Cherry Seraph. My moniker has been inspired by cherries (because I love them) and a ‘seraph’ being an angel because my music tends to be quite ethereal and dreamy. It’s got lots of vocal layering to really give it the ‘otherworldly’ experience.
2. You’ve only recently started to release music for the world to discover. How did you come across music production ?
I am primarily a classically trained flautist and I have been in various orchestras since the age of 8. They have been great environments for me to train and learn the discipline of classical music, as well as an outlet for understanding musical theory. As I have grown older, I have learnt to play more instruments and, as a result of this, in 2019 I started to seek a musical outlet which wasn’t quite as restricting as the classical environment. This led me into electronic, and traditional, music production! I am a member in several female and non-binary-led producer groups. Within these groups I am a huge supporter of greater representation for women and gender minorities within the music industry. There’s only a tiny percentage of us!
3. And what influences you on a daily ? Would you say you’re more influenced by artists or by your every day life, for example ?
I think it’s definitely a combination of the two. I love listening to music throughout my day. One of the first things I do on a morning before I am even out of bed is put on some tunes! I try to be active in searching for new artists each week because I am definitely a ‘genre-less’ enjoyer of music and recognise how hard it is to get your music heard sometimes. I think this is really where the ‘everyday life’ has an impact: other artists help me get inspired by the everyday life around me, just like my everyday life inspires my own art. It’s definitely a two-way street because if I’m not listening to music or composing it, I am writing poetry!
4. On top of that, you’re being very vocal about being queer, and you’ve said that your music project partially aims to showcase that queer people should be more represented in music. How does it reflect in your project ?
Feeling like you belong to a group or community is incredibly important. I am so grateful to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ space and this does link quite heavily into my EP. It reflects in my project in the form of the themes that my EP touches upon, such as sapphic relationships and dealing with the difficulties of confronting my own identity. The running themes throughout the four tracks relate to connection, whether that is to the environment around us, our loved ones, friends or even just emotionally. Queer individuals are still often subjected to ostracisation within their own communities and elsewhere which aren’t accepting of them. I want to translate a feeling of closeness with the listener and hope that they find some relatability or comfort that someone else feels the same way that they do.
5. I know you’re also part of some organizations that are working for more women & LGBTQIA+ representation. Can you tell us more about them ?
Of course! I’d love to. In a study from 2020, for every 47 male music producers, there is approximately one female. It is even less for LGBTQIA+ individuals and POC. Clearly, there isn’t a level playing field here. In reaction to this, different female and non-binary organisations have started popping up more than ever. For example, I am part of Music Production for Women and Equalize Production (to name a few!) They hold different courses in production techniques, workflows and gaining more self- confidence, which is really great to help make music production a lot more accessible. Also, my EP was mixed and mastered by Ary Maudit who founded AM Productions in London, U.K. This is a space which specifically works with LGBTQIA+, women and gender non-conforming individuals to uplift their voices.
6. I don’t want to be intrusive, but I feel like it’s important to ask the question. Did you ever come across some people in the industry that were not okay with you (or your peers) being queer ? Has it ever been a problem or an obstacle for you ?
So far, it hasn’t been a problem but I cannot speak for every queer individual within this industry. I am still very much at the beginning of this journey and I can’t wait to see where it takes me and what I do next, but I don’t doubt that there will be obstacles somewhere, especially if myself or my music doesn’t always fit the ‘ideal’ artist. I think there remains a great deal of stigmatisation.
7. You’ve just released an EP called “from someone, somewhere”, which is a name that reminds us of a letter that has been sent to the world. What is the global message behind your EP ?
It is like a letter that has been sent to the world! Absolutely. It was inspired by a Leonard Cohen poem titled, ‘The Only Poem’. There is a line which says, “I learned to write what might be read on nights like this by one like me”. I really think this drives home the idea that wherever someone is and whoever they are, we’reconnected somehow. Foster more empathy and a softness to ourselves and others. The struggles that I have experienced with myself and my identity serve as a story to tell someone going through something similar that they will be OK!
8. I would like to cover some of the four tracks of the EP, starting with “8am”, your very first single. You’ve mentioned before that it’s a track you’ve written during the pandemic. How did last year & this year affect you, creatively speaking ?
Firstly, thank you so much for featuring “8am” on your “hauméa selects #6” playlist ! It brings me a huge amount of joy. But yeah, I wrote this track during the midst of the pandemic as a form of release and respite. This last year has impacted me creatively to the point where I haven’t been able to write anything at times because there has been such a mental ‘block’. There was such uncertainty with every aspect of our lives wherever we were and I sat down one morning, just after getting out of bed, and I chose to write in the opposite way I was feeling. I condensed what little energy I had into thinking about the elements of life which keep us all together, such as love and physical touch. Again, this recurring theme appeared of nurturing connectedness despite the disconnection to our society. I think, as well, this year has allowed me to reflect upon how I create music and in what ways I can keep innovating and adapting. It also put into perspective what I want from myself, which is to keep practicing self-care and nourish the mind and soul gently. Creative burnout is no fun!
“But if I lose my grip, I’ll trip
I’ll drown, here in this town”
– Cherry Seraph – ghost town
9. Moving on to “ghost town”, a track where you talk about being stuck in a city that would “drown you” if you weren’t fighting to stay alive. Now that we’ve talked about the necessity for women representation & queer representation, are the lyrics of “ghost town” linked to that matter in any way ?
In a sense, yes. I wrote that song whilst being sat at the back of a bus going through my city centre and there was just no-one there. It was completely dead apart from these invisible-looking homeless people hidden within the alleyways. I didn’t feel like I had anyone close around me or anyone that was like me. It sounds really sad and, honestly, it was such a heavy feeling that I found really hard to shake. That’s why I decided to channel it into something positive and create a song. Queer and female narratives are not as amplified as they could be because so many people remain unseen and unheard. This is just like the overall landscape which I was seeing around me.
“Are we still a loose connection ?
I hate this person in a costume”
– Cherry Seraph – costume
10. I’d also like to cover “costume”, which is a track that sounds a lot more dreamy in terms of melody yet harsh & introspective in terms of lyrics. Can you tell us more about the deeper meaning of the track ?
Ah, “costume” – I really loved producing this track, even if it is one of the more intense ones lyrically! Originally, the chorus was written when I was coming out of a particularly strange ending of a relationship. I was just floating and wandering aimlessly for a little while, searching to find something that really sparked my interest in my life. I think the particular lyric of, “I hate this person in a costume” reinforces the notion that I felt like I was performing for others and outwardly putting on a happy face when I was struggling. In the bridge, where it’s asking all these questions of, “are we still a loose connection”, there is the lyric, “alone here” buried into the vocal layers. This is a nod to wishing people would look a little deeper into others’ mental health. Equally as well, the “loose connection” highlights that, despite the gloom, there is a chance of hope and a little flicker of happiness. It’s really important to hang onto the joy in life, no matter how small.
11. I know you’ve just released your debut EP, but what could we expect from you in the near future ? Some live performances ? Some collabs with other artists ? Remixes maybe ?
This is a very, very exciting question for me! I am practicing at the moment for live performances as soon as it is safe to perform – I am a solo act who has a lot of tech and instruments to set up, so it takes time to strip back and rework my masters for a live setting. Remixes are definitely an exciting prospect because they can totally reframe a track and alter its original message. I would absolutely love to collaborate with other artists who are likeminded and are full of creativity, so watch this space!
12. Finally, here’s a question I like to ask when ending an interview : is there an artist you’re keeping an eye on at the moment ?
This is such a hard question! Ahhh! There are so many. One person in particular that I am keeping an eye on at the moment is Tash Sultana. They are an insane multi-instrumentalist and their music brings me such peace!
Likewise, I’ve just discovered MUNA. They are like musical chameleons – what can’t they do?! Just amazing.
Cherry Seraph is to be found on all streaming platforms. You can also follow her on Instagram !
– disclaimer : discovered through MusoSoup #SustainableCurator.