“But out of limitations comes creativity.” ~Debbie Allen
Whenever I’m assigned the task to conduct an interview with upcoming artists, I can honestly say that I experience a blend of emotions; ranging from sheer excitement, to even jitters. I even question myself regarding what’s order should I ask my questions, or what kinds of questions I should ask. This is very common I’m sure, however, it is very reassuring and rewarding to have the interviewee as comfortable as possible, which leads the interview to BEcome a conversation among friends, and even a few shared laughs. I am honored to say that that was exactly the result of my phone conversation with Cheri Coke and Melo X.
As the 2PM hour drew near, I found myself prepping for the pending interview, and focusing on the task ahead. As soon as the telephone rang, I released a sigh of nervousness and relief BEfore I asked my first question. Upon introductions to grow familiar with one another, I BEgan to conduct the interview. There was a range of topics discussed in the interview from Cheri’s previous affiliation with Diddy, their current relationship, the differences BEtween Cheri’s debut album versus the current project with Melo X, album artwork, music in the digital age, to what to expect on the upcoming EP, which is scheduled to BE released on June 19th. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation.
Cheri Coke was introduced to Diddy and Bad Boy Records as the result of an impromptu and ad-libbed singing while at an industry party, where Diddy offered her a record deal. As for now, Diddy and Cheri have since parted ways, on amicable terms. As Cheri expresses, “He is an old boss of mine, who mentored me at one point. It’s now an old business relationship.” As far as the differences BEtween her debut album In and Out of Love versus current projects, Cheri explained to me that In and Out of Love was “straightforward, feel good R&B,” whereas the upcoming project with producer Melo X is not only “influenced by what we listen to and what we are,” but is also an eclectic, experimental blend of musical genre, an “organic process that tinkers with harmonies.” She further states that “There should BE no restriction for the art you create,” which speaks volumes in more ways than one.
As the interview progressed, I BEgan to ask the dynamic pair what it is like working with each other. Cheri states that Melo has afforded her creative growth, experimental freedom, and that she truly enjoys BEing there for the entire music process from start to finish. She also cites her musical relationship with Melo as BEing therapeutic. Similarly, Melo states that the mutual understanding BEtween the two leads to the pure and organic sounds that listeners will experience. Cheri further asserts that she “Cannot BE one of those artists that would make the same sounding music for 20 years. Reinvent yourself. Having one sound is like BEing in a creative prison for me.”
As far as album art is concerned, the two expressed to me that their central goal is to make people think and feel. For they boldly assert, “If it offends, so BE it; our goal is to allow our listeners to journey with us.” Melo X explained, “When I listen to good music, I see colors,” which is truly reflective of the album art for their debut single, “Garden of Eden,” which was Melo’s brainchild.
Next, the conversation shifted towards the topic of what to expect on the upcoming EP. The dynamic duo explained that the upcoming EP is a play on their names, for the EP is like a “trippy” musical experience. For example, Cheri Coke and Melo X explained that the EP is going to have the following characteristics: free flowing, hypnotic BEats, fun, experimental, high energy, and rawness. They further suggest that the upcoming EP is essentially, “new music to make love to,” a deeper look into sounds, lyrics, and arrangements. Additionally, the EP will range from “tame to high energy.”
Lastly, the conversation shifted to the role that the digital age plays regarding music promotion and sales. Cheri Coke and Melo X embraces music in the digital age, however, they articulately expressed to me regarding downloads that, “You cannot download an experience; you’re not simply buying a song—the customer is buying into you as an artist.” Yet, simultaneously, the digital age “Forces artists to step up their showmanship.” Additionally, the two also suggested that the digital age of music is also empowering in the sense of artist control, and not necessarily having the pressure of producing music to appease. I thought that these were very intriguing stances on a vehicle that often has the ability to make or break musical artists, and clearly shows the two-fold debate that music in the digital age sparks.
As the interview came to a close, and the exchange of social media contacts, I found myself not wanting the conversation to end. The wisdom, creativity, and innovation that Cheri Coke and Melo X have are purely paramount. Their passion for the art form that is music is so refreshing, and as music lover, that’s what I seek to hear voiced not only from the respective artist, but also from their music most importantly. Keep a listening ear out for Cheri Coke and Melo X, you will sure to BE pleased by what you hear.
Take a listen to Cheri Coke and Melo X’s debut single, “Garden of Eden” at http://soundcloud.com/chericoke/x-coke-the-garden-of-eden.
Follow Cheri Coke and Melo X on Twitter at @_CHERiCOKE and @MeLoXTRA.
Think. Exist. BE. Signed,