Cherish Chenice Callender’s love for singing and soca are intrinsically linked. She is passionate about the artform and in speaking to Bajan Vibes, she acknowledged: “I have a very deep love and appreciation for soca music and Crop Over and that comes out a lot in my music thus far.”
Lyrics from her newest release, Like Glue, epitomize her connection to the artform. The song goes: “I can’t ignore this chemistry, soca part of my anatomy, like glue, like glue, like glue, like glue, soca I’m stuck on you, soca I’m stuck on you, stuck like glue.”
From her catalogue of released music, this one has special significance.
“Like Glue is definitely my favourite so far and that has a lot to do with the fact that I have been very invested and hands-on with this song from its inception. I think my team really came together and brought my concept to life,” Chenice explained.
The vocalist believes that the uniqueness of her music comes from her passion and undying love for soca. Its impact is solidified by the bond between herself and her team. They have been successfully transforming the visions that she conjures into reality.
“I won’t say I’m a songwriter just yet. I have really great concepts and my friend Stacey Atherley, who has written two of my songs, is the absolute best at getting results from me.”
Chenice always loved singing, but after attending Christ Church Foundation School and digging deeper into music, her love for it blossomed. She told Bajan Vibes: “I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember but things really got serious for me in second form at Foundation. I was very heavily involved in their music program and I became one of the founding members of the school’s Pop Band. I was also a member of the school’s choir.”
With a firm focus on excelling in the industry, she is inspired by soca artistes as well.
“When it comes to soca, my influences are Nikita, Patrice Roberts in terms of vocals and Mikey in terms of performance and presentation.” The reigning Soca Monarch tops the list of who she would like to work with.
“There are so many people I would love to collab with, but I really, really would be over the moon to do a collab with Mikey because I mean… it’s Mikey!” she added with a huge smile. It’s no surprise that these high calibre performers are at the top of her playlist. Added to her guilty pleasures of those whose music she truly enjoys are Imani and Rihanna.
Though there was never any doubt that music was to be the path that she charted, Chenice struggled to determine what road that journey should take.
“I have always known I wanted to be a singer. My biggest challenge was finding my musical identity, and that’s something I’m still working on.”
Despite the indecision in that regard, her enrolment in the Barbados Community College music programme was an eye-opening experience.
“It has definitely impacted me a lot and helped shape the direction my career has taken.” That challenge she has encountered stems from self-doubt rearing its ugly head.
“I have a bad habit comparing myself to others and my confidence has suffered because of it but constant practice and great friends and family have gotten me to this point, but there’s still a lot more work to be done.”
Music brings this introvert out of her shell. “I absolutely love to see people’s reaction to my music. I am a naturally shy person and it is so humbling and encouraging to see that people actually support me the way they do,” she emphasized.
Her fan base has followed her journey from her performances at Foundation, all through Junior Monarch and Richard Stoute Teen Talent and most recently on the hotel circuit at Ocean 2 Hotel and The Crane Resort.
Though most avid soca lovers are still reeling from the shock of there being no festival this year, the vocalist is undeterred and is set to release music.
“I definitely have at least one more release so far, but I am still working on more material. So it’s safe to say you will be hearing a lot more of Chenice this year,” she told Bajan Vibes.
The entrepreneur, who is a natural hair stylist/braider by profession, is a self- proclaimed beach bum. The proud mother of two, and wife of fellow creative Dwight Callender, has used music cathartically.
“Music has always been my therapy, but music has also allowed me to meet the most amazing and talented people and some that I have come to value more than anything.”
Her music releases have captured a “feel-good” element. However, she aspires to do so much more. “As I grow, my hope is to really touch people with my music and even incite change in the world.”
Chenice does not think twice about encouraging newcomers to enter this field. “Pursue your dreams regardless of what obstacles come your way. Your end result will be worth your grind.” (STT)