Cherlise Talks Lil Wayne ‘Love U Right’ Collab, Being Herself on Debut Album
Cherlise is a fresh face on the hip-hop scene -- a pretty one, at that -- and don't expect her to fade into the background anytime soon. The young artist hasn't even released her first album yet, but already she has collaborated with the biggest name in the game, Lil Wayne, on her first single, 'Love U Right,' (which is available on iTunes).
PopCrush caught up with Cherlise recently, who gushed about just how much she loves music. While there are a lot of folks she looks up to, and would love to work with, like Drake and Kanye, don't expect too many featured artists on her lead-off album. The sassy newcomer says she wants people to get to know who Cherlise is before they write her off as a collaborative crutch, and she assures that her debut will bring pleasant surprises when it drops next year (she promised!).
Start off by telling us a little about your childhood. You grew up with nine siblings! Wow!
Well, I was born and raised in Miami, Fla., in the inner city. Growing up with 9 siblings … I mean, it really teaches the neighborhood kids not to bother you so much because you have a whole gang of people that's ready to support you or defend you! But definitely a humbling experience, growing up with so many people around. We were all in the house together. I was the middle child, so I really wanted to stand out and find what made me different from everyone else, so if anything, that probably contributed directly to finding singing.
So we know you've been doing this for a very long time, is it true you had your first record out at 14?
I started very young. I recorded a song but it was never actually put out! It was just me in a local studio and I recorded a record for the first time then. Those songs became demos for other situations, that became demos to create new situations … But it was never officially released.
What did it feel like when you got signed to Universal Motown by Rico Love?
I was excited, but I think I contained my excitement a little bit, but only because I had some disappointment up until that point. Prior to that I was signed to Def Jam, and before I could really get comfortable in that excitement, you know the deal with that, so I think I was very like, 'Ohh, I want to be excited! But, huh…' Yeah. Once I realized it was real and that I was in with Rico Love, that I had a strong team around in me that believed in me, then I engaged excitement mode at that point. Like I said, when one door closes another one opens, you know? It was definitely like that for me.
We love your single with Lil Wayne, 'Love U Right.' What was it like working with him?
Well, Wayne is … I mean, he almost sold a million records his first week. He's amazing. Growing up listening to him on the radio, it was somewhat of a surreal moment for me. On this particular take I wasn't actually in the studio collabbing [sic] with him, but he heard the record -- and he loved the record -- so he got on it. It was a humbling experience, because as a new artist, I know that he doesn't typically get on new artists' records, so I was super excited -- super humbled.
Listen 'Love U Right' Feat. Lil Wayne
We read that you didn't want to get too crazy with too many featured artists on this first album. Why is that?
Well, I think sometimes I just kind of give people looks and say, 'Oh, well, this song is hot because of this person.' You know, as a debut premiering artist, I want people to get familiar with me on my record. It's not a duet album. I'm not in a group. I want people to recognize my talent, to recognize the message that I'm trying to portray as an artist. I think that every artist has their time to shine, and it's great to collab with people, but as a product that I put out to the world, I want to fans to just really learn Cherlise, learn what it is that I do, and get familiar with my voice, with my story. I think sometimes it's hard to do that when you get caught up in, 'Oh! Drake is on here!' No, I want you to get to know Cherlise. That's what I meant by that.
What's the record like? What can we expect -- are there any ballads?
Definitely ballads, and I think that's one thing people will probably be surprised by. I consider myself to be a very well-rounded artist, in the sense that I dance and I sing and we can do the club joints, but my heart is in the ballads. That's when you get a chance to show your tone and show your range. And, I'm sassy, so I love to cry, I love to get mad at my boyfriend. On the record, I kept it old school, I think sometimes you have to slow it down for the people. Do it nice and slow. We definitely got in the lab and did some ballads for the people. The ballads are my favorite records -- I love R&B, that's my roots and soul.
When is the album going to hit?
The album, hopefully we'll have it out by the beginning or mid next year. That's what we're shooting for. In this world, you never really know, but that's definitely where we're shooting. We'll make it happen.
What would your dream collaboration be?
My dream collaboration … That's difficult! I love music so much, and there's a lot of people that I enjoy to listen to. Kanye West is incredible. Right now, as far as entertainers right now, Chris Brown and Miguel -- I think he's amazing. I really want to work with Miguel. And Drake.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I definitely see myself growing in my music, growing as a performer, as an entertainer overall. Just being an international star! Well, just being international. The star part, that's relative. Just doing my thing and sharing my music with the world.