June 2024 | Volume 41

1. Hi Cheri! Please introduce yourself to those who might not know you. 
Hi! I’m Cheri Moon, a Grammy-nominated songstress, songwriter, actress, and female empowerment advocate hailing from Memphis, TN, now living in LA by way of NYC! 

2. How did your connection with Shira and Gritty In Pink come about?                        
I met Shira at Ms. Shea Diamond’s birthday party while we were all singing impromptu, having a good old time. Shortly after, we connected more, and I performed live with Gritty in Pink, doing an “All Girl Jam” honoring female icons at THE ECHO. Our relationship continues to grow, and I’m excited to be a part of a strong female-led music community!

3. What's it like to be a part of the effort to create a supportive community for a set of diverse women in the music industry?          
It’s pretty special being part of an effort to create more lanes for women in music and entertainment! And yes, the diversity is amazing. When I did the first show with Gritty in Pink, I was in awe of all the talented female musicians and singers just rocking out like crazy to every type of song, from every genre, with no limitations. That’s my kind of group! I live and create with no limitations. I will no longer be told I can’t do a certain type of music or sing a certain type of way. That day is over!

4. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Was there a specific person or influence that made you recognize being an entertainer was your dream?I’ve been singing since I was a very young girl in grade school. I started singing in the churches with my family in Memphis; we had a family choir. Then I competed in talent shows in school and just carried on. I didn’t start writing until I moved to NYC and became part of a girl group that started working with the Timbaland crew. Jimmy Douglass got us a publishing/production deal. Being around Missy Elliot, Static, and that whole crew was like being in the school of music. That’s where my lyric writing, studio recording, and just studio etiquette in general were developed and shaped. Though there were lots of ups and downs, I’m forever grateful for that time. My dance/house music came a little later, but after signing my first dance song to Tiesto’s label, my eyes were opened to the club world internationally.

5. As someone who has scored multiple hits, how do you view the current state of the music industry, especially in the genre of house music? Where do you see music going next? 
The music industry has changed drastically. Some changes have been good, and some very bad. I like that your career is not completely controlled by gatekeepers anymore. With all the technology now, you can create your own music and your own path to success. It’s still hard, but if you are dedicated, you can make it happen without a label. However, making actual revenue can be tricky without a real plan. And even then, because the industry is so saturated, normal routes no longer work. Music creators and songwriters are also so undervalued these days, and that’s really frustrating. I mean, without music, movies don’t work, TV shows don’t work—hell, most people can’t operate without music! So tell me, how did we musicians become so disposable? Nonsense! People are just in denial. That’s why we are fighting right now for our worth! I think artists will prevail eventually. Music creators are getting more and more creative, and artists are using technology to elevate themselves so much more. For me, collaborating with different artists, even if they are outside of my initial genre, makes things really interesting. We can create outside the box! I think we are headed for some exciting times.

6. How have you evolved as an artist from your first hit to your most recent work?
I’ve evolved as an artist so much through my ever-evolving roles as a woman and mother. My voice has become stronger, not just in sound but in the messages I have to give to the world. The more I've grown into my role as a woman, the more apparent it has become to me what words need to be relayed. It’s so funny that the role I was most afraid of stepping into (becoming a mother) is the role that has enhanced me the most creatively. When I was pregnant, the industry didn’t really celebrate us becoming mothers. In fact, we were made to feel like we should stop our careers and just be mothers. Most of my success, even my Grammy nomination, is due to me being a mother, and I’m so proud of that!

7. You've also carved out a lane for yourself in the children's music world with your Grammy-nominated work under the name Snooknuk. What inspired you to pursue this path?
My kids and becoming a mom completely inspired me to start a children’s company called SNOOKNUK. I basically became my own Black version of Mary Poppins at home and decided to record all of my original songs and ideas. I took my own kids and some friends into the studio and started a new project. I’m a true believer that the universe will always give you gems along the way that will work for your journey, and in this case, my children were the brightest gems ever for me!

8. You’re performing at the Women’s Freedom Festival for WeHo Pride. Can you share how your music has been influenced by LGBTQ+ culture and history?
I’m so stoked to be performing at the Women’s Freedom Festival in WeHo this year! It is so fitting, as I’m such a huge women’s empowerment advocate. This will be the largest audience I’ll get to sing my “Ain’t I a Woman” anthem to in person. I’m also playing my first big festival with an all-female live band, which is super exciting! All the badass female players I met through Gritty in Pink and I have been jamming ever since. I’ve been part of the LGBTQ+ community since I was younger as well. I love the culture, and it’s really the first clubs I started performing at in NYC and the first community I became part of when starting my journey in the club scene and fashion scene. The underground life of NYC was so bomb! I fit right in, no doubt about it. It was a natural fit. :-) But this nightlife and community definitely influenced me to do house and dance music for sure. I write a lot of pop R&B songs, but then I’ll just change them into dance tracks.

9. Who are your musical inspirations? 
I love a lot of the classic icons like Tina Turner, Grace Jones, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Prince, Annie Lennox, etc., but the recent singers I adore are Dua Lipa, Adele, Florence & The Machine, Shea Diamond, Todrick Hall, Alicia Keys, etc.

10. What advice would you give to aspiring artists that want to make it in the music and entertainment industries? 
I’d say to new aspiring artists, if you love it, do it! If you don’t love it, don’t bother! You gotta love it, or it’s not worth all the heartache and hassle. But if music is your love, then true love will see you through!

11. How would you describe your music to a first-time listener? 
I’m an eclectic artist. I like doing retro stuff, so you’ll hear sounds that feel like a throwback, but then you’ll hear some pop stuff thrown in too. Though most of my music will make you dance, I also come bearing beautiful inspirations and awarenesses.

12. Dream music collaboration? 
Gosh, this is a hard question because I would like to collaborate with so many amazing people. Mark Ronson, Quincy Jones, Max Martin, Ian Kirkpatrick—I really want to do a Snooknuk collab with Jon Batiste!

13. What’s next? 
Right now, I’m finishing a dance album and a new Snooknuk album. I’m also developing a movie musical that I’ve been dreaming up for a while. In addition, I'm in development on a costume/wardrobe rental house for film, TV, fashion productions, and events! I’m exploring every possible avenue in all my passions, including acting and fashion, and I’m open to more, to be honest. 'There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.' – Michelle Obama. I’m currently testing this theory HARD :-)