Cherie Adams Pt 2
"He tells me he believes
in me all the time. He encourages me all the time. He tells me to rest.
He says I don't want you to worry about anything but the creative part
of things. I don't want you to be worrying about other things. I just want
you to let me take care of you. I just want you to rest and know God is
taking care of us and just rest in that." There was a time in the life
of Cherie Adams that she thought she would never hear words like that let
alone be married to the man who was speaking them to her, husband Kevin.
Meeting Kevin Adams at a
friend's wedding marked a new stage in Cherie's life. "When I got back
from El Salvador I put this little cross around my neck and I said, ‘Lord,
today I am just going to marry myself to you. From this day forward I am
just going to make you my every thing. Morning, noon and night you are
the most important thing to me and I don't care if it isn't meant for me
to ever love again because I have you. I really sincerely meant it," she
Adams's feisty side emerges
again as she related, "When I got back to the States a friend of mine had
asked me to be a bridesmaid. I was always the bridesmaid and never the
bride! I had a gig in Tampa and then flew up to Rhode Island to be a bridesmaid
in my friend's wedding. I'm like, 'God, why am I always the bridesmaid.
I don't feel like buying another ugly dress and shoes that don't match
anything else! There goes another two hundred bucks on a dress I will never
wear again.'” She said with a mixture of angst and laughter, “I'm thinking,
'God, why in the world do I have to be a bridesmaid?'”
“God spoke to me and said,
‘Mary has been a good friend to you and you need to be a good friend to
her.’ I hated going to weddings because they broke my heart. I must have
been to five weddings and every time I went to them it was just a reminder
that my wedding of my ten year relationship did not work out. It was a
constant reminder that I would never love again," she finished.
She continued, "I did my
gig in Tampa and then I flew into Providence the next day. I show up to
this wedding and I am a mess. I'm running late for the wedding. The plane
was late and my hair is all a mess and I am sick from El Salvador food."
The groom's father introduced
her to the man she would be walking down the aisle with as part of the
wedding party. Cherie Adams told me, "Sure enough it is Kevin," then she
gushed, "This is the most beautiful man that I have seen in my life. He
looks like a sunset. This guy is pretty. He's just beautiful. I am thinking
Oh my gosh but I am saying, 'No, I devoted myself to you Lord last night.
I am not even going to look at this guy. To make a long story short exactly
one year later I got married in the same mansion in Newport to Kevin."
On July 29, 2001, Cherie Paliotta became Mrs Cherie Adams.
God had more in store for
Cherie than just her love life, however, and not all of it was good news.
First there was the aftermath of 9/11. She said, "I started thinking, 'Life
is too short.' There are other things that I really want to do in addition
to Avalon. I really loved being in Avalon and being a part of that group
but there was just so much more inside my heart that I wanted to share
with people. I wanted to reach people at a deeper level."
It was then that God started
planting a seed inside her for the next phase of her life. Avalon began
to tour again just three weeks following 9/11 and she said the look of
devastation and pain on people's faces added to her desire to do more with
her ministry. She remembered thinking, "I'm here to make you feel good
and I hope I'm making you feel good but then when I left the venue I was
thinking God I want to do more. Those are the kinds of things that were
pressing on my heart during that time period."
On July 7, 2002, Grant Cunningham,
a close friend and the executive A&R person for Sparrow Records, tragically
died as the result of a soccer accident. Cunningham had been instrumental
in the formation of Avalon and wrote many of the group's songs. He was
in his mid-thirties and the father of three. Not long after that, the husband
of another close friend was also killed in an accident. Soberly she reflected
on these life-altering events, "It was like all these tragedies that were
taking place kept pounding into my brain there is more to life than just
entertaining people. It just started to instill in me a deep desire to
want to do more for God and more for people's hearts. People were still
aching and hurting." The song "Funny" was born from Cunningham's death.
The song is dedicated to his wife Kristen who Cherie describes as always
having a smile for those who were mourning her husband's death. "Funny"
is a song that talks about knowing that there is still a peace that God
can give and the hope of being reunited with those that passed on too soon.
On September 13, 2002, just
four years after replacing Nikki Hassman in Avalon, Cherie Adams announced
that she was leaving Avalon to pursue a solo career. She had prayed about
the decision for more than a year and she felt at peace with her decision.
A few months after leaving
Avalon, Cherie signed a record deal. Her future looked bright, however,
that joy soon turned to concern as it took one year before the label got
her into the studio to record her songs. Three songs into her album, the
record label went bankrupt.
Brutally honest she said,
"It tested my faith and I got aggravated. I (remember thinking) 'God, you
are the one that called me out here on this water with you for this water
walk.” The annoyance in her voice is clear. Then she added as if confessing,
"I am so human to a fault. He (God) has spoiled me so much but when he
doesn't come through for me I'm like what are you doing? You ought to come
through for me. I was asking God, 'What in the world are you doing? You
ought to come through for me! What in the world is going on?’"
It was at that point that
Kevin stepped in and suggested they form their own record label. It was
a difficult time in the industry with labels cutting staff and being battered
by the effects of digital downloading. It was not a good time for an Indie
artist to try and strike a record deal.
"We took another step of
faith and decided to finish the record ourselves. We produced it ourselves.
It was just a real step of faith and my husband believed in me and my abilities,
my talents, my heart for God and my heart for people. I just want to reach
people on such a deep level. I want to sing songs about Jesus, about life
and about love. I want to reach the core of people's hearts. He knew that
and he wanted to facilitate that. That's how The Sweet Life came about.
Every song has a story behind it. It's really amazing," she said.
They teamed up with new
producer Tony Morra and despite working with a small budget were able to
attract some of the finest session players in Nashville. The finished project
became the beautifully textured The Sweet Life (La Dolce Vita).
I asked Morra about those
textures and he told me, "As we sat and picked the players and instrumentation
for the tracks, we were both in agreement that we wanted a very organic
approach to the record. Not a lot of programming and sequencing. We wanted
to capture the performances and passion of the players. It was a labor
of love for each player! Taking the tracks to places I didn't expect. it
was such a team effort!"
Cherie Adams spoke about
the similarities and differences between her solo effort and the music
of Avalon. "I purposely did a lot more with a live band because (a lot
of) Avalon's music is programmed. They have some live instrumentation but
they have a lot of programming. I really wanted to make my album sound
different. I didn't want to make a Cherie Adams record that sounded like
Avalon music with just Cherie singing. I used a lot of mandolins. I love
mandolins, being Italian. I used a lot of really unique instruments like
the lute and the bazooki."
"I love voices that have
texture. The singers today are so into licks and tricks while they are
trying to show off what their vocal abilities can do. It ruins just holding
that long note with a beautiful texture and simple timbre with vibrato.
They lose some of that because they are so consumed with trying to show
off their vocal ability. Don't get me wrong, I love to do licks and tricks.
Hey, what singer doesn't if you are capable of doing it? I just love to
mix a little bit of the tricks with a little bit of texture," she said.
The deep jazz and R&B
roots are evident on her album and nowhere is it more evident than on “Something
About the Rain,” co-written with Scott Kirpayne and Tony Wood. Like most
of the songs on this wonderfully arranged disc, “Something About the Rain”
could be featured on any mainstream jazz / R&B radio station. Don't
even think of qualifying this album with the words Christian music because
The Sweet Life is a masterpiece that stands on its own merits.
“Funny” has that smoky lounge
appeal and provides a fresh look at addressing the difficult times of loss
in a gentle instrumentally enjoyable fashion. Morra said, "We wanted the
feel of “Funny” to be incredibly sensitive, but a song of strength and
hope. We wanted the track to be as pure and inspired as possible. It was
the last song of the first day of tracking. Everyone was a little tired
and we ran the tune down with a click track and loop I had come up with
in pre-production. It didn't seem to capture what we wanted so we dropped
the loop and click track, turned down the lights, (and with the) the sweet
fragrance of incense set up a quick scratch vocal track. Cherie talked
about the origin of the song. (Each of us had known)Grant Cunningham and
were teary eyed. I counted the tune off and from beat and vocal one it
was the take."
When Cherie Adams sings
the words to "Funny," the conviction in her voice is not mere words to
'Cuz I really
Cherie accredited some of her
jazz influences to her teenage years when she was often requested to sing
at wedding receptions with a live band. "That is probably why you hear
a lot of jazz influence in my voice because I learned standards. While
most kids were listening to disco and rock I was having to learn all these
old standards to be in the band." She went on to list songs such as "When
I Fall In Love" and "Route 66."
I know that I'll see
you again-oh yeah
And I have a hope
That tells me this isn't
This is just the beginning
Her jazz influences also
come from her time spent studying music at Rhode Island College. As a music
education major, she spent two years in the role of lead vocalist for the
jazz band. "That's where I really learned to hone in on that texture thing
through the old greats like Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatram and Dean Martin,"
Dave Tucker, the Senior
Producer at LeSea Broadcasting, spoke about Cherie Adams's recent appearance
the station's Live At Studio B. Tucker captures the essence of what makes
Cherie Adams such an outstanding artist and why this record is so special.
He said, "I did not know what to expect from this former Avalon member...however,
her sweet spirit and heartfelt vocals easily captured the attention of
the audience. Cherie Adams’s closing ballad, "The Sweet Life," mixed with
a verse or two of Italian transcended the feel of the song and drove the
songs meaning into a depth that would cause anyone to want to live life
to its fullest extent."
"The Sweet Life" (the song)
was penned with Robert White Johnson ("Where Does My Heart Beat Now"-Celine
Dione). She says she started with this little Italian hook but said to
thought, "Why am I writing this song? Nobody else is going to like it.
Unless you are Italian you are not going to get it." Accompanied by the
sounds of mandolins "The Sweet Life" places listeners somewhere in Italy,
perhaps a vineyard dreaming of that life that God has promised and that
we all hope for.
Two love songs adorn this
album. The first is a love song from singer to God, "You Move Heaven,"
graced with Cherie's soulful vocals. The second is a song every woman should
rush out and buy to give her husband on their anniversary or for Valentine's
Day, "Hazel Eyes." It is a song she wrote for her husband. If your hubby
has blue eyes, just change the word when you croon to him.
To understand "Hazel Eyes"
and to understand Cherie Adams you don't need to go any further than how
she views her marriage, "Now that I'm married I just feel like everything
else is secondary. Don't get me wrong, I love my career and I want it more
than anything. I love to sing, minister and travel but I love being his
wife more. I finally feel like I have reached a height in my walk with
God. I still have my days when I say I want the Grammy. I never won the
Grammy and stupid things like that. It's silly. Being his wife is probably
my best accomplishment. It really is."
Fellow recording artist
and songwriter Staci Frenes offered up an insight into Cherie that I agree
with wholeheartedly, "One is taken at first with Cherie's vocal prowess--which
holds its own among any of today's pop divas; but looking closer, it becomes
evident that Cherie's greatest asset is her desire to be a blessing to
others with her music."
Cherie Adams life hasn't
always been a fairy tale but it is now and it is well deserved.
By Joe Montague, exclusive
Joe Montague is an internationally
published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory
of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18.
All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.