Performer – 2008 Phoenix Music Awards
Producers Choice Recipient – Jazz Performer of the Year – 2008 Phoenix Music Awards – 18th Annual LA Music Awards
At age four, Sherry decided she wanted to play the piano. Her parents got her a piano when she turned five, and music became a focal point in her life. Whether it was watching the Sound of Music for the 27th time, taking piano lessons twice a week, participating in local talent shows, playing the piano for friends or grandparents, or listening to the radio, Sherry surrounded herself with music — and she still does.
“My parents always wanted to hear me play, and while they seemed to enjoy my singing, they were my parents, of course they’d enjoy my singing. They always encouraged me… and they always kept my music going. But there have been people in my life – I recall hearing things like, Sherry, do you have to sing so loud? Now, I just think… no, I really don’t, I can just turn up the mic.”
Sherry played the piano for several years at St. Maria Goretti church in Scottsdale, AZ, St. Phillips in Pasadena, CA, and St. Thomas the Apostle, in Phoenix, AZ, where she met great musicians and friends. From these relationships, she was asked to sing occasionally with the Soul Solution (Motown style band) and got an idea that singing many songs throughout an evening was much better than waiting two hours for a turn to sing one song in a smoke-filled karaoke bar.
It wasn’t until February 2004, however, that Sherry recognized that people really wanted to hear her sing. And, the song she wrote in 2003 (WAITING) got some good feedback from friends and new acquaintances. One person who heard Sherry sing introduced her to the Pita Jungle in Chandler, AZ, where they have a weekly open jazz jam session.
“I went there to sing, put my name on the sign up sheet, I was nervous, and took my name off the list. I didn’t think I sang well enough to sit in with this band.”
Two months later, Sherry stopped in at Kazimierz in Scottsdale where they were having an open jam session; she signed up to sing, and this time took the mic in hand.
“I went out one evening to an open jazz jam, and a friend of mine sang. Let’s just say… he was a little pitchy. I thought if he can get up there, so can I! I remember the first song I sang at Kazimierz, it was TEACH ME TONIGHT; the musicians were fantastic, the feel was great, and I could see Margo Reed smiling at me… it was sort of an approval from her and I was honored. The applause was overwhelming to me. When I left Kazimierz that night, someone stopped me in the parking lot, took my open hand, reached up and sprinkled (invisible) stardust in my hand and then closed my fingers around it. When I questioned what he was doing, he said, that’s IT, it’s yours, you’ve got it.”
Sherry’s appreciation for jazz grew steadily with a passion for all the standards, favoring artists such as Etta James, Frank Sinatra, Steve Tyrell, Dinah Washington, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole. Loving more and more standards (and writing a few songs of her own), she started singing almost weekly at local jazz sessions and set the wheels in motion to record her first cd.
She had record sales at her cd release party and almost instantly started getting played on various radio stations across the country, including six songs from the cd in regular rotation on Phoenix’s STAR 97.5 FM. Sherry appeared on national TV with host Dave King on QVC, performing four cuts from the album during their 20th Birthday celebration show in 2006.
In November 2007, Sherry and her band performed at the legendary Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, as well as at the 2007 Los Angeles Music Awards where she was named JAZZ ARTIST OF THE YEAR. Sherry was honored again at the 2008 LA Music Awards where she performed music from her upcoming second cd, and was named Jazz Artist of the Year for the second year in a row.
“I love to perform, I love to sing, I love this music. People tell me I’m a cross between Diana Krall and Nora Jones, but I just sing like me. There’s definitely a similarity in the style of music and I think the focus is coming back to songs that actually sound like songs.”
When asked about her favorite performance, Sherry couldn’t pin down just one.
“There’s something great about every audience. I’m thrilled when I see how much teens enjoy my music instead of rap! And while I love the energy of a huge crowd, or watching children run and dance at an open outdoor venue, I also love to pop in at nursing homes and play for a group of 5 or 20, or at a local spot where everyone knows your name and you know they enjoy the music. When you can play songs that remind someone of their sister or their childhood, a special love, or whatever memories they hold dear, all the sudden you have a connection of the hearts….and all the sudden, you have smiles.”
Sherry hopes everyone will continue to enjoy her music and that parents will encourage children to listen to “real music” by artists who are keeping jazz and all of the great American standards alive and swinging.