With musical influences like Stevie Wonder, Dinah Washington and Tower of Power you can only expect a singer like Laura Cheadle to be infused with a bluesy sound unchallenged by many. With the self imposed label of “the funky white girl who’s got soul”, the 22 year-old Pitman, New Jersey native molds meaningful lyrics, smooth melodies and years of music exposure into the ultimate listening experience on her second full-length album, Falling In.
Growing up in a musical family (her father is musician James Cheadle and her twin brothers play in her band) at the risk of sounding cliché – music is in the girl’s genes. First stepping onto the scene in 2004 when local Philadelphia radio stations got a hold of her music, she managed to have her single “Wrapped Up With You” win ten days straight on 93.7’s WSTW against songs by established music acts like The Fray, Hello Goodbye and Staind.
Since performing for crowds around the Southern New Jersey/ Philly area and New York, word has spread fast about this 21st century soul child with a girl next door look. In a music industry watered down with pop singles, her style may be the perfect remedy for those thirsty for an old sound from a new soul. Laura took a few minutes to speak with Universitychic.com about her inspirations, staying in touch with her fans and why she’d make the perfect comedian.
Describe your sound for someone who may for whatever reason not be familiar with your music. Sure. It’s not quite pop, but pop/soul/ and a little funk. I was influenced by a lot of the sounds I was exposed to growing up, stuff my father would listen to.
What’s in your iPod right now or MP3 player? I listen to a lot of classics and soul. Stevie Wonder, Dinah Washington. I like a lot o f the old school, classic music. Stevie Wonder, of course. And John Mayer. I’ve been listening to him since I was 16 and I really respect him he writes a lot of good stuff.
You seem very in touch with your fans through your blogs and the Internet. How important is that to you? 100% important. My favorite thing in the world is networking and MySpace has allowed me to show my music to the world and I make it because it’s my passion. I signed up for MySpace in 2005 and I got a lot of fans in the acoustic music genre. It’s an amazing tool. I definitely sell at shows and MySpace has something to do with that and it’s gotten me more in touch with the press.
Is there anything you’re interested in or would be doing if it wasn’t for music? I love comedy. I’d love to be a comedian. I have some comedy on my MySpace blog if you’ve seen it. I’ve done a lot of acting, comedy acting and a little theater impromptu.
We know of Laura Cheadle the singer what do you do besides music? Well I’m in my last semester of school. I go to see a lot of live music, I love jazz. I’m very laid back, I’m really into music so it’s hard to think of anything else sometimes.
With the 2008 Elections coming up, are you registered to vote? And what do you think the biggest problem facing young people today? Absolutely…we should all register to vote. Some young people today are still ignorant and with technology they don’t really go out or do anything and experience the world. I know some are young and kids are different, each person is, but overcoming ignorance is a big thing for today’s youth.
What’s projects do you have coming up? I have a new CD coming in ’08 [Live On] with a lot of new material. Falling In was very 20 and now I’m 22. And I’m going to keep touring. Basically Falling In [the title] means falling into the music industry, falling in love… I’m very in tune with people so it basically means “falling in”.
For More Information on Laura Cheadle visit www.lauracheadle.com or www.myspace.com/lauracheadle.
(Image Courtesy of Laura Cheadle and Photographed by Anneke Schoneveld.)
— By Donyel L. Griffin