Artist Interview: “CHANGE CAN START WITH ME” by Cherish Alexander

Q: I love the energy and message in Change Can Start With Me. Would you like to elaborate on the inspiration behind the song?

CHERISH ALEXANDER: “Be the change you wish to see in this world”. A quote written by Gandhi seemed to consistently hover over my thoughts meditatively. It was the summer of 2020, and it felt like it could be the end of the world. Contemplating the sentiments “Can one person really make a difference? How can I be the change?” As a songwriter, I usually write what I need to learn. Thus CHANGE CAN START WITH ME was born. With no intention of releasing it, there was a little voice in me that would not let it go. Maybe some people could relate? With all the hate, confusion, loneliness, loss in the world, how can people know they aren’t alone? How can we make this world a better place not only for all human beings but for our children’s children? These are the thoughts that led me to create the song and video.

Q:   What is the creative process like for this song? How did everything come together?

ALEXANDER: Although it only took me 20 min to write CHANGE CAN START WITH ME, it took me over a year to record. I re-recorded it 3x, in my home studio, mixing harmonies, changing lyrics, different tempos. Didn’t feel it was right so I let it go. Six months went by and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. So in November 2020, I went back into the studio and it all came together magically

For the music video, my vision was to have people from 8-80 and a variety of ethnicities to show the wide range of human beings on our planet in all different shapes and forms.

One of my good friends’ and her mother (who’s an acting manager) suggested that I put an ad on Actors Access. An online casting community. So thinking I would only get a few submissions, I received over 650 submissions in just a few days. What I was looking for mostly was that gentle look in someone’s eye and a good vibration. (which I could see/feel in their 5 sec composite clip). It was also a plus if they had musical experience being they would be lip syncing my song. I had each actor do (2) takes….so part of the performance was transforming themselves into a completely different character. Thus 32 actors/64 takes.

It took me 2 months to find the 32 actors that were cast and one 16 hr day to film it. And every single one of them showed up to the shoot that day. They were all meant to be there.

So within one year: after 3 re-recordings, two months of casting, one day of filming, thirty-two actors performing, and months with my editor Jennifer Barlow, MY VISION WAS REALIZED.

Q: Could you tell us more about the message it contains?

ALEXANDER: The message behind the video is that we are all different, look different, have different styles, different backgrounds, different shapes, different sizes, different preferences yet we are all connected and we really all are the same. We are all born and we all die. We are all living on the planet earth trying to make it the best we can. We don’t always know what someone is struggling with so why not be kind? And that the small acts of kindness that maybe no one sees, can make a difference and a ripple effect to help a fellow human being. The wide arrange of actors and ethnicity singing ONE message “About being the Change” was so very powerful. The day of the shoot, there was presence there I just can’t explain, it was a very emotional day. The morphing technique in the video, which my fabulous editor came up with JENNIFER BARLOW, was to display the notion that we are all one. In the end, we all want the same thing….to be seen, to matter and to be loved.

Q: What’s your music background?

ALEXANDER: I’ve been writing songs since I was 7 years old. My brother was a songwriter he taught me the basics. We would sit around the campfire and sing songs. They were always so heartfelt and beautiful. Ever since I was born I would hear melodies in my head. I started playing piano and taking voice lessons with an opera teacher at the age of 9 and was able to start to express the music I would imagine. The first song I ever wrote and recorded was called “Love will find a way”. I went on to learn guitar and bass at 13 which gave me additional outlets in expressing myself. Yet, what I believe has really formed my musical style the most is finding my own unique self-expression through incorporating the trials and tribulations of my journey. I have grown up through my songwriting and I now look back at my 13 albums to date as a witness and a timeline to the ups and downs of my passionate and rocky path.

Q: What do you enjoy most about making music?

ALEXANDER: Today, songwriting has become a visceral healing experience for me and also a calling. No matter what I’m going through at the time, I’ll grab a guitar or sit down at the piano and just let the force flow through me. It’s like therapy and also healing. My only hope is that through my own healing in writing these songs, maybe others can relate and heal as well.

Q:   What is your favorite song you’ve written/created/produced so far?

ALEXANDER: I would have to say no matter that question, it will always be my current project. So I would say CHANGE CAN START WITH ME…the song and the process of creating this video has been so guided…so magical…so meant to be.

Interviewed by Katrina Yang





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