INTERVIEW: Judy Cheeks (A Second Audience)

Sometimes once just isn’t enough!

We catch up with Judy Cheeks for an exclusive chat about her love of music and friendship.

by Christopher Smith

She needs no introduction, but for five decades, Judy Cheeks has been releasing music simply because she loves singing. That voice has been discovered and admired by generations of music lovers across the world and has resulted in a huge following and fanbase (Judy prefers to call everyone a ‘friend’) as well as record sales and chart hits.

We spoke to Judy last year when she released her album “Danger Zone” and with the success of “A Deeper Love“, its follow up released earlier this year, we though it was about time to catch up with the lady herself for an update and what the future holds…

TAPM: Thank you for taking time out to speak to us…again! You’ve really spoilt us over the past two years with “Danger Zone” and “A Deeper Love”, I’m surprised you’ve had time to do anything else apart from writing and recording two albums in quick succession…

JC: Very excited to chat with you! Thank you for having me again and for all the support you and the TalkAboutPopMusic team continue to show me! I’m thrilled that “Danger Zone” and “A Deeper Love” have been so well received. It could not have happened without your help! It has been quite a busy year getting the two projects out. Actually three if you include “Crying In The Rain”, but it’s been an absolute joy! Shaun O’Shea deserves ALL the credit for making it all possible. He is a one man army! He does it all…apart from singing of course! I tried teaching him a few background parts but that didn’t work out so well 😉

TAPM: We’ve had many thousands of ‘hits’ on our review of “A Deeper Love” (I think if you Google it, it’s the second from top!) so it has proven very popular all round. You must be very pleased with the finished product and the feedback you’ve had about the album?

JC: I am ecstatic! We never thought we’d get such reactions! I think I mentioned before this was a love project. I only wanted to cheer my dear friend Shaun up by sending him a few songs. He had been very ill and it seemed each song I sent made him feel stronger. So I kept sending them! He has inspired me to write even more songs about our love, friendship and about just hanging in there when things look bleak. He’s the strongest man I know. I adore him! He says I inspire him and give him a sense of purpose. I feel he gives me all that and more. It was Shaun who decided these songs should be shared. It seems he was right. He could have just kept them for himself, but he’s far too generous and beautiful for that.

TAPM: Such a diverse range of rhythms and harmonies exist on “A Deeper Love”, there really is something for everyone on this album – is it possible to pick one or two songs that really stand out, that you are really pleased with (really love “Security” and “Dance With A Stranger” here!)?

JC: Every day I’m moved in a different way by a different song…lol! Songs are like children, you love them all and you dare not show favoritism! And I don’t want to spoil it for anyone by revealing my thoughts on any of them. But I do love the vocal freedom expressed in all the new projects. For much of my career I was told to sound “commercial” and basically ignore everything my soul wanted to say! I think that’s why the Dance/House material was so exciting for me! The energy of Dance reunited me with the power of my Gospel roots. I was able to belt out songs without restrictions. Some of my fans still want the “Mellow Lovin’” side of me or “The Little Girl In Me”.

I am grateful for the success I had with those but there is more to me as an artist and as a story teller than the gentle softer tones. And I’d like to think the “Little Girl In Me” has grown a bit. But total freedom in delivering a song means you do what the lyrics call for. “Danger Zone” and “A Deeper Love” tell life stories set on an honest and emotional journey, no formulas, no desire to conform to modern sounds or tricks, just life with melodies. Some happy, some sad but honest.

TAPM: So I hear it doesn’t end there…more new music is on its way next year! How are things going so far and can you tell us anything about the album at all or what we can expect…?

JC: The new album will be released at the start of the new year. I am very excited with one song in particular because it was written by my very dear friend Betty Wright! She is also singing on it! We grew up together and our parents were also best friends so we are really like family. When other kids were out playing Betty and I were in my sitting room banging on my piano, writing songs and screaming our heads off, but we called it singing! It’s a wonder my mother didn’t run us out of the house! I guess she knew we were both destined to sing professionally so she put up with us. I don’t know why it has taken us this long to do something professionally, but it’s really a treat and we are both very happy about it. Oh, and there are two Bob Dylan songs on the new album too!

TAPM: Shaun (O’Shea – Judy’s producer and close friend) was a powerhouse behind both “Danger Zone” and “A Deeper Love”. Shaun was gravely ill at the time of “Danger Zone”, so we hope he is on the road to a full recovery? Will Shaun be present again for the new album?

JC: Yes, Shaun is still the driving force behind all this! We pray for him daily and some days are better than others but NOTHING stops him! He feels he was put here to do these projects and I don’t think God could have chosen a better vessel. He does the work of an entire record company all on his own! I don’t know how he finds the energy, but he says doing all this gives him strength, so I allow him total freedom to do whatever he wants and he never disappoints me or anyone! He seems to get me the way no one ever has, musically. The way he interprets my lyrics and creates videos that paint such vivid pictures of what’s in my head is just amazing! We call these projects “our” babies, and they really are! It’s a team effort of love, hard work, determination and God’s Grace.

TAPM: What about the future? Will you be taking a more than well-earned rest after the next album or is there anything left that you really would love to do, beit a recording, performing or something completely different? I also have, what I think is a good idea. “Judy Cheeks Sings Sam Cooke” – an album of new recordings by yourself featuring some of the best loved and best known songs by Sam… It would sell millions I am sure!

JC: Well, I keep writing and people are sending me amazing songs! And the good thing is the songs are very versatile so I guess no one’s trying to lock me inside a box. With Shaun at the wheel and God in control, nothing is impossible…! 😉

And we cannot wait! As always, talkaboutpopmusic.com will bring you all the details on Judy’s new album once it has been completed and who knows, she may even take us up on our idea…?!

Stay in touch with Judy through her WEBSITE and her FACEBOOK page

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Looking for the perfect gift for a music lover like you – check out My First Record for a poptastic present!

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Written by aylshamchris

i L O V E music
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