Critically acclaimed violinist and composer Rebecca Cherry makes classical music electrifying once again. From playing in orchestras around the world to sharing the stage with pop artists such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Adele and the Jonas Brothers, she shows young musicians that there isn’t just one way to succeed in the industry. She even won a Clio Award for her groundbreaking performances and writing in television and film.
âThere are a lot of ups and downs as an artist in terms of going from what we consider to be successful,â Cherry says. âSuccess is different for each person. I always remind people what things can look like, especially now on the outside, is not necessarily what people are dealing with behind in their apartments, houses or everyday life. That the experience can be very isolating as a creative because we don’t have an office to go to. A lot of the time, we are the only ones creating our work; opportunities come from us most of the time. So, we don’t have the same type of day-to-day experiences that people have of going to work and having this community that you show up and work inside every day. I’m learning to create this for myself, by becoming a businesswoman in the music business.
Cherry started playing at age three. Around the age of eight in a Vancouver conservatory, her parents told her about her plans for the future as a musician. They expressed that it was more than a hobby; playing the violin had to be something she seriously focused on besides her schoolwork. Since she liked to play, she decided to continue practicing at that time. Her parents invested in Cherry’s best teachers and supported her in competitions.
At 12, Cherry turned professional. She would go to school in the morning and then in the afternoon if she didn’t practice she would perform. His ability to improvise and harmonize became a catalyst for touring with billboard artists. Plus, it allowed him to compose in a new way that most classical musicians don’t. She eventually moved to Europe, playing and conducting orchestras and performing solo. Abroad, she started recording with different independent groups, which presented beneficial networking opportunities. However, her work visa expired and she had to return to New York.
âAt that point, after all the hard work and everything I had put in to develop my career to a point, I just closed the door [on classical music]Cherry expressed. âIt was like a breakup. I was heartbroken by what happened.
For two decades, her identity had been defined as a violinist. While she does recognize and acknowledge that she was producing great work, it was always in the same vein that the more she improved, the more accolades she received, which would make her happier. This was not the case, however. So she decided to take advantage of this time to find out who she was without the violin. She was worried that if she didn’t, she would stop playing altogether.
âIt was the pivot,â Cherry says. “It was extremely difficult to explain this to my mentor, my parents and everyone around me, who from the outside saw this young adult who had created a very good career at a very young age and was ready. to great things. I could have continued with my project of being the first violin of a large orchestra. I could have continued to do that. I don’t know what would have happened because that’s not what I did. I just knew I was really miserable. I had to deal with it. It was not an easy trip. It took me about ten years to get to a place where I could tell that I found myself and that I became okay with where I am now, which is part of the story.
It was during this period that his networking abroad paid off. Back in New York, the best musicians asked him to play for them. In addition, she is starred in TV shows including SNL, David Letterman, BET Awards and Jimmy Fallon.
âI started making this different kind of music,â she smiles. âNow of course my classical training has always been there, in my playing and quality. I started working on installations, looking for how I could bring art and music together, looking at the amplified sound and creating new sounds with my instruments At the same time, I got very interested in the popular music scene.
Over the years, Cherry has taught music on and off. While continuing to play the violin in different mediums and collaborate with other artists, she is working on her own music and has even hired Carmen Pucci as her company’s branding strategist.
Throughout her pivots, she focused on the following essential steps:
- Don’t overthink your next step, go for it. You can stop yourself from doing what you want to do.
- Build your personal board that will support and encourage you. Plus, you need people who will speak your name in an opportunity room.
- Have the courage to believe in yourself and go after what you want. Ultimately, it’s up to you; the choices you make or not make will determine your career.
âI really enjoyed it all; those moments, especially working with these amazing artists, were incredible, âCherry concludes. âI found something in the music that inspired me. I started to explore what it really looked like, and it took me letting go of everything I thought I knew about being a musician and starting over from the beginning.