Name: Cherry Lena
Occupation: Singer, songwriter
Nationality: Canadian
Current release: Cherry Lena's “Love-Bombed And Ghosted” is out now.  

If you enjoyed this interview with Cherry Lena, visit her profiles on Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud, and twitter.

Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?

Some of my melodies come to me while I’m sleeping in the form of dreams. I have tons of voice notes in my phone that I recorded half asleep just to make sure I wouldn’t forget the ideas.

Otherwise, I get my inspiration from a lot from the things I experience emotionally. I mostly always write from my perspective but sometimes write from the perspective of another person. Which was a challenge for me, at first.

A lot of artists that I look up to are a big source of inspiration to me as well. (Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse, H.E.R, Jesse Jo Stark, SiR, Greentea Peng)

Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?

For me inspiration comes in waves. When I feel it coming I seize the moment and do nothing else as long as I am not done laying all my ideas and organizing them parts by parts, because you never know when the next wave will manifest itself.
Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?

I would say that the lighting of the room I’ll be creating in is very important. I like the neon lights settings when it’s a little bit dark. Nothing too bright. I need to feel in the zone.

The people I am with also affect the creative process, I need to feel like it's a safe space for me and my emotions.
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?

I usually just start with whatever melody idea I have at that moment, voice recording each idea one by one, and  then organise everything. What's the chorus, what's the verse, etc.

When the structure is in place, I then write the lyrics and I do the harmonies for each part at the very last.
What makes lyrics good in your opinion? What are your own ambitions and challenges in this regard?

I feel like good lyrics need to be organic and authentic to the person who is writing them. Anything that modifies the truth of the message, even if it sounds better, won’t speak to people as much. Sometimes, just like when recording vocals, the little imperfections make it even better and more relatable.
Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?

I kind of like to go with the flow. Creating can take interesting turns. That’s why it's good to have different types of musicians in the room balancing off the energies and knowing how to stay creative in a productive manner.

When I wrote ‘Love Bombed And Ghosted’ I remember that the producers and I were thinking the song could have been turned onto a super punk song. We even thought about taking this direction but realized we were losing our focus. We still kept some elements here and there like the electric guitar in some parts.

Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practise?

When I just wrote a song, I tend to  become quite obsessive and can listen to it on repeat at least 20 times. Then, I kind of let it breathe for a while and come back to it later so I can really hear the flaws and things I want to change in it. I need a bit of distance in order to do so.

I also sometimes have ‘The demo syndrome’. I’ll hear the first version of a song so many times that I’ll get used to hearing it and every new addition to it will seem wrong, at first. Most of the time it's actually way better, it just takes a little getting used to it.

After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?

I always try to keep myself busy and make sure I’m working on many songs at once. I like to have many things going on, many work in progress. That way, I don’t put unnecessary pressure on just one particular song. It’s important for me to keep this healthy balance.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

I believe you can put love and intentions in everything you do, no matter what you do. For me, music was a passion from as early as I learned how to speak. It was always present in my life and later on, I learned how to process my emotions through it. There really wasn’t any other way for me to do that. It was always the music.