MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2018
Artist StatementI believe music can heal. I start by healing myself. I combine stories and songs to find new perspectives, for you and for me.
ellen cherry is a singer, songwriter, musician, designer, artist, producer, recording engineer, and human. Emmy nominated Song and Story Alchemist, ellen cherry (lowercase letters intentional!) is a full-time touring and working performer based in Baltimore, MD. In 2018, ellen co-produced a podcast that examines fame and celebrity from a working musician's viewpoint, called "Why Aren't You Famous?" In 2017, ellen presented a new touring project called Portraits in Song. It is a multi-media performance piece that marries her love of storytelling and her passion for history through songs and portraits about women's stories. In 2016, she released two new recorded works (Portraits, The Thread) as a follow up to the very intimate, piano-based album entitled Please Don’t Sell the Piano (2012). ellen was a Strathmore Artist-in-Residence and co-produced Mobtown Moon, a re-imagining of "Dark Side of the Moon" (2013) that featured over 50 musicians from Baltimore. In 2010, she wrote, recorded and performed a song for an Emmy nominated TV campaign and also composed the score for a shadow puppet piece entitled "Alonzo's Lullaby", which has been awarded the prestigious UNIMA Citation of Excellence and jump started years of continuing work with puppeteers. ellen tours nationally and internationally, charming audiences from house concerts to festivals!
Baltimore based songwriter and performer, ellen cherry (lowercase letters intentional) has recorded and released original music continuously since 1997. Songwriter-in-Residence for the New Day Campaign (an arts-based initiative that challenges the stigma associated with mental and behavioral health) in 2015, cherry created new works centered around and stemming from her experience with PTSD (a side-effect of a tour-stopping car wreck in 2013.) In 2015, she was awarded both a Ruby Grant and a Puffin Foundation Grant to fund her work on a short film of and an original score for the puppet-crankie show "The Holey Land" (created by the artist Valeska Populoh.) In March 2016, cherry debuted her most recent history-based project, "Portraits in Song," which is a live performance piece and companion recording, "Portraits," featuring 11 projected portraits of women (created by the artist Liz Downing), with accompanying context and original story-songs that highlight the struggles and accomplishments of women.
In 2013, cherry established a live-streaming performance and interview program featuring Baltimore musicians called "Listen In with ellen cherry." The webcast ran for two successful seasons (available for free on her website.) In 2012, she released her newest and most intimate work yet, a piano-based album produced by Caleb Stine, entitled "Please Don't Sell the Piano." cherry was a Strathmore Artist-in-Residence in 2012, and a 2011 Baker Artist Award winner (including the inaugural Semmes G. Walsh special music prize). In 2009, ellen composed an original score for Nana Project's shadow puppet piece, "Alzonzo's Lullaby," inspired by the true story of a circus train wreck south of Chicago, in 1918. The piece was awarded one of the most prestigious puppetry awards, the UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence.l,n 2OL2, ellen premiered another original composition to compliment Nana Projects' newest work, "Eureka!"
With fellow Baltimore based jazz musician/writer Sandy Asirvatham, ellen was co-producer (and is the visual alchemist for the artistic and visual presence and live performances of the project) of "Mobtown Moon," a genre-defying new interpretation of Pink Floyd's classic, "Dark Side of the Moon," which was released as a cd in time for the 40th anniversary, in 2013, and features some of Baltimore's finest working musicians from all musical corners. cherry also co-produced a massive live performance of the album, in its entirety' that same year.
Mixing equal parts of pathos and humor throughout her songs , ellen cherry is mysterious and powerful on stage and her banter gives audiences a peek into a whimsical, curious mind, She seam Poetry, and Literature with the Usual Suspects of Love, Loss, and Despair, with a and skill on both guitar and piano.