Performing Arts: Vocal
Cerise always loved to sing, she just never did it in front of anyone. Throughout her childhood and education in the Nauset School system, she tried band, chorus, and musical plays, but paralyzed by terrible stage fright, she never stood out, and no one saw the talent that was there.
But thanks to an encouraging sister and an open mic night, that’s all changed.
Growing up she was surrounded by music, Cerise has music in her soul and truly sings from that sacred space. As a child, she remembers her mother and aunts harmonizing to the songs they learned in grade school glee club. They sang in canon to the beat of her grandmother chopping cilantro and garlic in the kitchen. She grew up watching her family sway to the sound of salsa legends Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, and Willie Colon, and at home her mother folded laundry and sang happily to the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, and Sade.
At ten-years-old she received a copy of, “Unforgettable,” Natalie Cole’s iconic tribute to her father, Nat King Cole and it inspired her. She played the album everywhere she walked. Songs like, “Mona Lisa, Smile,” and “Lush Life” played on repeat in her head. She would change the timing, sing harmony over the melody, mimic the voice, and play with air pressure. She would replay the same snippet of a song over and over again until she got it right. She possessed the same obsession listening to Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, and Janet Jackson and over time, she taught herself to sing.
Cerise spent several years in Bay Area in California where her sister got her to finally overcome her stage fright. This opened the flood gates for possibility and creativity. She began singing back-up for the popular Marin County soul group, The James Mosley Band. She later joined the world music band, Africombo which played original Reggae, Afro-Cuban, and Caribbean music. For six months she worked with Raz Kennedy, Oakland’s Grammy Award winning vocal coach before returning home to Cape Cod.
Since returning to the Cape, Cerise has been studying and singing with legendary piano player and teacher, Bob Hayes – despite his initial protests of being too old to teach. He was won over after hearing her sing “Smile” and “Avalon.” He immediately recognized the potential and invited her to come sing again the following week at his home studio in Dennis. These moments, the kindling of friendship, musicianship, and mentorship, has grown into a fire that is spreading Cape wide. With the addition of Bob’s grandson, drummer for the late great Lou Colombo, Kareem Sanjaghi, they make a powerful trio.
The Bob Hayes Band featuring Cerise adds others as needed for events and venues, working with well-known musicians including Marshall Wood, Grey Sargent, and Kenny Wenzel. Focusing on songs from the Great American Song Book, she sings in the vein of Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, and Carmen McRae. The band is extremely versatile playing in many different styles from blues to Latin, (Cerise sings in Spanish) rock and roll and pop. Cerise is known to richly sing a romantic ballad and swing directly into a rock number.
With over 63 years of experience playing on Cape Cod playing at every conceivable night club, yacht club, private party, and special event from Woods Hole to Provincetown, Dr. Hayes has been an incredible teacher and mentor.
Cerise is excited for the 2013-14 season. Constantly rehearsing and adding tunes to her repertoire, she is moved by a constant interest in music and overwhelming desire to create. Performing is her true love. It shows. Stay tuned. There is much more to come!