Jenae Cherry has performed all over Nashville in front of all sorts of audiences.
But her favorite fans are back home, especially all of the students her mother, Marla Cherry, teaches at Greenwood Elementary School in Woodstock.
“The little girls at Greenwood are unbelievable,” said the 23-year-old Cherry, who grew up in Wonder Lake. “They called me on my birthday, 26 of them got on the phone to wish me a happy birthday. They can make you feel so good.
“It’s for them that you want to keep playing.”
Cherry, as part of the Jenae Cherry Band, will perform at 6 p.m. March 9 in the auditorium at her alma mater, Woodstock High School. Her appearance is part of a celebration of Music in Our Schools Month at the school.
Cherry gladly accepted the invitation and the chance to visit her hometown. She moved to Nashville about three and a half years ago to pursue her music and has been playing guitar and writing songs since age 17.
She now performs fulltime, playing five to seven shows a week with her band.
Describing her music as pop and country combined, Cherry plays covers and her original music, including “Pretty Little Love Notes,” a song she wrote about her mother.
She’s a fan of an array of artists, including Miranda Lambert, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, Sara Bareilles and Keith Urban.
Through a campaign at Kickstarter.com, she hopes to raise $7,000 to make her first album, “Around We Go.” With about a week left, the campaign had raised about $5,000.
“Were hoping to take the album to record labels to see if I can nail anything down here,” she said. “Ultimately, I just want to play for a living for whoever and just enjoy it.”
She said she thought about trying out for various reality shows, such as “American Idol” and “The Voice,” but has decided against it.
She’d rather continue to work hard in Nashville.
“There are so many talented people in Nashville,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of them audition and fail. I see a lot of people that aren’t that serious about it make it. ... Down the strip, there’s so much talent. I love watching people down here busting their butts instead.”By JAMI KUNZER • firstname.lastname@example.org