Singer/songwriter and mother of two Chera-lyn Kennedy says growing up in a small town has served her well.
The Kentucky-native debuted her CD, “Blue,” in April, which is available on iTunes. She attributes her small-town roots in London, Ky., to her love of singing. Being in a small town, she had numerous opportunities to perform on stage at a young age. She has been in demand at festivals, concerts, community and charity events throughout the U.S., including performing as the opening act for headliners like George Jones and John Michael Montgomery.
Kennedy describes her music style as a mix of country and blues. Her album includes original songs like “Dancin’ in the Kitchen,” and “After Church;” inspired by family-life with husband, Dr. Jason Kennedy, and two children, Olivia, age 6, and Bleau, age 5. The family moved to Maryville almost two years ago.
As a stay-at-home mom, she said Blount County is reminiscent of her hometown. “It’s a large part of the reason my family decided that this was the place for us to dig our roots and spread our wings. I’ve come to find in the nearly two years we’ve been in Maryville that this town is that sort of place where people in the community get involved in creating opportunities for children to grow and learn.”
Prior to motherhood, Kennedy worked as a school psychologist in Louisville, Ky., and in Knoxville. While she loved that season of her life, Kennedy says she feels at her best being a mom, wife, and a singer/songwriter. “Those things fill me up. We are very fortunate that both my husband and I are able to have professions that are so rewarding and humbling,” she said. “Both Jason and I believe in the power of dreaming and one of the greatest gifts we can pass along to our kids is that commitment to following your passion to its end.”
Chera-lyn says she put her music dreams on hold while she supported her husband’s pursuit of becoming an oral surgeon. The ballad, “Behind the Garden Wall,” chronicles that time.
The singer says, “When it’s all said and done, (the children) will have one fantastic adventure to tell, and it will hopefully create in them an understanding that it truly takes the input, faith and generosity of so many others to fulfill one simple dream. You just never really know where you will end up or what incredible things will be revealed to you if you pursue something you believe in.”
To learn more about Chera-lyn Kennedy’s music and tour schedule, visit www.chera-lynkennedy.com
When did you begin singing?
“When I was 7-years-old I stood on a large stage in my own hometown, wearing a gold lame’ outfit and singing for all I was worth. I’ve never really known fear like others do in a public forum. I was also kicked out of my church choir when I was younger than that for singing louder than my counter parts. I was told that I could have solos from that point on. In my defense, I would get wrapped up in listening to other people sing their parts that I would have to sing louder just to hear myself.”
Does your family have a mutual love of music?
“I’ve never known anything different than to have music surround me in nearly every facet of my life. It’s so much a part of me that it’s just woven into who I am so I have definitely passed that on to my children. I also promised myself that when I had children, I would not push them to take what interests me as their own but my daughter has taken up the torch and asks to sing all the time. She performed her first solo at my home church this past year and has better pitch than I did at her age. We do have a rule in our house that on Sunday’s after church: If you want to eat, you have to dance. It’s where the song “Dancin’ in the Kitchen” actually came from on the CD.”
What is your favorite family ritual?
“When Jason walks in the door in the evening the kids immediately run to our bedroom screaming, ‘Eye of the Tiger!’ They proceed to shut the door and crank up the Rocky tune. They wrestle and get launched through the air to our bed giggling and gasping for breath until they come out a sticky, sweaty mess. I get to smile and say, ‘Dinner.’ I can see why some may not understand that but it definitely works for us.”
What’s your favorite quote?
“ ‘Let ‘em know you’ve been there.’ My grandfather was my first and greatest fan and without fail, he said that to me every time I stepped onto a stage.
To read more of Rebecca’s interview with Chera-lyn, visit www.BlountMomsToday.com