Ava Cherry paying tribute to David Bowie with her version of 'Let's Dance'
Updated: Jan 11
Nu-soul/nu-pop diva Ava Cherry has released her version of former paramour David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance."
The track, a energetic homage to the legendary artist, is full of pulsating rhythms and smoldering vocals and is the first release from her forthcoming album, which is slated to drop sometime during the Spring. The album will also feature her next single "Testify for Love."
Cherry will be performing her version of "Let's Dance"at the sold out "A Night of Stardust" in Philadelphia at Union Transfer.
The show is a part of the Philly Loves Bowie week of events celebrating the life of the legendary singer to celebrate his birthday and the day of his death.
From 1974 to 1978, singer and model Cherry, along with Robin Clark and Luther Vandross, formed a trio called the Astronettes, singing back-up for David Bowie.
During that time, Cherry and Bowie began a relationship as she traveled the globe with him, performing in front of large crowds and spending time with megastars like John Lennon and The Rolling Stones.
Bowie even produced her a new wave album for her, which unfortunately didn't see the light of day until years later.
When their relationship began to struggle, Cherry went back to her hometown in Chicago where she met Curtis Mayfield and released her first album Ripe.
Her debut and her two subsequent releases didn't garner much attention and she ended up returning to sing with Bowie before joining up with a gaining in popularity Vandross, subsequently appearing on his Any Love album and those thereafter.
Now, having recently signed with Mymy Madyy Pepper Gomez’s Chicago-Miami-based label Wake Up! Music, Cherry is ready to take her career to the next level.
Rock Life got a chance to chat with Cherry yesterday as she prepared for her show this weekend.
Q: Have you been happy with the reaction to your version of "Let's Dance?"
Ava Cherry: Oh my god, yes! It's really been getting a great reaction. I mean I have a pretty wonderful fan base and a great Facebook and Instagram page that support me. I'm happy with the track and I'm happy with the reaction I've gotten so far, especially since it's only been out for a week and we've gotten at least three reviews that were really great.
Q: And what made you decide that was the track you wanted to put a new spin on?
AC: Well, I'm doing "A Night of Stardust" Saturday night and when they said to me that they wanted to do something different with me, meaning I'd still be performing with the band, but they wanted me to do one song with a track behind it, like a house track so people can dance to it. I said yes and when I thought about it I decided that if I was going to do it, then I was going to release it. I wasn't going to spend money to track it and then not have it available. Then I got signed to my new record label and I asked if they were willing to produce and promote this track and then get to work on the other stuff and they said yes so we went in and recorded it.
Also, because I'm doing some dances with this house music, I thought "Let's Dance" would be the best title to draw that interest and get people to dance along to.
Q: What does it mean to you to be able to do things like "A Night of Stardust" that help keep David's music alive?
AC: It means a lot to me because I loved David and with his birthday yesterday and tomorrow being the day he died, it's a very emotional time for me right now. He was my mentor and my friend and my lover. He was so many things to me and he just contributed so much to the music world and he let me help do that. Because of him, I ended up being a part of pop culture. I'm appreciative of that and I want to continue to honor his name for as long as I can.
Q: What do you think it is about his music that has kept it as timeless as it is?
AC: You know, it's the way he recorded some tracks like "Space Oddity." They are classics in the same way that The Beatles did with "Eleanor Rigby" and "Let It Be" were in that they just came out as instant classics. So many of his tracks, much like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, had so much meaning for people and continues to do so. I can't tell you how many people come up to me and tell me that when David Bowie came along he brought some meaning to my life. You know, I was gay or whatever and I felt lost, but he made me feel like whatever you were, you could belong and you could do whatever you wanted to do.
You know, it's like with Michael Jackson. When MTV didn't want to play his videos, David spoke up and said hey, why aren't you playing this amazing, great stuff? So he always defended everyone and didn't have a racist bone in his body. Even with him being with me, he never even had to think about it, he just didn't care. I always appreciated that.
Q: It's been a long journey for you and it's taken a lot to get to where you are now with new music finally on the way. What does it mean for you to have the new label backing and such loyal fans?
AC: It means a lot to me. My calling is to make people feel soothed and feel some emotion through the music, particularly happiness and love. We're coming out on Valentine's Day with my new song "Testify For Love" and that's exactly how I feel. I feel as though I"m testifying for not only people in intimate love, but love of the world and love of mankind, because right now we really need those thoughts and images. We're in a crisis in our country and people are hateful and not giving love and giving people time. We need to sing on it.
Q: What do you want people to know about your music? What is it about this time right now that makes you feel that it's where you want it to be?
AC: Yeah, I mean I do feel like it's where I want to be. I feel like it's representing me and I'm doing what I want to do and saying what I want to say. I'm writing the way I want to and with the words that I want people to hear and know and understand and love. I feel as though in the past sometimes it's hard to get to that point and have the right kind of support behind you. It really is a journey and I feel now that my life has come full circle and I understand what I need to be doing. I feel very good about everything that's happening right now.
We're also getting ready to do a film about my life with David Bowie that we started to shoot in June. It's going to really explain a lot of things for people who don't know me and will explain why I was there besides just being David's girlfriend. I was also his muse and a part of pop culture and he confided in me and asked my opinion about so many things. For instance, when he told me that he'd been wanting to do a soul record. He said he loved Aretha and Marvin Gaye and all those soul singers and he got my opinion on it. I told him we needed to go to the Apollo and put together a band and then record and that's what we did.
Q: What do you feel was the best thing you learned over your years in the music industry?
AC: I would tell people and youngsters that they need to believe in yourself. That's the most important thing. Maybe take a page out of David's book and just believe. If you don't believe in yourself, then you're leaving it open for nobody else to believe in you either. If you truly believe you have talent then you need to stick with it. There were times when I thought maybe I should move on, but then I said no, I'm not going to give up! I decided to believe in myself until the end and to keep on going no matter what obstacle is thrown at me.
Q: And what's next for you?
AC: Well, like I said, I've got the film coming out. I'm not in it, but somebody is going to be playing me when I was seventeen and met David. My next single comes out Valentine's Day and it's about love. And before that, I'm saying everybody, let's dance! Just get out there on the dance floor and shake your booty!
Q: Anything you want to add?
AC: Just that there's a lot of things I"m going to be doing and a lot of different projects. I will keep you posted so stay tuned everyone!