Poised at the brink of innumerable seemingly incompatible contradictions, musician and songwriter Eagle-Eye Cherry not only reconciles them all – he harnesses the friction and fashions from it a powerful, personal sound that is both accessible and provocative. For instance, Cherry calls Sweden home, although he was born to an iconic American father and has spent much of his life in the US. His music is contemplative and intimate, yet has resonated widely and achieved international popular success, most notably via the propulsively seductive single “Save Tonight” and a string of subsequent hit singles in Europe, Australia, South Africa, and Brazil. His newest music seeks to fuse his homespun, handmade roots with a widescreen sense of scope. “I’d hesitate to say there’s been a master plan,” he reflects on his career and recordings. “But, at the same time, you can definitely trace a journey through my music.”

Eagle-Eye’s wide-ranging sensibilities and ability to incorporate seemingly contrasting impulses can be at least partially credited to his upbringing and heritage. He is the son of pioneering jazz musician Don Cherry. “He will probably be the most fascinating person I will have met in my life,” Eagle-Eye reflects, still in awe. “Don Cherry wasn’t only my father: he was also a great friend who had an amazing perspective on life, very much about living in the now. He will always be a major inspiration in all that I do.”

Raised in bucolic, rural southern Sweden – “An unbelievable place; dirt roads and lakes and stuff,” he remembers – Eagle-Eye left to attend school in Manhattan, where his outgoing personality and quick wit lead him to embrace drama. While he also played drums in a few fly-by-night outfits, acting was his chief concern as he entered his twenties. “After a while,” he explains, “I started getting a lot of  work, and in New York, the money was really good. It wasn’t like I was consciously forgoing the family business, it’s just that I was the class clown, and loved acting.” Through the triumphs and trials of his sister, trip-hop pioneer Neneh Cherry, Eagle-Eye was privy to both strange mechanizations of the music industry and approached with caution, on his own terms.

As Cherry’s sense of self developed, he decided to pursue songwriting more seriously. At the relatively late age of 26, he returned to Sweden and began composing in earnest. “Sweden felt like a safe environment to start in. The apartment I had rented in Stockholm happened to have an acoustic guitar in it,” he recalls. “I’d never really played before. I had played drums, and had bought some equipment to help me learn about sampling and programming, but the guitar gave me an outlet of expression and forced me to simplify my ideas.”

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“It didn’t feel like I exploded,” he says. “For me, taking every step into consideration, it was a slow build.” The irony of the album’s humble beginnings did not escape Cherry. “I had made a mellow album, thinking I could tour clubs with an acoustic trio,” he says, with a trace of awe still tangible. “I had no idea I would be playing huge radio shows or venues with over 20,000 in attendance.”

The release of Desireless sparked off two years of constant touring, performing, and promotion – pausing briefly to contribute a lead vocal to Sanatana’s enormously successful Supernatural album. This whirlwind of activity directly fed into the creation of Cherry’s sophomore project, Living in the Present Future (2001), which featured a duet with sister Neneh and production by industry titan Rick Rubin (Def Jam Records, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Dixie Chicks, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.). “I felt like it would be dangerous for me to take a break,” Cherry explains. “The final song I wrote for Desireless was ‘Save Tonight,’ and I could tell that my next album would be more uptempo, more optimistic.” Cherry immediately responded to Rubin’s insistence on quality material and preference for feel over technique. “I like the simplicity of Rick’s style, and the fact that he likes to record live. There’s something that happens when musicians are playing in a room together, looking each other in the eyes. It’s magic.”

Eagle-Eye spent another year on the road, then returned home to Sweden to decompress. “I got back in early 2002 and was able to sort through a lot of stuff,” he recalls. “On the road you live in a bubble and you have to put a lot of things on the back-burner and decide to deal with them later. I needed to take a break and to clear out the closet.” He began work on his third album, Sub Rosa, which was released in Europe in 2003. Sub Rosa was Cherry’s most concentrated attempt to blend his signature warm, immediate style with the textures made possible by sampling and technology. “I’ve always been fascinated by those kind of techniques,” he explains. “I knew I wanted one day to work in that vein. So on that record, I thought about the production a lot more. In the past, I found solace in songwriting with simple parameters. This time the sound is definitely bigger and more panoramic.”

After Sub Rosa Cherry felt that he needed a break. “I was coming off of a lot of touring and promotion in support of Sub Rosa, and I could feel myself starting to burn out.” he adds ”that break lasted a lot longer than I ever thought it would.” Reemerging nearly seven years later from his self-imposed exile, Cherry found himself with a new perspective, surveying a deeply altered landscape.“During the time I was away,” he continues, “my life had changed completely. And so had the music industry…”

In the years leading up to the release of “Can’t Get Enough”, during autumn 2012, the wholesale fragmentation of the record label-driven system that Cherry had become accustomed to was well underway. The digital revolution had confounded the industry’s old guard, and had made the means of production and distribution more accessible to musicians than ever before. Eager to return to the scene, and armed with a growing arsenal of compelling new material, Cherry decided not to wait for a label’s blessing to begin recording.

The clarion urgency of “Can’t Get Enough”, suggests an artist reinvigorated by his time away and eager to reassert himself, while the tenor of its creation—exploratory, relaxed, unencumbered by industry interference, and taking place against a backdrop of major upheavals in Cherry’s personal life–took Eagle-Eye back to his earliest days as a recording artist.
“As we were really getting into the recording process for this record,” he recalls, “my mom [the Swedish artist Moki Cherry] passed away unexpectedly. That put a halt to everything. The interesting thing is, when my dad died, I was just starting out—a bit unfocused, still finding my way. I had to stop wasting time and move forward. That’s how my first album came to life. The same thing happened when my mom died: I knew I had to get out and get back to work.”

As Cherry put finishing touches on “Can’t Get Enough”, he and his girlfriend welcomed the arrival of their first child, Daisy—a fitting conclusion to the cycle of loss, confusion, and renewal that fueled the album’s creation.

At last, Cherry fully revels in his own abilities—as a musician, songwriter, and collaborator in life and music. Eagle-Eye Cherry has a fifth album in the can and now he is more than ready to hit the road.
”I’ve never been more pleased with an album,” he continues ”I wrote this album on the move, the same way I grew up”. The album was recorded in Nashville and Stockholm.

”Now I am just really excited to give it to people…”