Artist Profile: Cher


CherilynSarkisian, better known for her stage name Cher, is a singer, model, actress, and television actress that is most famous for her glamorous stage outfits and her unique and distinctive voice that is often described to be hard to replicate. Because of her six decades of success in the music industry, Cher is considered as the “Goddess of Pop,” as there are currently no female pop artists that are able to match her accolades and popularity.

Cher was born in El Centro, California, on May 20, 1946. Her mother is Georgia Holt, a small-time actress and part-time model, while her father was John Sarkisian, a truck driver claiming to have Armenian-American descent and is a drug addict. Cher’s parents decided to divorce when she was only ten months old, and her mother then married an actor named John Southall. Because of financial problems, Cher was left by her mother at an orphanage, and although Cher’s stay there only lasted a few weeks with constant visits from her mother, the singer described the experience to be traumatic for both her and her mother.

CherilynSarkisian then found her passion for music and film when she starred as Audrey Hepburn for a stage performance of the musical Oklahoma!, which was held when she was in the fifth grade. However, it was also during this time when Cher thought about not having an “attractive appearance” to be famous if ever she pursues a career in singing and acting. Nonetheless, she continued to dream of being popular one day, and at the age of 16, she left her mother’s home to go to Hollywood.

It was in Hollywood when she met Salvatore “Sonny” Bono, a singer and songwriter that was the protégé of iconic record producer Phil Spector, while hanging out in a coffee shop. Sonny Bono then hired Cher to be a housekeeper, and it was during her tenure as Bono’s employee that she was introduced to Phil Spector. Hearing that Cher has a wonderful voice, Spector then hired her to become a backup singer for the artists that he is handling. Some of the tracks where Cher can be heard singing in the background are the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” and the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby.”

Spector allowed Cher to sing as the main vocals for his song “Ringo, I Love You,” and this song would become Cher’s first single, although she sang it under the name Bonnie Jo Mason. Unfortunately, most radio stations in the United States didn’t allow the song to be aired, as they believed that it was a homosexual man that is singing a love song dedicated to Ringo Starr of The Beatles. However, what they didn’t know that the singer was a woman who has deep contralto vocals.

Sonny and Cher musical duo

Sonny Bono did not have romantic interests for Cher at first, but they eventually develop an intimate relationship, which led to them being wed on October 27, 1964. Cher and Sonny Bono then formed a musical duo called Sonny and Cher. During their time as a duo, they were able to produce hits, such as “The Beat Goes On,” “What Now My Love,” “Baby Don’t Go,” and “I Got You Babe.”

By the end of the 1960s, Sonny and Cher were unable to recreate the success that they had in the mid-1960s, and as a way to regain their popularity, they starred in a variety show called “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, which started airing on August 1971. Unfortunately, the show was canceled in May 1974 due to the couple divorcing in the same year. Cher was given another chance to star in another variety show that was aptly named “Cher” and aired from 1975 to 1976.

Because of contractual agreements between Cher and Sonny Bono in the 1960s, Cher was unable to sing or record music in the mid-1970s. It was in this period that Cher worked as a model, and she would often give gratitude to American producer and film studio executive David Geffen for helping her find work outside the music industry.

When the contract between Sonny Bono and Cher expired around the late 1970s, Cher was able to record music again, with one of her first released songs being Take Me Home in January 1979.

Despite having success in music, Cher would often return to the film industry to star in a variety of movies. One of her most praised roles was in the 1983 film Silkwood, where she starred as the lesbian friend of Meryl Streep’s character. Because of her outstanding performance in the said film, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 56th Academy Awards. Another brilliant performance by Cher as an actress was in the 1987 film Moonstruck, where she played the role of a 37-year old woman who falls in love with the younger brother of her fiancé. It was in this movie that she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1988.

Because of her busy and tight schedule in the 1980s, Cher developed chronic fatigue syndrome in the 90s, which forced her to lay low in the music and film industries. Despite not performing and acting as much as she did from the 70s to the 80s, Cher was still able to land roles in notable films, such as Mermaids in 1990 and Tea with Mussolini in 1999. Cher also found success in music during the 1990s, and one of her singles, “Believe,” won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 1999. It is believed that Cher started the “auto-tune” trend when she released the said song.

From the 2000s up to the 2010s, Cher has headlined three tours, namely “Living Proof: The Farewell Tour,” “Dressed to Kill Tour,” and the “Here We Go Again Tour.” The first tour mentioned, which was the Living Proof: The Farewell Tour held from 2002 to 2005, was supposed to be Cher’s last tour before she retires from touring. However, due to popular demand, Cher went on to hold two more tours, and those are reported to be top-grossing tours in the years they were held.

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