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Exciting Things are Happening for Cherokee Upton 


Fresh off her Old Gray Idol win Celina native, Cherokee Upton is preparing to work with the Sonic Lyft out of Cookeville. She is hoping to release two singles within a month.

Although she has been singing and preforming for much of her life, she says that in the last four years she has gotten more serious about preforming. She was raised by music lovers; her mom introduced her to Old Country and Bluegrass music whereas her father introduced her to Rock and Woodstock era music. 

Cherokee exudes love for music, she said although her influences for her music are more Bluegrass, Old Country and Southern Rock, her preference for listening is wider. Grunge music ala Nirvana is her favorite music. 

With dreams of one day playing the Grand Ole Opry and Billy Bobs, Cherokee has graced stages all over the Upper Cumberland. Before she could even drive, she was heading to open mics, driven by her mother and grandmother. She attributes her confidence with her music to these trips. 

Cherokee remembered a time in which she was heading to Milwaukee but changed course to a Jazz festival in Louisiana stopping along the way to play for money. “You are never broke,” Cherokee stated, “As long as you want to go sit on a sidewalk or something, you can play for gas money.” An adventurous spirit has taken Cherokee to shows in Nashville, Jamestown, Cookeville, Livingston and more. 

The first time she performed was at a church in Celina, she recalled singing an acapella version of Old Rugged Cross, and the first time in a recording studio was with her grandpa, or Pappy as she calls him, they performed Iko with changed lyrics she created accompanied by bongos at the ripe old age of seven. 

Cherokee has opened for Deana Carter and Chris Knight and hopes to one day open for Wynona Judd, Ashley McBride or Kat Hasting. Cherokee said she would have loved to meet and work with Melanie Safka, a musician who sang at Woodstock and lived less than 100 miles away from Celina, but unfortunately Safka passed away in January of this year. 

Cherokee shared one wish she has, which is for her little sister, Cloe affectionately called Jug, to sing some harmony with her one day. She said she would tell people interested in pursuing music to not be afraid of failure, and “Chase your dreams because they won’t get up and chase you,” she laughed saying she write a song or something with that title because she says it all the time.

“One thing I want the world to know I can’t be anywhere in life without God, and support from my hometown. I appreciate each and every person around her who’s always supported me by coming to my shows or talking sown my nerves even when I was a kid or sometimes now. I want to give special thanks to Pappy and Jim Stevens for pushing me and even making me mad sometimes, but they always mean well. I love them to death.” 

Aside from singing Cherokee is pursuing a degree with the hopes of becoming an occupational therapist, unless of course her singing career takes off.  

Cherokee has upcoming shows February 29, at Steel Coop in Livingston and March 3, at Jamestown Community Center for a benefit for her guitar player.