Spartan Spectator -Cherish Danae: A Star in the Making

By Eram’e Tost

and Kendall Marshall

The Spartan Spectator recognizes and highlights the achievements made by Forks High School students and spotlights the outside life of teachers. Every month, a student or teacher will be recognized as a Spectator Star. An inside look into the achievements and experiences of Forks High students and teachers will be revealed.

This month’s Spectator Star is Cherish Danae, known as Ms. Varlack to her students. Cherish Danae is the musical teacher at Forks High and Middle School teaching Band, Music Appreciation, and Choir. Cherish is originally from Texas, enjoys reading, and works at the Forks Twilight Museum. On top of everything, she is pursuing a solo music career.

Journalism interviewed Cherish to get an understanding of how she balances a musical career as a teacher, and her hopes for the future. Eram’e Tost led the interview with Cherish Danae.

Eram’e: Hello.

Cherish: Hello.

Eram’e: How are you?

Cherish: I am doing good!

Eram’e: Okay let’s dive into this, the first question we have for you today is what inspired you to begin your journey as a musical artist?

Cherish: Well it is kind of a long story, I come from a very musical family. My mom is a choir teacher while my dad is a singer. I was forced to sing in the choir with my mom. However I did not want to sing, I wanted to be a dancer. It was in sixth grade when I discovered that I did in fact like to sing. My first public performance was at the sixth-grade talent show and I sang “La la Land” from Demi Lovato. High school was when I started taking singing seriously, and in college, I studied music. In 2020 when the pandemic hit, I shared my music with followers and recorded music in my room, marking the beginning of my career. Eventually, my music was promoted by Stephanie Meyer and has grown ever since.

Eram’e: That is quite the story, our next question is who are your musical inspirations and how have they affected your songwriting?

Cherish: My first inspiration is Tori Kelly. Tori is my favorite artist of all time. Similarly to myself, Tori started in her home with a makeshift studio she created from scratch. Tori’s tales of love and heartbreak, I feel connected to in a way. Her performances and everything she does is who I want to be as an artist. My second inspiration would be Orin Laive. He wrote a song for the Chronicles of Narnia. His album The Opposite Side of the Sea is an avant-garde, multi-instrumental album, reminiscent of a lush orchestra. Another inspiration of mine is Matt Maltese. My 2022 Spotify Wrapped consisted of him as my number-one artist. His voice and songs are emotionally striking to me. All three of these artists are very diverse, which is also how my music is represented.

Eram’e: Knowing that you teach at Forks High School and Middle School, how do you balance your job with your musical career?

Cherish: It was and still can be a challenge, but now promoting my EP and working with other artists on songwriting has helped. I also tend to feed my creative brain when teaching my music classes. I am more focused on teaching right now in order to inspire the younger generation. Right now it is calm, I am just taking it day-by-day.

Eram’e: Speaking of your EP, you have just recently released your very first EP, Cherish Danae. How does that make you feel as an upcoming artist and what can we expect from you in the future?

Cherish: My EP was a huge thing for me! Some of the songs that I released were five years old. There was definitely a lot of anticipation leading up to this point. I began the process in November 2022, when I first contacted the studio. In February 2023 I went to Boston to record one song, and eventually flew back to Boston In June 2023 to record the rest. In November 2023, my songs were sent back to me from the producer. It feels really good to have the music out now, these special songs really represent me. What you can expect from me in the future is my new song “Eyes Open Wide” which was released February 21, 2024. I wrote this song for my friend’s book series three years ago, it is essentially the theme song for the books.

Eram’e: We are definitely excited and will be streaming. The final question I have for you today is, what is one piece of advice you would give to other rising artists?

Cherish: One piece of advice I would give is to put your art out there even if you’re the only one who will ever hear it. Be proud, and your art will reach the intended audience. Even if it is only one or two people, it matters. If I never become a superstar, and whether my music is heard by thousands or hundreds, it still is meaningful to me.

Eram’e: I think that is a very important piece of advice to give, thank you for your time.

Cherish: Thank you.

Stay tuned next month to see who the Spectator Star is for February. If you believe you should be recognized, email Kendall Marshall or Eram’e Tost with your achievements or impacts you’ve made for FHS. Shine on Spartans!