Her sex appeal really grooves but what is the nostrum for the way Cheryl Will picks subjects, themes and metamorphoses them into something special, hip and swinging? Well, it takes a Sandy Wills' courageous Civil War servant great great great daughter, gifted and talented.
She is exceling as anchor and reporter for New York 1 News; this is a woman making history as the first journalist invited to speak inside the United Nations General Assembly Hall for the International Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Cheryl’s has countless awards with an honorary doctorate from New York College of Health Professions. Her internal beauty and amazing looks are highlighted on her acting work on which she plays her in television shows and even major motion pictures. Cheryl is The Founding Commander of the New York Chapter of the "Sons & Daughters of the United States Colored Troops".
Absolute certainty in all areas of her life is Cheryl. Her voice is about communicating, making sure people understand it. Dr. Cheryl Wills is a creative voice adroit to covey soul, daily reality and jazz …
In fact, it’s not a secret Cheryl is into jazz! a jazz lover and supporter. Growing up listening to music her biggest influence was and still is John Coltrane. " Before I write, I turn on "A Love Supreme" and it soothes me. I am also a die-hard Dizzy Gillespie fan. When I first heard "Salt Peanuts" - It was sold on Be-Bop and its innovative sound. In terms of contemporary artist, I adore Wynton Marsalis and Terrence Blanchard. They are leading the charge to advance jazz to the next level. I've interviewed both of them and I'm so proud."
The first album she ever bought was “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis. "I still have it."...she affirms.
We wonder what triggered her to make a career in journalism and when was that? She explains: “I was triggered to go into journalism when I was in grade school. I loved interviewing my grandparents about their young lives and I would write mini-news reports and school reports based on their interviews. My maternal grandfather fought in World War I and he told me fascinating stories about his service overseas."
"If I had to put myself in a single musical genre it would definitely be Jazz. I believe jazz artists have to allow the spirit of angels to take them over during performances because the music is so complex and layered."
Her new book is hitting: "The process of writing "Die Free" was based on my discovery of my great - great - great grandfather Sandy Wills - which I discovered while navigating the website ancestry.com. From there, I discovered dozens of documents that were in the vaults of The National Archives in Washington DC. And that's where I found the hidden jewels of my family legacy including the Honorable Discharge Certificate of my Great Great Great grandpa and the pension records of my great great great grandma Emma".
"The creative process I used was cinematic. I wrote it as if I were writing a movie. And I'm not surprised that people tell me that they felt like they were 'reading' a movie. I wanted readers to feel my emotions and feel the experience--Of my ancestors. I didn't hold back one bit - I allowed my anger to be exposed as well as my pride. I'm very proud of the final result."
Cheryl is currently playing in my CD changer the great Nat King Cole is in my CD changer. I love the song "For Sentimental Reasons". Nat King Cole is one of the great jazz pianists even though he's primarily known for playing American standards."
“I prefer live performances any day of the week! When jazz artists are live - they feed off of the audience and they have to yield to the spirit of the music. My only regret is that my schedule does not allow for more live performances. But I recently co-hosted an event with Bill Cosby where I got to introduce some amazing jazz artists on stage and it was food for the soul."
"One of the greatest honors of my life was the co-host with Bill Cosby at the Dizzy Gillespie’s Memorial Fundraiser, in Greenwich Village and it special because Cosby introduced a whole generation to Jazz with the theme music of his hit show."
Mrs. Wills played herself in motion pictures and recently you filmed an episode of Law & Order.
But Cheryl Wills calling is Journalism, still acting is her hobby and job. She recalls: " I was like a kid in the candy store when I filmed scenes on location for Law and Order because it’s such a classic show and still very popular. The best part is that I get to play myself as a newscaster - so I'm really not acting at all. I'm playing me!"
Cheryl is guiding Clarence her autistic brother on his career as cartoonist. She opens her heart asserting: "My brother Clarence and I are the A-team when it comes to raising awareness about mental health issues. He's always a bigger hit than I am - because people are delightfully surprised by his talent, wit and stage presence. We have hosted events at the world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem and many other convention sites. I am pushing his career as a cartoonist and he is very excited about the future."
The cadence of creations for Cheryl Wills is steady. I wonder where would like to see herself art positioned two years’ time? Cheryl muses:" In two years’ time, I expect to see “Die Free” as a major motion picture as well as a stage production. I will also be writing a children's version of my book and much more. The best is yet to come!"
Ana Isabel O
More Articles in Community Articles
Vocal Jazz Workshops in NYC Spark Interest
A Double Bill of Song and Music: Cecile McLorin Salvant and The Spring Quartet at Jazz at Lincoln Center
THE DAVID WEISS SEXTET - WHEN WORDS FAIL Available on Motema Music, May 20, 2014
Jason Paul Harman Byrne
Drum Legend Terry Bozzio Presents a Solo Musical Performance on World´s Largest Tuned Drum and Percussion Set on Forthcoming North American Tour!
A very special concert from a master of world music
New England Conservatory Presents Special In the Mix Concert Featuring Middle Eastern, Jewish Music and American Roots Ensembles Tuesday, April 22 at NEC’s Pierce Hall