Interview With The Heart and Soul of KLYMAXX, Music Legend Cheryl Cooley
Hello Hustle and Soul Magazine readers! It’s our distinct pleasure to bring to you an original member and guitarist who is the heart and soul of the first all-female Funk/R&B/Pop band KLYMAXX, Cheryl Cooley.
KLYMAXX is a self-contained all-female band; this means they play every instrument live with arrangements. KLYMAXX is the only R&B all-female band that has charted on Billboard Magazine. KLYMAXX and Cheryl Cooley continue to ignite diverse audiences of all demographics across the globe. She also continues to drop new music and detonate audiences into the joy of the funk.
We’re confident that our readers would be attracted listeners to Cheryl Cooley’s story because she’s had high ‘ups’ and very low ‘downs’, but the survival of it all is all was worth it, no matter anyone else’s opinion of what they think it should look like. Her life story surrounds managing and overcoming obstacles that can become triumphs over time. Some of Cheryl’s greatest successes came in many unconventional ways. She says that there is no playbook in life, so make life the best you can. And laugh! Laugh at life, laugh at yourself, laugh to make life not so heavy. She also tells us that if she can overcome receiving death threats for one of the biggest lies in this century, not become addicted to drugs or alcohol, and have a good sense of still loving people and getting up on each one of these stages with her head held high; she knows she is winning and blessed.
This is the story of a woman who has been lied on, hated on, praised, and loved, yet she is Unstoppable. The music that she was blessed to make is timeless and it means something.
We’ve obtained an exclusive interview with Cheryl to discuss success and the music industry. Hustle and Soul Magazine readers, please enjoy our interview!
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Cheryl: Being the musical director and responsible for getting Klymaxx to the connection for a record deal. Having written the music for Klymaxx’s first record release. Having gold/platinum records with Klymaxx. Wrote music arrangements for my high school band for the football games season As a learning youth musician, being a part of the City of Compton’s community Communicative Artists Jazz Band, both as a guitarist and a junior conductor. My first professional paid gig as a kid was performing opening act for comedian, Redd Foxx.
Having a Music College Degree in Commercial Music. Being able to read, write, score, and arrange music. Being first chair (guitar) for 70’s artist, Thelma Houston, when she travels with a band. Klymaxx being awarded the first annual Women Songwriters Hall of Fame award in Washington, DC in 2021. In the Klymaxx song, “Wild Girls”, writer/producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, specifically wanted me to play the wild guitar solo at the vamp end of the song. Because of their confidence in my guitar acuity and abilities, it catapulted my own confidence in my performance ability. It furthermore, changed the way I play even today and I am forever grateful to them for that.
What do you define as success?
Cheryl: First being happy with yourself knowing that you’re doing your best in your life situations. I think having a comfortable life, where you can choose the crab legs or the chicken nuggets, you know the good eats, while being comfortable, stress-free with financial stability matters to me and defines success.
In this industry, there are many ups and downs, one day a person can be a supporter or a hater. So, you have to find happiness within to balance all of the other non-sexy things in life. But, having the level of financial substance that allows for basic essentials and extra for the extras in life without worry is a blessing.
Now the “Bonus Track” to my life, would be following your passions, developing your occupation, and establishing hobbies. A little-known fact, I like building Legos and watching Murder and FBI series. Can’t ever be too comfortable, lol.
What would you consider your biggest business failure?
Cheryl: Believing that everyone around me wants the same high level of success. Some people really do have “the fear of success” and can sabotage themselves and others just to stay in a low-level comfort zone. Another thing I’ve learned was about being too trusting of people’s intentions, being very apprehensive about protecting my brand and my image, not being as vocal about the truth to protect those who create a false narrative to make themselves look better, and being confident in knowing my worth and value when negotiating and dealing with promoters, other musicians, DJs, family members, and humans… the list goes on and on.
Do you believe in work-life balance? If so how do you maintain it?
Cheryl: Yes, I do and I must admit, I’m not good at that. Music and the business of my music are so much of my life that it intertwines with my everyday living. I know I must learn to make room for more balance. As an independent artist not signed to a label, I have to do everything on my own. This is a blessing and can be overwhelming at times.
In the next six months, Cheryl plans to be performing live concerts as much as she possibly can, recording new music, and having fun doing it.
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