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Sherie and D Smoke’s Love Shines On New Single “Candlelight”

Written by on February 14, 2023

Rapper and songwriter D Smoke and violinist and singer Sherie are a musical power couple. For Valentine’s Day, the two sat down with Vocalo mornings host Bekoe to discuss love, their careers and making music with meaning. 

California-based rapper D Smoke and singer, songwriter and violinist Sherie found love in one another — but first, they found a deep passion for musical collaboration. Combined, the couple has a mountain of different accolades; D Smoke was nominated for a Grammy as best new rapper in 2021 and Sherie’s violin-playing has been featured on tracks at the top of the charts, including Ariana Grande’s “Positions,” and the two toured internationally with Alicia Keys in 2022. 

Before they traveled the world together with a renowned superstar, though, it seemed as though the two were continuously brought together by fate. They met when Sherie was called in by a mutual producer to play strings on D Smoke’s 2020 track “Rapture” — and the rest is history. After collaborating several more times, the two began to form a connection greater than solely their artistry.

“I got to see him outside of music… who he was outside of D Smoke, and we just connected on a deeper level,” Sherie recalled. “I just realized that, ‘Oh, wow… Okay, I could see something deeper… [A deeper] connection than just the musician front.’”

Sherie and D Smoke, by iironic.

While the two have collaborated on several music projects since then, their newest work, Sherie’s single “Candlelight,” has taken their collaboration to a new level — and lets listeners in on their relationship’s intimate moments.

“I just believe lighting a candle is… a special sacred moment, a time where you just literally get closer to the intimate parts of yourself, or intimate parts with your partner,” Sherie described. 

In conversation with Bekoe, the two broke down the role a phone charger played in their marriage’s origin story, the ins and outs of touring with Alicia Keys together, their musical backgrounds and more.

Bekoe: You’re tuned into Vocalo Radio, Chicago’s only NPR Music station. I’m your host Bekoe, and alongside me, I got Sherie and D Smoke. How are you all doing? 

Sherie: We’re good! 

D Smoke: Excellent. 

Bekoe: You know, with it being Valentine’s Day, how did you all first meet? 

Sherie: So… it was a studio in North Hollywood. I forgot the name, but… I was working there a lot. And I forgot the name of the studio, but it was a studio in North Hollywood. And there was a producer that I knew that was a mutual producer that worked with him as well. And he was like, “Yo, can you come in and lay some strings and some vocals for an artist named D Smoke.” And I was like, “Yeah, yeah, sure!” So we, yeah, it was like one of his songs called “The Rapture.” You know, we had a good vibe, just like talking. And once we left the studio, it was like a thing of like, “Oh, okay, well, we gotta connect again, we gotta connect again.” And every time that he had a project, anytime he had something, he would hit me to be like, “Oh… hey, come through… you want to come in session?” And the last time that we did a session, I left my charger at his house. 

Bekoe: You did that on purpose! That sounds like… [Laughs]

Sherie: I left my charger at his house! And I was like, “Yo, I’m going out of town, but when I come back in town, can I come back and grab it?” And he was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” 

D Smoke: Let me say mine! So I was like — because we kept seeing each other, and it seemed like every producer or even video director at wherever, like, the video director for “Rapture,” she was like, out of all of the tracks, she picked out the violins and was like, “I hear violins in there, get the violin player who played it.” And I was like, “Oh, yes, this girl…” She was like, “Even better, get her.” And then I’m working with DJ Battle Cat… on this one song, and Battle Cat is like, “Man, I hear live strings on this… I want to get live strings, you know anybody?” So then I’m like, “Dang, that’s crazy. I do, I just met somebody. I’ll go and call her again.” And then that’s when she, you know, she left the charger. And then, so, when I called her, like, “Hey, is this yours?” Or no, she called me like, “I left my charger. But I’m going out of town. Hold on to it for me.” I was like, “For sure.” I was like, “Well when you come get it, we gonna have to grab some food.”

Bekoe: Real smooth player listing with it! Okay!

D Smoke: Otherwise, I’m selling the charger on eBay, you will never see it again.

Sherie: He didn’t say that!

D Smoke: If we can’t grab nothing to eat, you know, I’m gonna offer up this charger and get a couple bucks for it.

Sherie: We ended up hanging out like the whole entire day. It was just like, it was the thing where I got to see him outside of music, you know, who he was outside of D Smoke, and we just connected on a deeper level. And I just realized that, “Oh, wow… Okay, I could see something deeper… connection than just the musician front.” 

Bekoe: Music. You said, you know, you play violin. You’re seen in a video, I want to say — what video is that? D Smoke, that you first put Sherie when she was playing the violin? 

D Smoke: That was “Rapture.” Directed by child.

Bekoe: Sherie, for you, how long… when did you get introduced to the violin? Because… that’s not an easy instrument to play, at all. 

Sherie: Yes, I got introduced to the violin when I was about 8 years old. I, literally, I was in elementary school. And they had the option to, like, go to band or orchestra or chorus. And I was just like, I love a violin because it just has this singing element to it, like when you hear it played, it just sounds like a singing voice. Both my parents, they don’t play instruments. My mom was a singer… My dad used to rap and things like that. But, when I did the violin… I really believe it was a divine thing, because it was just something that I never let go, all to now, I was always just drawn to continue to learn. My parents were like, “You have to go to lessons!” I was just like, “I’m going!” I was just like, Mom, “I have to.” Like, “Oh, wow!” It’s the thing where I always just want to dive deeper and deeper into it, and learn how to play different types of music on the violin, other than classical. But jazz and hip-hop and, you know, just wanted to kind of like, you know, just really dive into all the ways it could be played, and just… until now, I just never stopped. And so it became an extension of who I am, as an artist. 

Bekoe: I mean, when did you extend from the violin to the singing? Was the singing before, or did you kind of merge that in, later on in life? 

Sherie: It was before. So my singing… I was always singing before, I was always singing with my mom, singing at church, singing… just always singing. And that kind of drew me to the violin, because it sounded like a singing instrument. And I was just like, “Okay, cool. I want to learn how to make it sing.”

Sherie and D Smoke, by iironic.

Bekoe: If I’m not mistaken, you transitioned from Atlanta to LA… around this time when you were — well, when you were learning violin. Were you still in Atlanta at that time, or did you already transition? 

Sherie: So I moved to LA in 2019. 

Bekoe: So what actually led you to want to… take that journey, move to… all the way west coast? You down south, you moved west coast. So what led you to… want to take the hike to LA? 

Sherie: I really wanted to go to LA because it just had a lot more musical opportunities. It was… for me, it was more diverse, it was more… it just had more variety of things to do. When I moved to LA, I was like, “I’m going by myself.” My mom was like, “You have a year to make something happen, because you don’t know anyone out there. How could you just move to LA and you don’t know anyone? What are you going to do?” For a year, I was doing little things like teaching violin, teaching voice and doing different gigs out here, but what kind of solidified it was when I landed my first big placement with Ariana Grande on “Positions.”

It got me a publishing deal with Warner. And then it just kind of got me situated as being able to, you know, make a living and write songs for people and things like that. And even how that happened was crazy. 

Bekoe: I want to also tap into tour… you all toured with Alicia Keys. How was that, going on tour, with no kids, alongside Alicia Keys? 

Sherie: I was honored to be a part of it, because D was invited to open for her and he was like, “Yo… let’s go, I want you a part of the set.” And when we were out there, it was my first time — it was our first time going to Europe and seeing different cities, like Paris and Denmark and Germany and all these beautiful places. But, for me, it was just being able to, of course… see her firsthand and see how she does her thing as an artist. She’s incredible. And then it was like also seeing the love and how everybody responded to the performance. They just were very receptive and just in awe of what D brought, and how he brought me and his uncle who plays the bass and his nephew and assistant, who did the background singing and dancing and things like that. It was just a beautiful, well-rounded performance. And I believe that the people really enjoyed the musicianship from him playing the piano, and then me playing the violin and his uncle playing bass. And… just the whole everything. It just was an amazing show, on top of amazing time with an amazing crew of people, and, of course, Alicia. So yeah, it was a great experience. 

Bekoe: I know, D… you’ve been doing shows here, there. Before the conversation, I spoke on how you were here in Chicago, and you performed. So to actually… have your backbone be with you, how was that for you? Because now you have your supportive system, and then both of you all are musically inclined, and you all are able to experience that together. So… for you, how was that? 

D Smoke: You know, like you said, that you just got your support system there, which… when you need that recharge, you have your person… that’s there. But, you know, it’s also not without its challenges… me, particularly, when I work, I go into a certain mode… So having to negotiate the type of space to stay in that mode — almost in character. Like last year, I got into — not got into, but got back into acting kind of seriously. I’m on a show called “Mayor of Kingstown” right now, and working with a good friend of mine and a wonderful director, Tasha Smith. There’s a principle, and I’m maybe misquoting it, but it’s just called, like, “cumulative energy” that, over the course of multiple takes, you develop momentum in that character. So, in-between takes, they’re like, “Hey, look, leave people alone, don’t have them come back and… have to focus on being courteous, being nice. No, if it’s a dark scene, don’t pull them out of that.”

So in the same sense, on tour, there are like real conversations that grownups have to have where it’s like, “Look, you know, the immense pressure of every night…” Because it’s one thing to be a festival season, but tours bracket. So we’re not drinking. People offering drinks, you’re turning them down, because it’s like, the sleep isn’t the same. Sometimes you’re… oftentimes you’re sleeping on the way to the other city…. that is the sleep we’re gonna get. And so, because you’re not getting the same quality of rest, you’d better not be drinking and smoking because you will actually…  Especially with my raps, because my raps ain’t like, “I chill, I feel, I do this, I’m skilled.” Like, that ain’t my style…

Bekoe: Did you just freestyle that? You just freestyled that, D.

D Smoke: Right… but that ain’t how I get down. I mean, at that pace, I can freestyle a whole album. You know what I’m saying? But this stuff is lyrical. So, trying to give that level of performance every night, it’s like, you got to protect your instrument. And that’s what they say on set, “Protect your instrument.” 

Bekoe: Let’s chime into the music. You know, D Smoke, you dropped two projects in 2021. You dropped several singles in 2022. You dropped several singles, too, as well, Sherie, and now it’s V-Day. And, finally, you all come together for a single called “Candlelight.” Why did it… I mean, I could be mistaken, but have you all did a track together before, outside of you being on the violin, Sherie? 

D Smoke: I mean… there’s some songs that she’s on, of mine, that haven’t been released yet. 

Bekoe: Got it. 

D Smoke: We dropped the song “Better Half,” where she sang… the sample intro. At first we had an Amel Larrieux sample, and Amel Larrieux, we were using it and didn’t know that she just don’t be clearing stuff… We sent it to her, she’s like, “Oh, this is so beautiful. No.” [Laughs]

Sherie: We sampled, yeah, we redid our own version. 

D Smoke: So she’s on “Better Half,” and it’s appropriate that it is that way, because it’s my song to her on ‘War & Wonders.’ 

Sherie: So yeah, but we haven’t put out one that’s like, you know… featuring me.

Bekoe: Correct. Who titled this track amongst you two, “Candlelight,” who came up with the title? 

Sherie: Yes, yeah, I came up with the title. Me and Daniel have a lot of candles in our house. We light candles a lot. We light candles a lot in our house. I light candles… when it’s my reflection time, when I’m with myself and spend my time with God and devotion, I light a candle. When we spend time together, we light candles, when we… I just believe lighting a candle is a sacred moment in time, where a focus — a special sacred moment a time where you just literally get closer to the intimate parts of yourself, or intimate parts with your partner.

So that’s why, at restaurants you see they up a candle right in the middle of the table — because why? It’s a moment where you’re eating dinner together and growing closer to each other. So it’s like… in the bedroom, there’s candles lit. Why? You know, any song, “Turn off the lights, light a candle.” Any song, any love song with candles, the song is always a sacred moment of bringing two people together… or bringing yourself closer to whatever reflection time, or thing. So I just believe just that candle light is just a beautiful sacred moment. And that’s what I wanted to kind of focus on, some sacred moments in our relationship and what brings light to that. 

Bekoe: Sherie, let people know, let the world know what single we finna get into, go ahead and introduce it. 

Sherie: Alright! So this next single is called “Candlelight,” by Sherie and D Smoke. I hope you guys enjoy.

Keep up with Sherie and D Smoke on Instagram.

Interview hosted and produced by Bekoe

Introduction written by Joshua X. Miller and Morgan Ciocca

Transcript and editing for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca

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