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Chérie: “Solidarity is key”

Solidarity is key. As stated frequently in the most recent weeks, it is not enough anymore to be against racism; we have to be proactive and encourage the people fighting for their rights where we can. Artists have the opportunity to use their reach to spread important messages against injustice and for peace. The poetry […]

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Solidarity is key. As stated frequently in the most recent weeks, it is not enough anymore to be against racism; we have to be proactive and encourage the people fighting for their rights where we can. Artists have the opportunity to use their reach to spread important messages against injustice and for peace. The poetry by Sekou Andrews always was one of making a positive impact and empowering humans to be their best awesome selves. Sometimes it can be difficult for artists to take a political stand but linking the poem and song with Color of Change was a very natural thing to do. Civil rights of biracial and people of color need to be secured now. The time for this final societal step has come because finding unity as brothers and sisters of one human family will save humanity.


As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing The String Theory’s Chérie.

Chérie, born as Patricia Peters in Luxembourg, is a founding member of The String Theory Orchestra. Active as both a singer/songwriter and visual artist within The String Theory, she is also a researcher in metaphysics.

The String Theory is a GRAMMY®-nominated artist collective and orchestra based in Berlin, Gothenburg, and Los Angeles. Since 2006, the international group has provided a creative joint venture production platform for composers, artists, musicians and visual artists from different countries. Exploring the outskirts of contemporary neo-classical music, electronica and wild pop by means of collaborative workshops, studio recordings and live performances, The String Theory pursues a long-term experimental approach in their art. They constantly investigate new ways of interdisciplinary collaboration, incorporating visual works, developing new performance concepts and facilitating international artist networking. They have performed numerous shows and concerts to sold out audiences on multiple European and North American tours, including renowned Swedish-Argentinian artist José González. In 2020, the ensemble were nominated for a GRAMMY®-in the category of Best Spoken Word Album for their collaborative album with American spoken word poet Sekou Andrews. Their newest album, “The Los Angeles Suite,” is set to debut on August 28th, 2020, with tracks like “Hollywood Calling” and “California Lover” featuring collaborations with singer-songwriters including Addie Hamilton, Shana Halligan, vox, and more.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/665acec82a92616896dd895816d47a57


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to this career path?

As an international collective of artists and producers who have dedicated their lives to music, arts, and humanistic endeavors, The String Theory orchestra was founded in 2006 to bring together artists from different genres and overcome potential barriers between music scenes to merge and create a new unified ensemble of performers. One main aspect always had been that already known musicians and bands would share the same stage and attention as newcomers. The underlying theme from the beginning was the parallel to the theoretical framework of the string theory in physics, that suggests that everything is made up of tiny strings vibrating on different frequencies and that at the core of every existing matter, “there´s nothing but a dancing vibrating cosmic symphony of strings.”

As the String Theory orchestra is fluid in its essence, around 200 musicians and performing artists from all different backgrounds, genres, nationalities, and levels have been part in vibrating and dancing together over the last thirteen years, making it one of the most versatile and dynamic neo-classical ensembles existing.

Malte Hagemeister, a German musician, producer, and co-founder of the label California Music who lives in Los Angeles, saw one of our concerts when The String Theory played in LA in 2018. He quickly realized that PC Nackt, the conductor, was his old bandmate from 20 years ago. They loosely promised they would do a String Theory recording session if the orchestra returned to LA. It so happened to be that one year later the composers team of PC Nackt and Ben Lauber, executive producer Sebastian Gäbel, head of sound engineer Tilman Hopf, and some of the other ensemble musicians, stayed after our String Theory 2019 North American Tour in April with José González and were joined by amazing musicians and artists from Los Angeles. Malte and his co-founder Kristian Nord from California Music organized the whole session.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or take away that you took out of that story?

One of the most interesting stories is how quickly some people understand the power of this project and are so emotionally touched that they decide to work with us for the long run like the Swedish singer/songwriter José Gonzalez did or like the spoken word poet Sekou Andrews did. After recording one song with us during the session, Sekou decided to do a whole album with us that we then submitted to the GRAMMY ® Awards. We all put a lot of effort and dedication into this album and we ended up getting nominated in the category of Best Spoken Word Album. Now comes the funny part: everything was looking very promising, but obviously we had no chance competing against Michelle Obama´s audiobook “Becoming,” because for years now, the nominees for Best Spoken Word Album are mostly not spoken word artists but audio books by important and famous people. So the lesson is: It’s not about winning awards or making money, it’s about the love for music and spreading good vibes, empowering people, and fighting for the good in humans, helping bring out change whenever you can.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

Be true to yourself and choose to do something you are really deeply passionate about. It doesn’t matter what position you precisely have. If you do your work, as a musician or anything else and in service of a greater good — in service for the betterment of our society — then you actually are successful. Always aim to inspire and empower, if you can achieve that — even if it’s only reaching a few people — then you have been truly successful.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

We all have our idols and people that inspire us or made an important impact on our lives. It will differ between all of The String Theory members, of course, because we all have varying aptitudes and interests, stories and phases in our lives that are dominated by different themes. For me personally, I wouldn’t be able to decide between which of all the many philosophers, authors, artists, musicians, directors made the most profound impact on my life. These individuals and their work have all equally enhanced my growth at the time they were emerging in my life. To be honest, the most profound impact has come from people that died during my younger years — be it the one friend of my older sister that died in a car accident when I was a young teenager as well as a few other people in similar ways that I didn’t know so well, to my father that died from alcoholism when I was 17 years old. It is the most painful, yet deeply valuable lesson that life is offering — death. Which brings me to another deeply valuable lesson of life and maybe the most beautiful: birth. My life radically changed being pregnant and through the birth of my daughter. In conclusion, I have to admit that the person that made a significantly profound impact on my life is my life partner, PC Nackt, who is one of the founders and masterminds of The String Theory Orchestra, too. We met in 1999, when I was 19 years old, and despite all challenges life has to offer, we are still a couple and proud parents, making music and art together since the day we met and hopefully for countless more years to come.

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?

We all have different projects we support and are active with. Malte and Kristian from California Music have founded Viva con Agua California and are regularly raising money for clean water projects all over the world as well as creating important documentaries set to the music of their band The Great Escape, like the homage to immigrants, “Where do We Go From Here?”

PC Nackt has dedicated his recent solo album “Plunderphonia” to Carl Sagan and the importance of critical thinking and logical reasoning in order to achieve world peace.

My work as a lyricist and visual artist centers around the topic of consciousness. I am also a mental health spokesperson, promoting an open dialogue in order to de-stigmatize mental health problems.

With The String Theory project, we have always been striving towards equality and unity in all its forms. Starting from the fact that we always try to keep the women’s quota equal for every project to the trait that the orchestra members and artists don´t need to have a classical training but can also be self-taught. We offer the same opportunities to everyone independently from the background, age, skin color, gender, or any other features. We have organized a workshop to coach newcomer bands and artists, and are eager to help emerging talents. We are actively against discrimination of all kinds, racism, fascism, homophobia, transphobia, and sexism. We promote a culture of openness and diversity and use music as the universal language of understanding and kindness.

Just recently as The String Theory teamed up on “Love Says” with Sekou Andrews, his powerful poem unexpectedly hit the mark with the current events and the aftermath regarding police violence and racial injustice. The message of the video and song is now partnered with Color Of Change in advocating civil rights and the political voice of African Americans.

Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

Solidarity is key. As stated frequently in the most recent weeks, it is not enough anymore to be against racism; we have to be proactive and encourage the people fighting for their rights where we can. Artists have the opportunity to use their reach to spread important messages against injustice and for peace. The poetry by Sekou Andrews always was one of making a positive impact and empowering humans to be their best awesome selves. Sometimes it can be difficult for artists to take a political stand but linking the poem and song with Color of Change was a very natural thing to do. Civil rights of biracial and people of color need to be secured now. The time for this final societal step has come because finding unity as brothers and sisters of one human family will save humanity.

Also, because so many people on this planet don’t have access to clean drinking water, it needs a bigger collective effort to change that and Viva con Agua are dedicated to doing this under the theme WATER FOR ALL — ALL FOR WATER. When artists make music and by that then raise money for a clean water project, everyone wins. What’s great is that Viva Con Agua has already enlisted support from artists like Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Billie Eilish, and the Wu-Tang Clan, Sting, and Patricia Arquette — all who have participated in championing Viva Con Agua’s cause and bringing attention to the non-profit organization.

As a collective we are very concerned about human rights in general, we know that as musicians we already live a privileged life. Our conductor was invited to a project with the El Sistema orchestra in Gothenburg, Sweden. El Sistema is a publicly funded worldwide program that provides free classical music education with the free use of an instrument to impoverished children. It was founded in Venezuela in 1975 by José Antonio Abreu and has now spread to more than 400 music centers worldwide adopting the motto “MUSIC FOR SOCIAL CHANGE.”

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

Quincy Jones shared our Video for “Love Says” and wrote “My brother, poet Sekou Andrews found the words when it seems as though we have been at a loss for them…I hope this inspires you the way it did me.”

After a String Theory concert, people very often reach out and want to let us know what they experienced. They mention their “moments of transcendence,” “ecstatic joy” and “pure bliss,” So we aim to impact and touch many people with our music and words, to contribute with goodness.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

Research, support, and donate to Color of Change. Do as much as you can to fight racism and injustice in all its forms. Speak up and demand change.

Research, support, and donate to Viva con Agua. Do as much as you can to end extreme poverty. Demand political action.

Listen to our music and be inspired. Research, support, and donate to projects like El Sistema. Fight for music and arts to be properly funded in public school education programs.

Make music yourself. Find your passion or a cause that you truly care for and make the world a better place with your contribution.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or an example for each.

-There´s going be setbacks and a lot of self-doubt. I wish I would have been told that I don´t need validation from the outside world and that overcoming self-doubt and negative self-talk is half the job of living life as a musician and artist. Success has many different faces and it is already a huge accomplishment if you can follow your dreams without needing to have a day job.

-Money comes and goes. Investing is part of the work of a freelancer. Money is a tool and not something to cling on to. Sometimes it’s hard to cope with the dynamics of being a freelancer, it doesn´t matter if you are a musician or working in any other field. Commissioned or commercial work can be a relief but many times, by nature, it is restricting your artistic freedom while the things you love to do the most possibly bring no money at all but leave you deeply fulfilled and can open many doors on your path.

-Teamwork is important. Synergy is created when people come together to work on the same thing. You can focus better on one particular aspect because you know you share the whole work with others and the sum becomes greater than the parts.

-Trust. Life is about trusting. Yourself, others, random events. So many things can go wrong, but mostly they don´t. I spent half of my adult working life holding back things because I was too unsure, fearing it would “not go well”. What a waste of time and energy. Trust is not faith, it´s much better.

-Release everything. Don´t wait for later. This will not be your only album, painting, book — whatever, there will be more if you keep going. You have to release your output or creative congestion will take place. Even if it’s not perfect as it is. Be consistent and release your work continuously or you will regret it later.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I believe there needs to be a major reformation of societal and economic structures, and this can only become possible through awareness. We are basically in need of a global social movement. Aside from all of the humanitarian challenges we face from social injustice to extreme poverty and famine, to human rights of refugees and migrants, to international security and peacekeeping, our biggest challenge by far and common thread concerning all of humanity is climate change. We do not realize the seriousness of our situation and do not properly face the issue. We should stop all inequalities and fights in order to be able to face this major crisis that comes as no surprise. Still we are not ready. We need all of our power and resources to secure our survival. This cannot be swept under the rug; it’s going be very harsh if we don’t realize we are all in this together. We should act like one. We have to overcome all differences and see our common ground. Our goal should and needs to be logic reasoning so we can try to protect ourselves. So my particular movement would be the need to create world peace and use all we have, including forthcoming artificial intelligence to reverse the effects of climate change in a common worldwide effort involving each human that is alive here and now.

Please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote.” Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

“You’re going to reap what you sow.” Inevitably, future consequences are shaped by present actions. For many years I was caught in my pain-body, suffering with negative emotions, not able to cope with grief. Repeatedly, I realized that I created so much of my negative experiences through my own actions and that a lot was based on the perspective I was having. The proverb reminded me many times until I found courage to try to break free from the pain. This saying is also a strong warning to my previous answer about the effects of climate change for humanity.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? (He or she might just see this if we tag them.)

It would be very difficult to pinpoint it to one particular individual! Since we are a large collective, I must enlist some of the people that not only myself, but my colleagues and I would love to have private lunch with. They include: Sam Harris, Yuval Noah Harari, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Jared Diamond, Greta Thunberg, Hoesung Lee, Naomi Klein, Michelle Obama, Spike Lee, Tony Robbins, Brené Brown, Eckhart Tolle, Elon Musk, Marc Raibert, Cynthia Breazeal, Radhika Nagpal, Donna Shirley, Michio Kaku, Zhang Kejian, Věra Jourová, his holiness the Dalai Lama, Jane Goodall, Ricky Gervais, Russell Brand, and LeBron James. Just to name a few! There, of course, would be so many more. Why these people? To invite each one of them to create a confederation and then holding meetings between all those individuals and several others to build a structure of improvement facilitating the next steps in human evolution.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Follow The String Theory on Instagram @wearethestringtheory and experience their music including the just released tracks “Hollywood Calling” and “California Lover” from their new album “The Los Angeles Suite” at https://wearethestringtheory.org.

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

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