Hey there person on the other side of the screen. Thanks for checking out my site and music. I'm tickled pink to be able to share it with you. If you want to skip over my bio, you can scroll down and find my personal blog (or just click here), which I try to update regularly. If you want the whole kit'n'kaboodle, well then, read on....

I remember playing the piano while cartoons were on mute when I was a kid, trying to make music to match the purple elephant's heavy steps, or the little fairies flying around, or the bouncing gummy bears. Those days at the piano haven't changed much except that I'm now writing music to sing to. After some recent time of feeling sort of lost in the world, I started writing songs that would cheer me up. I wrote the record I needed to hear. That's what "One Up" is to me.

So the story goes: I started playing the piano at age 3, was a total ham in grade school (I would practically force my little sister to perform musicals I wrote in our backyard), and then I went to Cornell to study biology and ecology, with a double major in music. My first job out of school was doing SCUBA diving research for the United States Geological Survey. While saying "I dive for the government" sounds fairly badass, looking for mussels in the Delaware River was far from glamorous. I also really missed my piano. So when the river got too cold and we went on a break, I found myself in Rome, Italy, writing music for a web site. And thus began my music career. From freelance indie film composing to picking up side jobs (like personal training and bouncing at a bar, for reals), I was lucky enough to land a job at one of New York's finest editing houses, Crew Cuts.... as a messenger. Loved it, learned a lot. Fast forward one more year to getting hired as an assistant tech at the top notch jingle house, BigFoote Music. This led to opportunities to compose for commercials. All this time in New York, I thought, "hey, if I had a record, I could pitch my songs to these ads." So I joined a few bands to "see how it was done", learn the ropes and, pretty soon, met enough musicians to form my own band. Before long, "Shoes Off And Run" was born. The second child, "Craving The Second" popped out and now we are celebrating the arrival of "One Up". (These are albums, people, not actual names of children.)

Where am I now? Well, sitting at my computer, possibly in the country, possibly in my New York studio, in between working on a few freelance composing jobs and recording my most recent co-written song. Or maybe I'm booking the next tour to Switzerland, or scheduling the next orchestra recording session. Either way, I'm really loving life and I'm so grateful that you want to listen to the products that come out of it.

For fun, here are some facts you will never need to know about me:

  • 1. I'm left-handed.
  • 2. I have a hard time keeping most houseplants alive.
  • 3. I have a strange love for fish (live ones only).
  • 4. I have a strange love for Skittles.
  • 5. I adore "The Princess Bride" - the book, right next to book 3 of Harry Potter.
  • 6. I've been told that for being 5'9 and 3/4", my size 8 tootsies are too small and I should be teeter-tottering all over the place.
  • 7. I try to recycle everything and get really pissed off by litter.
  • 8. I'd rather watch TV than a movie.

Now, here's the official bio blurb that the business-types (the kind that give me advice) wanted to post:.

About Cheryl

Cheryl Engelhardt considers herself a "music creator who shares her process", working as a freelance composer for films and ads, a songwriter, and an author of articles and E-courses written for aspiring artists.

After graduating from Cornell University and spending several months SCUBA diving for the United States Geological Survey, Cheryl landed a job at a New York City jingle composing studio. There, Cheryl started first as a technology assistant, then as a composer and music supervisor, writing music for Fortune 500 companies’ commercials. During this time, her love of performing took over and while working in the ad industry, she put together her band and recorded her first album, “Shoes Off And Run”, in 2004, which won her VH1 and Billboard Songwriting awards as well as the Unsigned Artist of the Month in Keyboard Magazine.

Cheryl released her sophomore album, “Craving The Second”, in September 2007 with the marque singles “16 Walls” and “Keep”. Both songs have appeared on MTV’s “The Real World”, and “Keep” was heard in several episodes of ABC’s “All My Children.” Cheryl left the jingle house to pursue touring through the USA and Europe, appearing on the bill with Seal, Elvis Costello and Jason Mraz, and performing on the FOX Morning Show.

In May 2011, the piano-toting virtuoso released her third album “One Up”, which features a combination of upbeat pop songs and edgy anthems. This record was funded by fans and quickly got placements on an ABC Family promo ad, Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance", ABC's "Jane By Design", Pandora Radio, and in stores like Anthropologie. She is currently licensing all of her music while working to create new songs for other artists. Some notable co-writes have been with Toby Lightman, Brian Desveaux of the band Nine Days, Ladd Smith, Cameron Ernst, Cyndi Harvell and Millie Hansen (the last three whom she met while attending ASCAP's prestigious month-long Lester Sill songwriting workshop in Los Angeles in 2012).

Her commercial credits include Ziploc, Lysol, Lowes, Sonic Drive Through. Known for her speed and prolificness, Cheryl demonstrates her versatility as composer for, for whom she creates pop culture parodies, raps, Disney-esque musicals, and web series scores. She brings her love of building emotion, strengthening characters and collaboration to her dozens of film and documentary scores.

Cheryl has become known as a powerhouse in the music-creation world across several entertainment industries including the film, advertising and music industries. She speaks about being an independent musician, business woman and creating a career to love at colleges and music conferences like SXSW and the Millennium Music Conference. Her successful E-course is called "In The Key Of Success: The 5 Week Jump Start Strategy" and she is currently working on its sequel. She is scheduled to speak at SXSW Interactive 2013 about the importance of music in online video content and branding.

More information at

Ok, back to me... .

Actually, that's really it. Thanks so much for stopping by! Below is my personal blog, and you can read more music-y articles in "Living On Gigging", under the INDUSTRY tab. Enjoy!!


The Starving Artist’s Silver Lining

This entry was posted in Living on Gigging, On a Personal Note, Published Articles and tagged , , , .

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(as first published in Discmakers’ blog, The DIY Musician)
(I was also going to title this article “Why Our Job is Better Than Theirs” or “Why Being a Musician is the Sh%t” but decided against it.)

There have been many times when I’ve caught myself in what I call P.P.P. (the Predictable Paycheck Predicament): being jealous of my roommate as she left the apartment at her regular time to go to her regular job to get her regular paycheck. (Definition of “regular,” by the way: arranged in or constituting a constant or definite pattern.)

But then I went back to sleep. And when I woke up, I probably went for a run, got some groceries, replied to emails, worked on a song, set up a pitch meeting or two on the subject of composing for a new film or licensing my last record, then I might have grabbed coffee with a friend in town, came home, called some venues for my summer tour, had a glass of wine while watching the latest episode of NCIS online, then researched publishing companies for my new indie artist E-course. Or something like that.

P.P.P. is really just another grass-is-greener complex, and once I get myself present to [read more]

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The Baby Committment

This entry was posted in Living on Gigging, Music Business, On a Personal Note.

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It’s been a while since I’ve written. You’ve heard this before, right? From other artists whose mailing lists you are on. Maybe you’ve heard it from a friend over email. Or perhaps you’ve written it yourself. The cause of such a hiatus, I have observed, is usually due to the creation of something that takes all of one’s energy and attention. I’ve heard it from my friends who just had a baby. And I’ve heard it from friends who were looking, and then finally bought a house. And I’m writing it now, to you, because I released a record.

For the past year and a half I felt like I was at war. Or at least in a very intense wrestling match… With myself, with my bank account, with my loved ones, with my music, my lyrics, with everything. It felt dramatic, pressurized, urgent, as if this was IT, the last chance, the final statement. Very theatrical, I know. Really, what was happening, is that I was making an album. That’s all.

I’ll have another post soon about my exact process of raising $25,000 from fans and sponsors to fund the record, and the process of selling [read more]


The Task of Asking

This entry was posted in Living on Gigging, Music Business, On a Personal Note and tagged , , , , , .

The logistics of staying small are quite voluminous. Even being a perfectionist is a form of procrastination. The comfort of “being a starving artist” is overwhelmingly powerful. As a sense of urgency for change crept in, I got clear that I had to create a context of fearlessness, creativity and freedom for myself and let this new context propel my next actions. Continue reading

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Freedom Flyers

This entry was posted in On a Personal Note and tagged , , , , , .

I’m 30,000 feet above sea level with intention of landing at 6500 feet above sea level and remaining there for a week. I didn’t have to take time off work. I didn’t have to email my boss. I didn’t have to move things around. I just booked a flight. Continue reading

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Extraordinary Fences: Hosting the Circle

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as written for Song Circle Music

When I got the email from Tina Shafer (New York Songwriter’s Circle founder) asking me to guest host the Circle at New York’s famous Bitter End, I was beyond honored. This is the thing… I’ve played the Bitter End a dozen times, and performed in both the New York and Philly Circles several times. What made this Circle so special to me was that I didn’t feel I did anything extraordinary to warrant such an invitation. For years, I was a fairly normal indie artist on one side of the fence. The people on the other side were those who choose contest winners, picked singers for publishing deals, got musicians on commercials.

Let me explain. It’s not that I don’t think I AM extraordinary. Clearly, I’m fabulous. But I didn’t win any contests, get any major record deal, or have anyone dance to a song of mine on So You Think You Can Dance. I was a finalist in the first year of the Songwriter’s Circle contest back in 2006, but I didn’t even get top three. Since then, I’ve just been a familiar [read more]

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LOST and found

This entry was posted in On a Personal Note and tagged , , , , .

It’s very hard to get people to like you. Welp, I should speak for myself. Not being the cool kid in high school taught me that early on. Fact: Being president of the drama club and starting a school recycling program does not win you an invitation to the hockey team parties. To get people to like you enough to buy your music, come to your show and donate some of their hard-earned money to support your artistic endeavor, no matter how positively inspiring and worthy, seems like the last path a socially nonchalant individual should follow. Yet here I have found myself.

For the last five months, I’ve been getting more and more excited every time the 23rd rolls around. Today, my excitement was exasperated by 3 sleepless nights in the studio mixing, stressing and cooing over a new song. And now that it’s out in the world, I feel like a fan after the series finale of LOST… empty, sad, strangely satisfied, wondering what’s next and overall just pooped.

I made a promise to myself last December that I would feel full of purpose [read more]

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Sh!ts and Giggles From Iraq

This entry was posted in Living on Gigging, Music Business, On a Personal Note and tagged , , , , , , .

Like many entrepreneurs, start-uppers, project initiators, and believers in the impossible, when launching my One Up project to write and release one inspiring song a month for 2010, I knew that the money to make it happen would come. I had no idea it was going to come from Iraq.

On my One Up webpage, there’s a big red button to donate to the project to help cover costs of producing the songs, in return for some fan perks like t-shirts, singing on a tune, a private house concert, etc etc. For the month of January, as my e-mail program dinged with alerts from PayPal that another fan had donated a few dollars, my heart would swell with gratitude. Last week, however, I thought it was going to explode when I got notification that a US Military Sergeant (with a mailing address that includes “Troop” and “Calvary”) nearly tripled the amount of money I had raised this year with a single donation. His note in the line labeled “Donation Purpose” read “Sh!ts and giggles.”

Luckily, PayPal gathered his email address for me and I was able to write him a sincere thank you. His light-hearted response to my thanks was that [read more]

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Paying Dues- The Relative Minor

This entry was posted in Living on Gigging, Music Business, On a Personal Note, Paying Gigs.

I just finished my 5th set of the evening of the 5th day in a row of restaurant/lounge/casino gigs in Switzerland. I took these gigs to fill in the time between “real shows”- ie, performing at real venues with stages and people to listen and buy CDs and to connect with. This week’s shows were what I considered time for rehearsing, refreshing, and refunding. I got to run all my new songs with out worries that anyone was really listening. I refreshed my memory on how to play a bunch of old tunes, and, I was being paid to do this. Really not that bad. If I can look past the angry French chef who literally said “your music is not good, play Beatles” and resist the temptation to blame language barriers (that wasn’t really he meant to say), and if I can look past the unusually low CD sales, perhaps I can say this week was a good thing. In the back of my head, though, I felt like I was paying dues.

The phrase “paying dues” is what I relate to as washing the bathrooms at a recording studio seven years ago, staying late [read more]

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Eggs on the Rocks

This entry was posted in On a Personal Note, On The Road.

It’s not even 9am in Hamburg, Germany, and the city is rocking. I can’t find eggs for shit, but bars are open and people are sipping morning beers. I really just want eggs. Heavy metal is blasting out of one window while a car passes me with two girls bouncing to a rap song. And let me mention that last night, in my tiny “hotel” room, I put my head on the skull & crossbone pillow and fell asleep to the lullabies of the punk-rock genre. I turned down the free jack daniels shot you get with your room key. I woke up and opened the blinds to see a guy puking outside my window. Yup, I’m in Hamburg, staying in a “Rock & Roll bar + hotel”, walking around, looking for eggs.

that is not my pillow. it came with the joint.

I walk by the outdoor stage where I’ll be playing tonight. It’s in a plaza surrounded by restaurants, shops and graffiti. It’s a huge stage. I’m psyched. I wish I had my band so I could rock out the way the city seems to be. And I’ll be playing at 8pm. Who KNOWS how hard the city will be [read more]

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Being hooked up: Mastering Jack

This entry was posted in Music Business, On a Personal Note, On The Road and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

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And though I’d like to call it vacation, because I am having the time of my life, I’d feel lazy calling it such. A whole month on vacation? with no pay? Impossible. Idiotic. Especially in these times…. right?Possibly. Or not.A few months ago, I was telling a good old friend (the kind that tells the bitter truth no matter what) that one of my articles was being published in Keyboard Magazine. His response: “Now you’re a writer too? Well aren’t you the jack of all trades, master of none.” I hung up. Continue reading