Houston-native Cheryl Fortune had just dropped off her 13-year-old daughter to school, when a thought came to her mind. The words – and tears – started. She couldn’t help but think about the handmade Mother’s Day card her daughter had given her. The last page said it all: Fighter. By the time Fortune had gotten home that morning, she had the words of her latest single, “Fighters”. “My children saw that I was fighting, that I couldn’t tolerate any more abuse and that we could do better,” says Fortune, a domestic abuse survivor.
After Hurricane Harvey battled Fortune’s native Houston recently and flooding rains forced she and her four children to evacuate their home, “Fighters” took on yet another meaning. “It doesn’t matter what it is, but if you want to win, you’re going to have to fight for it,” Fortune says. “Now, Houston is fighting to move on from Harvey and rebuild.” Fortune is donating the first month of royalties from “Fighters” to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. “As long as we band together, we will fight through this tragedy,” says Fortune. “Houston will be better than ever!”
Fortune says music always has been an important part of her life, ever since her mother and father insisted that she and her siblings learn how to play the piano. “Music always has been a key to my healing,” she reflects. “During my dark moments, I find myself journaling and it’s those words that turn into some of my songs. I’m hoping when someone turns on my song, it will change someone’s mood in a positive way.”
Her single “Fighters” is a triumphant anthem with a driving beat and powerful, inspirational words. Her debut album, “Simply Cheryl”, builds off of this theme. “These songs are telling my truth, my story,” she says. “I want others to know there you can tap into the strength within. That there is prosperity in your heart and your mind – it’s not just about wealth.”
As a songwriter, Fortune is most noted for co-writing James Fortune & FIYA’s No. 1 hits “I Trust You,” “Still Able” and “Live Through It.” Her songs have also been recorded by gospel greats such as Shirley Caesar, Tasha Cobbs and Zacardi Cortez. She also co-wrote the Top 3 hit, “Hold On,” which features Fred Hammond and R&B singer, Monica.
Fortune was a member of the Grammy-nominated gospel act, James Fortune & FIYA, where she served as the group’s vocal arranger, backing vocalist and occasional songwriter from its inception until her separation and subsequent divorce from the group’s leader. Over the last two years, Fortune has toured on contemporary gospel legend Kirk Franklin’s “20 Years In One Night” world tour as a background vocalist and a vocal director.