Cherimondis J can’t quite shake the past on ‘Nonsense, No Sense’

The singer and songwriter embraces the coronavirus era as a time for self-reflection and growth

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Cherimondis J

Singer and songwriter Cherimondis J recently awoke from a dream with lyrics to a new song tumbling through her head, words that she couldn’t shake over the passing days and weeks, as much as she might have wanted them to disappear.

Snippets of melodies and song lyrics frequently come to the musician overnight, and she’ll generally allow them to simmer for a few days before writing anything down, content with the knowledge that anything worth hanging onto will find a way to stick. But this new song dealt with a past relationship that Cherimondis thought she had fully put to bed, and which she wasn’t eager to revisit. So she kept waiting for the tune to evaporate.

“It wasn't a bad relationship, but it was a long relationship, and after being with somebody a long time you don’t just stop loving them,” said Cherimondis, who will release the resultant song, “Nonsense, No Sense,” via the Women to Note Columbus Instagram page on Monday, March 22. “You can tell yourself, ‘Oh, I’m over it,’ and I thought I was over it. And then, what do you know, your subconscious just throws it at you, like, ‘Well, are you really?’

“I like to say I have a little musician in my head, and he’s playing for me and all I have to do is write it down. … And sometimes that song in my brain is very loud, and it just keeps going, playing like a broken record, and that’s what happened here. This one was pretty persistent, and was not in any way, shape or form trying to leave. So I felt like that was my cue, and I actually felt a lot better once I put it down.”

The twinkling, soft-lit track, produced by Derek Christopher (Wandering Stars), could simultaneously double as a reflection on pre-COVID times, with Cherimondis recalling past days when people could hold one another close — a personal reflection that now carries a global weight. 

According to the musician, the song could have only emerged from this coronavirus era, which has afforded her more time for self-reflection and allowed her to dig further inward for that inspiration. 

“I think that’s honestly what COVID has been for, in a spiritual sense,” she said. “Humans have this innate thing about rushing. ... You work every day, and you forget to eat and you forget to sleep and you forget to take care of yourself. … What’s happened with me through this experience is that I’ve had so much time to sit with myself and to get to know myself better in a space that’s not being bombarded by other people, along with their opinions or doubts or whatever. And that’s made me closer to my intuitive sense, and allowed me to express my emotions better in my music.”

Cherimondis has had a passion for music as far back as she can recall, but the drive really crystallized in the time she spent at Stivers School for the Arts in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio, where she would start each day by logging an hour in the recording studio, which quickly became a refuge from the difficulties that plagued the singer’s home life in those years. 

“It was a very bad time in my life due to a domestic violence situation, and it was one of those points where I was afraid for my life and my mom’s life,” said the musician, who wrote the song “The EverEnding,” off of her debut EP Cherimondis Unleashed, after awakening in the middle of the night surrounded by an all-consuming darkness. “We were living with my aunt at the time, and I had to throw away my cellphone and smash the battery to make sure the location [tracking] was off. We weren’t using any electricity, out of fear of being found out, and I woke up at 3 a.m. and it wasn’t a normal, night-type dark, but it was an abyss-type dark, and it was so cold it didn’t feel real at the time. And ‘The EverEnding’ came out of that.”

Amid these darker days, Cherimondis said the recording studio served as “a bright light,” and a place to “dust off every emotion” that she had, affording the self-described introvert a place where she could finally open up in the hopes of making a greater connection.

“Very few people know me on an intimate level, and I don’t mean sexually, but who I am as a person,” said Cherimondis, who is in the midst of recording a new album inspired by Pandora’s Box, which she described as having a “timeless sound” far removed from her comparatively dark debut. “I make my music the way it is because I want to express myself, and I want people to know me on that level. I want them to know: This is me. This is who I am.

"It also allows me to make friends, in a way, and to let people know that they’re not the only person having those experiences. … It’s not just me letting the world know who I am, but also letting them know that they’re not alone.”