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Don't Call Her Baby
Madison Avenue's Cheyne Speaks Her Mind

How did you get involved with Andy Van? How did Madison Avenue get started?

Who? Oh, Andy! Oh, him! <LOL> We'd been working in clubs, as in night clubs, for about 12 years. So has Andy. He's been deejaying and I've been doing choreography and dance work and freestyling and fashion parades and that

kind of stuff. So we were working on various nights together and ended up hacking around in the studio together as well. Over the years we've done several different projects together, some of which have been good and some of which have been bad. Hopefully we're getting better as the years go on. This project just happens to be one that has gone really, really big, so everybody has found out about us.

Your bio mentions that you've been doing these forms of production work, including the choreography. How has this experience helped in what you're doing now as an on-stage act?

Greatly, I think. There's an element when I get up and perform, especially in a night club, it's something that, because we've been doing it for so many years, I'm really comfortable and at home with it. Especially in a night club format, more so than perhaps road shows that are a little bit out of the norm for me, that's all a bit new for me. I think it has helped me have an understanding of what is required onstage and added a consistent level of professionalism that I think is really important.

You said you've been doing this for 12 years. How does it make you feel when people consider you an overnight success? It all seems to have happened rather quickly.

Other people's perception of me is entirely their prerogative and not something that I have any control over or would want to even if I did. It's a separate thing to me. How people perceive me really doesn't have anything to do with who I am, and I don't base my decisions how other people perceive me either. I don't think you can afford that. You can spend a whole lifetime trying to please other people, and I just don't have that kind of energy to spare. I have too much to do. If people like what I do, that's fantastic, and I love that, of course. And, if they don't, that's OK. They don't have to like what I do.

How have things changed for you since "Don't Call Me Baby" hit so huge?

Obviously walking down the street has become an interesting ordeal. <LOL> Also, I think my family has breathed a sigh of relief. I'm not a teenager that has decided I want to be a pop star and has been picked up by a record label and made into it. I've been working at it, at being successful at what I do in production and writing and songwriting for many, many years and they've always sort of wondered, I think, if I was going to get a "real job." It's kind of paid off, and I think they've all gone, "Oh, OK. She's OK. She's not insane." <LOL>

It must feel good to have your family finally understand why you're doing this.

Yeah! And that I'm capable, too. They don't know me from anyone else. Unless you know someone that is in the situation that I am, you don't recognize what it takes to get there because you've never met them before. But mom and dad are my biggest fans, so it's kind of cool. My mom can't walk into a record store without asking do they have any [of our albums]. If anyone ever says they're sold out, she says, "Oh, good!" <LOL> "So, you didn't want me to order out one?" And she says, "Oh, no--I've got one!" She's a mother. They get so excited every time I have more news about what's happening and what I'm doing.

When you finished writing and recording "Don't Call Me Baby," did you think to yourself, "This is a smash!"?

No, not at all. We knew we had a good club track. It wasn't until the bidding war started in the UK that we sort of went, "Oh, shit! This is bigger than we thought!" <LOL>

You first hit really big in Australia. What was it like to get such support from your homeland?

The whole thing has been a bit surreal. It's strange having complete strangers, because you're not a stranger to most people, it's the other people that are strangers to me. To have them know so much about what I do and my life and where I am and what's happening in it is a little bit surreal. I look over my shoulder sometimes and wonder who people are staring at. I don't know if it's one of those things you ever get used to. Maybe you should ask someone who's been famous a bit longer--it's all a bit new to me! <LOL>

Certainly you are enjoying the newness of it?

It's one of those things that comes along with having a track that does so well and creates such a profile. It's neither good nor bad, it's just part of the job. It wouldn't matter what I was doing, I would make the decision to enjoy it and have fun. It's just part and parcel of what I do, I suppose.

What was it like to have a #1 single in Billboard Magazine, the industry's pinnacle? That seems like a really "big deal." How did youfeel about that?

Yeah, that was pretty amazing. In fact, it didn't really sink in until I actually saw it written in the magazine that we'd gone to number one. It was about Wednesday . . . We found out very late Sunday night that the chart was going to come out in the morning and we were going to be #1. And we were like, "Really? Wow! That's great!" I rang my mom and dad, and said, "Guess what? We're going to be #1!" And they said, "That's lovely dear." Then on Wednesday in the car, I read the magazine and all of a sudden it came home. I went, "Oh, shit!" I was very obnoxious for several hours and was all girly and excited and annoyed everybody.

It seems that dance music is really crossing over into radio culture. What do you feel is attributing to this?

I just think it's a hell of a lot bigger than anyone ever thought it was going to be. The club culture is an extremely strong culture. It's not just about . . . where maybe a few years ago it was just about a few nightclubs . . . nowadays it really is an entire culture. It has really expanded and developed and has some heavily grounded roots. I think it also produces a brilliant style of music, and I think that can only be ignored for so long. It's a big world--so it takes a while for it to reach everybody. Irrespective of what you're doing, whether you're an artist and you're painting or you're making music or whatever it might be, this is a community that is growing and growing and growing, so it stands to reason that it's going to take a little bit of time to reach everyone. It's one of those things, when you're running a business like a radio station or TV network or a magazine, you really can't afford to make mistakes. You need to know something is a sure thing before you get behind it and support it--whether that be a style of music, an artist or whatever. It might be hard from my point of view, speaking as the artist if people won't give you a break. Me, personally, I'm not looking for a break. I'm quite happy to work for what I get. Certainly if I were in their position at a magazine or a TV station or a radio station, I'd do the same thing. I'm running a business. It's so much about the media--of who is successful and who's not and what forms of music are going to grow and which are not. They've got so much control.

What is it like to now turn on a radio station or walk into a club and hear your voice?

It's completely different for each format. For a radio station, I'm like, "Ugh! Quick! Turn it off! I don't need to hear it again. I've got to perform it tonight, and I've got to enjoy it!" I really don't want to hear it more than I have to because it's really important to me that I get up there and have a bit of fun while I'm singing it and that I enjoy it. If I hear it seven times a day, I don't think that would help me. As for clubs, generally you get the remixes in clubs, which I particularly like. So I don't mind hearing it in the clubs at all. Also, we designed it to be played in a club. All of our music is designed for a night club, so the vibe and the way that affects a room is phenomenal, and you can see it firsthand. On the radio, all I'm hearing is what I'm hearing--I'm not seeing how it affects other people listening to it. It's fantastic in a club to see people throw their hands up, and scream and run for a dance floor. <LOL>

"Who The Hell Are You," the follow-up, has already been a break-out hit in Australia--and it's beginning to make waves in the U.S. How do you predict its success will compare to "Don't Call Me Baby"?

It's really hard to do. You try not to put any expectations onto a track, and just hope that it does really well. Whatever it does is good enough for me. Ultimately, I've already written a track and produced a track that I was happy with. I'd like to think it would do as well as "Don't Call Me Baby," but if it doesn't chart that high, then it doesn't chart that high. It's kind of hard. You're always setting yourself up for disappointment if it doesn't do anything. I think you kind of have to get to a point with any kind of art form to just let it go. "My job's over now. There's nothing more I can do. I'm doing all the promo that I can. I'm meeting all the people that I can. I'm talking to the people that want to speak to me and are interested in what I want to do. I can't do any more than that. It's now up to the record labels and the radio stations and all these factors to make it work. I have to let it go." Otherwise, you spend your nights not sleeping. <LOL>

This is slated for part of an album that is scheduled to be coming out very soon, isn't it?

In your territory it is, yes! I don't know the dates yet, I'm sorry.

When we first contacted Sony about doing an interview, they had no information in place about the album. At that time, it was strictly a single.

Yes, we've been desperately trying to--the album has always been in the process of being made. We've been making it for over a year, and everyone's known that. But nobody's ever known what the date would be. We've been running so far behind because we've been on this promo run since the beginning of the year. And we were only half-way through the album when we left. It's really fucking hard to make an album when you're on tour and finish it. So we've only just sort of finished it and handed all the pieces over to Sony Columbia in America so they'll finally be able to start putting something together, which is why you and I are now able to talk, basically.

What is the album going to have on it, musically? Will it be strictly dance, or are the rumors true that it will have a slight R&B flavor to it?

It's called "The Polyester Embassy," and it covers the spectrum of club music rather than dance music. It's not all 120 bpm [beats per minute] 4-on-the-floor. There's a track on there called "It's Alright," which is really a sort of lazy, sexy laidback R&B track. There's a track on there that's also a bit slower, laidback, jazz-orientated with some nice funky beats under it. There's some beautiful classic house, and some interesting little interludes through it all. And there's some of that funky disco house that you've already heard from us as well, a couple more tracks like that on there. It really covers "club" rather than 120 bpm dance music.

What promotional stops and appearances have you planned to support this?

Yes, all of that. The diary is pretty full--to the point where I don't really have a day off until half-way through next year. Something insane like that. There's TV. There's radio. There's mags. There's all kinds of stuff, and, of course, the live performances. That's really, really important to us. If people see our club performance, that's our favorite kind of performance.

Is a promotional tour of America expected?

Absolutely! We're coming over next week!

Where will you be found?

I have no idea! <LOL> I have looked through the itinerary, but I haven't had time to sit down and locate where those places are. Because I don't live there, I'm not as familiar with the territories as you would be. I know some of the places. We're doing Houston, and New York, and L.A. and San Francisco and other places I can't remember off the top of my head. So we're kind of all over the place in the next couple weeks.

In closing, is there any particular message that you would like to send out to those that have been so supportive--and will continue to be supportive--of Madison Avenue?

Oh, God! Thank you so much. It's absolutely . . . It's overwhelming. America's the market everybody really, really wants to crack, and it's a very, very hard market to crack. The fact that everybody is being so supportive, and playing the music and interested in chatting with us, and interested in what we're doing, it's just the most huge compliment. When the record label keeps sending over these lists about the Billboard Dance Club Airplay Charts over there, that we've gone to #1 in so many territories. Seriously, the hair on the back of my neck just stands up. And I go, "Oh, FUCK! That's America!" <LOL> So thank you very, very much for all your support. I hope there's plenty more stuff to come that you'll thoroughly enjoy!

Click here to purchase Madison Avenue's CD from Amazon.com

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