Cheryl Bentyne was born swinging on 2 and 4, Growing up in Mount Vernon, Washington – Cheryl’s father was a local band leader. To this day, she attributes her deep seeded roots in classic jazz and swing to Saturday nights spent to singing with him. Cheryl’s mother was a bit of a stage mom, driving her to piano lessons and encouraging her to sing with her dad’s band. Singing, something that seemed as natural as breathing out and breathing in, was paving the way for her life… all in this small, rural northwest town!
Graduating early from high school, Cheryl moved south to Seattle – where she joined the campy swing ensemble, The New Deal Rhythm Band. Calling these her “college years,” Cheryl honed her various talents into one big show featuring a Ruby Keeler bit, a little Carmen Miranda and general mayhem with 9 wild swingin’ cats! After 4 years on the road with The New Deal Rhythm Band, she moved to Los Angeles and signed with manager, Linda Friedman. In LA, she attended dance and singing lessons, waitressed, and could be found singing at the Troubadour’s “Hoot Nights” and at the Bla Bla Cafe in Studio City. Then came the fateful day her manager called to ask if she was interested in auditioning for The Manhattan Transfer. Of course the rest (or next 37+ years) is history!
In 1979, Cheryl joined The Manhattan Transfer! She dove head-first into rehearsals and recording Extensions, which establishing the group’s new and electrifying sound ~ garnering their very first Grammy Award for Birdland. In addition to The Manhattan Transfer’s 10 Grammy Awards – Cheryl also won a shared Grammy with Bobby McFerrin for a vocal experiment of sorts, Another in Night In Tunisia. She also co-wrote the title song and Grammy award-winning, Sassy, for TMT’s self-written album, The Offbeat Of Avenues in 1991.
As a solo artist, Cheryl has been honored to work in the studio with friends and musical heroes alike over the years – recording numerous solo albums on Columbia, King Records (Japan), Telarc, Summit Records and now ArtistShare.
1992 – Something Cool, produced by the extremely talented, Mark Isham
2003 – Talk of the Town
2004 – Moonlight Serenade
2004 – Waltz for Debby featuring Kenny Barron and Ray Drummond ~ 2 Swing Journal Awards in Japan
2004 – The Lights Still Burn
2004 – Songs of Our Time
2005 – Let Me Off Uptown a tribute to Anita O’Day
2006 – The Book of Love, featuring lush, stunning string arrangements by Corey Allen
2009 – Cole Porter Songbook
2011 – The Gershwin Songbook (re-released on ArtistShare in 2013)
2016 – Lost Love Songs
You may have also heard Cheryl’s unmistakable voice in several films – appearing on soundtracks for Alan Rudolph’s Mortal Thoughts, A Dangerous Woman, and Dick Tracy (along with Janis Seigel and Lorraine Feather). In 2000 she teamed up with the brilliant playwright, Dennis Deal, and created a Cole Porter review called Dreaming Of Mister Porter. Recently, her speaking voice has also made its mark – recording her first audio book Little Girl Blue: The Karen Carpenter Story by Randy L. Schmidt.
Cheryl feels there is a great need for music in healing, experiencing this first-hand, on another level while lying in a bed, hooked up to chemo. A two-time cancer survivor, Cheryl is now in remission after having a stem cell transplant! Her Spa Music album, Blissongs is a “soundtrack for the soul” and is used in several Los Angeles area yoga studios. She hopes to continue and expand the Blissongs line into breathing workshops and collaborations with meditation guides. Her new-found champion is the creator of The Louis and Lucille Armstrong Music Therapy Center in NYC, where she will open the doors to her desire to work in the music therapy world – sharing her firm belief that music can bring comfort to anyone in distress with an illness.
Cheryl’s finest work of art is her daughter, Zoe. Now 21, Zoe is a vastly talented artist/photographer garnering 3 album covers to date: Tierney Sutton’s American Road and her mother’s Let’s Misbehave and Lost Love Songs.
Cheryl recently put down roots again in the Boston area in her 1838 Farmhouse. Between antiquing on the weekends and coaching singers at a local music school, Cheryl is content and finds balance in her grand old house with her two cats, Mabel and Belle.
UPDATE: Cheryl is currently working on a new solo recording, delving into the magnificent music of Stephen Sondheim. ArtistShare – Release Date: Late 2017