Artists In Their Own Words: Cherie LeJeune and Molly Portier
From Left to Right: Harry Rosenberg, Anthony Mikhael, Cheri LeJeune, Molly Portier, and Albert Moliere
Who: Cherie LeJeune and Molly Portier
Where: Broadmoor (Cherie) and Metairie (Molly)
Artist’s Chosen Location for Interview: Outside the entrance of Louis Armstrong Park
Q: What words (besides biographical information) would you want written on your gravestone?
MP: Oh, we’re diving right in.
CL: I would want mine to say something about the arts. I’ve always tried to have an artistic element to my life. I'm not sure what I'll do or achieve, but that’s how I want to be remembered.
MP: I have no clue what I would put.
CL: I feel like your tattoo would be on your grave.
MP: ‘Let it be’? That’s a good one. I never actually got that tattoo, but if I got one, that would be it. I’ve been talking about the idea of it for years. I grew up as a total Beatles baby.
The idea of ‘Let it be’ is something I felt like I always needed to strive for. Not worrying as much or not being as anxious about things. That’s something I try to remind myself of everyday. Sit back, relax, and let things fall into place. It is what it is.
Q: What sound drives you crazy?
MP: Smacking. While eating. I can’t. I just can’t.
CL: It’s weird. The other day at my office there was massive construction going on outside. My co-workers were complaining about it, but for some reason all I could hear was the music that was playing in our office.
In this way you choose what you hear. They were hearing the construction, but I was totally tuned into our indie Pandora station.
Although, construction in this city is pretty annoying.
Q: What voice do you most often hear in your head?
MP: Definitely my parents. Every time I think about doing something major or life-changing I hear myself asking, ‘What would my mom and dad say?’ No matter how old I get I still hear them in the back of my brain. And I love that because they’ve always pushed me to follow my dreams even if that isn’t always the easiest path to take.
CL: I feel like I’m pretty hard on myself, so I most often hear my own version of myself. It’s a version that’s telling me, ‘You can do this better.’ That sounds depressing, but it’s not at all. It’s a motivating voice. It tells me to keep going and asks me, ‘Have you done this today?’
It puts me in check. I can be a really chill person who takes life in this relaxed state, but there’s definitely a little Me that tells me to get going and to stay on top of things.That voice doesn’t really have a voice, though. It’s more like white noise, but it’s definitely present.
MP: I have that too. I feel like we both are planners who are constantly thinking ahead.
CL: Especially with the band. We’re always thinking ten steps ahead.
MP: I don’t think we’ve ever not been thinking about what to do or where we’re going next with The Wooden Wings.
CL: Maybe a few drinks in I start letting that go a bit.
MP: Although, a few drinks in we also tend to have long conversations about our big dreams for the future.
CL: We definitely are both crazy dreamers. Even if it wasn’t with the band, both of us would be dreaming up different ideas and plans.
Q: What’s the worst meal you’ve ever made for someone?
CL: I once tried to cook week-old chicken, and it just wasn’t a good idea. It was really bad, but I was insistent on cooking it. Luckily, it was only for me and my fiancé, so he was able to call me out on it.
I really wanted to make it work, so I cooked it and cut it up, but he kept saying, ‘We are not eating that. We’re going to get sick if we eat that.’ He was right. It smelled weird, and we definitely would have gotten sick. So…that went in the garbage.
MP: It’s not necessarily a meal, per se. It’s dessert. I’m not a baker, and in high school we had a cakewalk at a school event to raise money, and I attempted to make a Bundt cake.
I remember even when I was making it I had that movie moment where flour was flying all over the kitchen. I feel like I need to say again that I’m terrible at baking.
Well, it came out hard as a rock. But, I already said I was bringing one in, so some poor soul walked away with that horrible cake. It probably could have been used as a weapon.
I don’t even know what I did wrong. How I made a fluffy angel food cake so hard will always be a mystery to me.
Q: What do you think inspires the moment when people start dancing?
MP: I think it has to do with people letting down their walls. It could be a band that you love and get totally enraptured with or when you’re out with your friends.
There’s this moment, though.
CL: It feels like an equation, but I can’t put my finger on it exactly. It’s some kind of situation where confidence conquers the fear of looking weird. Then something in the music or the environment triggers you to take that confidence and break out.
MP: I think when you’re super confident on stage and start to move more, it also inspires people in the crowd to start moving.
CL: That’s true. If it looks like you’re letting go then they’re going to be more likely to let go as well. Both of you can get lost in the moment. Some of our songs for The Wooden Wings are more dancey, and some of our songs are more…dramatic. Maybe it’s not that the songs are dramatic, but they have an intensity to them. Like it would be weird if someone danced to them.
MP: Although, hey, if you want to go for it, go for it. It’s just that our songs are very lyrically driven.
CL: Very true. More often we see people closing their eyes and feeling it. They aren’t swing dancing or anything. The songs are a little darker, edgier, kind of moody. So there’s this sensory factor where people just take it in.
Q: What would you do in space?
CL: Is she with me [nodding to Molly]? Because, then, I’d definitely want to make an album in space. That hasn’t been done yet. Album on the moon.
By myself, though, I’d probably just stare at the Earth and think about all the things that are happening there.There is something so appealing about stepping that far away from the world and seeing it as something small.
MP: I feel like I’d want that moment of being able to simply float. To not be grounded on anything and have that endless nothingness all around you. I wouldn’t want that to be forever, but I imagine that would be very freeing.
You wouldn’t have any control, so you’d just let it be. [Laughing]. It all comes back to that.
The Wooden Wings features Cherie LeJeune and Molly Portier on vocals, keys, and guitar. Their band will be performing on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Publiq House (4528 Freret Street). The concert is part of the 5th annual NOLA Polar Express that they host every year. The benefit concert for Casa New Orleans is $10 dollars entry or $5 entry with a toy donation.
Kelley Crawford is a professor, writer, mentor, dancer, and constant questioner. If you would like to contact Kelley Crawford, you can email her at [email protected].