June 16th, 2011
10:00 PM ET
Strawberry Shortcake, who recently celebrated her 30th anniversary, has a new BBFF (Berry Best Friend Forever) to jam with: Cherry Jam, that is!
Debuting in the fall, Cherry Jam is the first character to be added to Strawberry Shortcake's friend list in over five years.
The franchise's parent company, American Greetings Properties, says she will "inspire little girls everywhere to be themselves and follow their berry own beat."
Strawberry and the gang - Blueberry Muffin, Raspberry Torte, Plum Pudding, Orange Blossom and Lemon Meringue - are set to welcome Cherry Jam to her new Berry Bitty City home this fall when The Hub network's popular CGI series "Berry Bitty Adventures" begins its second season.
The singing sensation will reportedly blow the residents of Berry Bitty City away with her incredible musical talent that American Greetings describes as "Hannah Montana meets Strawberry Shortcake." Despite her rise to Bieber-level fame, Cherry Jam is described as a down-to-earth girl who finds a real friend in Strawberry Shortcake, who sees beyond Cherry's superstar persona. Cherry Jam soon becomes Berry Bitty City's resident music teacher and forms a band.
We were berry lucky to conduct the first-ever interview with Cherry Jam herself - in the (cherry scented!) "flesh."
CNN: What brings you to Berry Bitty City? How is it different from Berry Big City?
Cherry Jam: Strawberry Shortcake invited me to perform at the opening of the Berry Bitty Marketplace. And the truth is, I fell in love with the place, especially the people! So... I've decided to stay! I'm finding that Berry Bitty City is very homey. Everybody here is super friendly and wants to know the real me. In the Big City, I was only known as a super star which made it hard to find true friends.
CNN: We've heard you've become fast friends with Strawberry Shortcake. Tell me about your friendship.
Cherry Jam: Strawberry Shortcake is simply the best! She's such a good friend - always willing to lend a hand, offer good advice, or just share her cheerful personality. Plus, she loves to sing, just like me, so we sing and perform together all the time! She's quickly becoming the best friend I never had!
CNN: What's your favorite genre of music?
Cherry Jam: Pop music is my personal favorite, but I like all types of music.
CNN: Do you have a favorite song?
Cherry Jam: Yes! It's the song that Strawberry Shortcake and I are working on right now! It's not finished yet, but when it is, I'm sure it will be a crowd favorite! It's the kind of song you can really dance and bop to!
CNN: Do you write your own songs?
Cherry Jam: I certainly do! Writing the song is half of the fun! Everybody has a song in their heart, so I just listen to my heart and it tells me what to write!
CNN: Which instrument(s) do you play?
Cherry Jam: I play a lot of instruments! I play the guitar, the drums, the piano and keyboard, violin, tambourine, and the saxophone! Whew! I also hope to learn more berry soon!
CNN: What will you sing about? Berry-related stuff? Plans to do any Chuck Berry covers?
Cherry Jam: I sing about anything and everything under the Berry Patch, especially about topics that little girls like me will relate to. And yes, lots of berry-related stuff!
CNN: When you aren't playing music, what do you like to do?
Cherry Jam: Hang out with all my new friends, of course! I also teach music lessons out of my tour bus.
CNN: What grade level of music do you teach? Are you a popular teacher - like Mr. Schuester on "Glee?"
Cherry Jam: I teach all ages! Anybody who wants to learn music is welcome! If popularity is measured by how busy I am, then yes, I guess I'm popular!
CNN: Do you have an alter-ego like Hannah Montana? Or a showbiz father named Berry Ray Cyrus?
Cherry Jam: No alter-ego here! Some popstars might act like "divas," but I'm not one of them. I believe that you should always treat people with dignity, respect, and kindness, no matter what!
CNN: Can we expect an album/video from the new band? A tour?
Cherry Jam: No plans for an album, video, or tour at this point, but who knows what the future might bring! Right now I'm taking a break from touring. I'm only playing and performing with my friends - just for the fun of it!
We also spoke to Sarah Finn, Vice President of Production for American Greetings Properties, about the debut of Cherry Jam.
CNN: It’s been over 30 years and Strawberry Shortcake is just as popular as ever. Why do you think the appeal of the characters remains to this day?
Sarah Finn: Today, a whole new generation of young girls and their moms are rediscovering the berry wonderful world of Strawberry Shortcake. Strawberry Shortcake continues to be popular with both moms and kids alike. Moms grew up with the brand and remember her berry sweet smell and wholesome values and want to share those memories with their children. Kids love Strawberry Shortcake because of the aspirational adventures she shares with her friends and the engaging content of the entertainment.
CNN: What went into creating Cherry Jam's personality and character traits?
Finn: When we decided to introduce a new character we looked at who would best fit in with Strawberry and her friends in Berry Bitty City. In the development phase we came up with a few different characters including a veterinarian and an avid gardener but felt a pop singer would be a perfect choice as the songs featured in the first season have become one of the most popular aspects of the series.
We wanted Cherry Jam to feel fresh and current and also gave her a slight Southern accent to help separate her from the other character voices but it works perfectly with her country-pop music style. We loved the idea that at first Strawberry Shortcake's friends are intimidated by Cherry and through a series of misunderstandings perceive her to be a diva. Strawberry sees a different side to Cherry and quickly realizes that Cherry wants something different in life and welcomes her to Berry Bitty City.
CNN: This is the first new character to join the magical world of Strawberry Shortcake in more than five years. What response do you expect to receive from Strawberry Shortcake fans about Cherry Jam?
Finn: We know that little girls are going to fall in love instantly with Cherry Jam. We wanted to introduce a character who inspires everyone to follow their dreams and move to their berry own beat. One of her mega-hit songs is "Anything is Possible" which is such an aspirational message for our young viewers and kids will love singing and dancing along to the music.
CNN: Will there be a Cherry Jam doll? Will she have a fragrance?
Finn: Hasbro will be releasing a berry sweet fragranced Cherry Jam toy line in Spring 2012.
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