Lots of cool people on the internet are currently crushing on a music video for a track called 163 För Evigt. Excuse me? What was that? According to those in the know, that assortment of numbers and letters translates to 163 Forever in English.
The track is by Somali Swedish singer Cherrie, and while most non-Swedish people have no idea what she’s singing about, they still think it’s completely vibes.
So besides being the next-big-Swedish-singer-songwriter, who is Cherrie? Well, her real name is Sherihan Hersi and she’s 26. Although she’s yet to totally crack the UK, Cherrie is a pretty big deal in Sweden. Back in 2015, she had a breakout hit with a track called Tabanja, and earlier this year, her debut album Sherihan won in the hip-hop and soul category at Sweden’s version to the Grammys.
If you’re not yet convinced of her coolness, then listen up. Cherrie has collaborated with Stormzy and even joined him on the European leg of his tour. And when Wicked Skengman co-signs you, it means you are cool. It’s not even a question.
As you’ve no doubt gleaned from the opening paragraphs, Cherrie has a pretty unique background. Her parents hail from Somalia, but emigrated to Norway, where Cherrie was born. Another move to Finland would follow, which is where Cherrie grew up.
The family later settled in Sweden. Due to her upbringing, Cherrie proudly describes herself as a third culture kid – as in, she grew up in a different culture and society to her parents – but her Somali heritage can attract the wrong sort of attention. In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Cherrie said that racism and nationalism is still a problem in Sweden, despite its ostensibly liberal society.
She believes, however, that this prejudice is diminishing: ‘At the same time I feel like these racists are fading — this is their last fight to stay relevant in an evolving world where people like myself are becoming the norm in society.’
The popularity of her music seems to back this up. Even though the vast majority of the UK (and Stormzy) have no idea what she’s singing about in tracks like 163 För Evigt, they still know it slaps.
Cherrie reckons she can explain why this is: ‘A lot of people say they can tell that whatever I’m singing about comes from something real through the conviction of my voice,’ she told Buzzfeed.
‘Also, it carries a message of self-love and love for others, and even if they don’t understand I know they will feel it, and I’m just happy to be doing something positive through my music. If you listen…with an open mind, you’ll feel the energy and message no matter what language I choose to do it in. And for that I’m forever thankful.’
We’re not going to be so bold as to say Cherrie’s music is changing the world. But – BUT – it does represent how societies change and cultures shift; creating more progressive, inclusive and – dare we say it (YEAH GO ON THEN) – woke generations.
As she says: ‘The world is changing, third culture kids are everywhere…Like, even if you are 100% Swede but you grew up the last 15 years in an area where you have 90 different nationalities, you are bound to understand that all these narrow-minded homogeneous type of people are dying out.’