Danville native performs on Grammy stage
Cheyenne Sanchez has been a singer for most of her life. Starting vocal lessons at 8-years-old, the Danville native said she took a microphone from her aunt and never gave it back.
Although her journey has been one that began in Morgan County, it recently hit a high-point with Sanchez performing on the Grammy stage with the Maverick City Choir. Maverick City sang with rapper Quavo during the Academy Awards Feb. 5.
Sanchez graduated from Hartselle High School in 2012, having never stopped training as a singer.
“We always sang in my family,” she said.
Hartselle chorus teachers Michelle Reburn and Wanda Thompson were two sources of inspiration for Sanchez.
“Mrs. Thompson is of course a legend and mentor to us all,” she said. “She taught me so much and I am so thankful.”
Sanchez was a part of the women’s ensemble and show choir during her time at Hartselle; she also ran cross-country track but her passion has always been to sing in church.
“I was very involved in my church, Calvary Assembly in Decatur, worshipping for our youth group and serving at anything and everything.”
At 21-years-old, Sanchez was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. It was extensive, having metastasized from her thyroid to her neck and shoulders.
A student at the University of Alabama at the time of her diagnosis, Sanchez transferred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to pursue a degree in public and global health.
“I had to take a semester off from college for surgery and treatment. I always say ‘God got me through the storm so I can teach others how to dance in the rain,’” Sanchez said, reminiscing on her victory over the cancer that threatened her life and career. “Encouraging, empowering and serving others inspires me. Most of all, I just want to make God proud.
“There was a very high chance that I would never sing again and if I spoke it would be horse,” she added.
Her diagnosis challenged Sanchez to grow in her faith, Sanchez said.
“(I had to) trust that Jesus would protect the gift He gave me – my music and worship. My cancer survival gave my voice more purpose because of my testimony,” she said.
She underwent radioactive iodine treatment to rid her body of the cancer. Try as it might, the cancer did not end her love for singing or her faith. What’s more, Sanchez said her faith has grown through her cancer fight.
In 2021, an acquaintance invited Sanchez to an open choir call for the Maverick City Music and Tribl album. She said she “immediately knew” she belonged there.
She was soon a part of the Maverick City community. From there, Sanchez became a choir leader for the Southern region sopranos and has performed with the choir at the K-Love Awards in 2021 and 2022, the Dove Awards in 2022 and on the Kingdom tour with Maverick City and Kirk Franklin.
Through this journey there have been been doors opened for Sanchez to sing with Crowder, Blanca, Phil Whickam, Matthew West, Housefires and many more contemporary Christian acts.
For Sanchez, singing on the Grammy stage was an honor.
“I was so thankful to have the opportunity to bring Jesus into a mainly secular awards show,” she said. “You could feel the atmosphere shift when Maverick City began to sing.
“It was a dream being backstage and walking right past so many celebrities such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, LL Cool J and so many more. I had to remember in the moment, I wasn’t a fan, I was a fellow performer. That was such a humbling and emotional realization. God placed me there, only He could do that. “I was) just a small Alabama girl on one of the largest stages in the music industry; God gets all of the glory.”