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Arts New West Development Fund Recipient: Cheska Henson

Cheksa is sitting with her guitar in her lap, she is smiling for the camera.

Artist Profile

My name is Cheska Henson and I’m a 16 year old singer-songwriter.

Ever since 2 year old me grabbed a toy mic and attempted to sing for the very first time – a huge emphasis on attempted music has never left my side.

Seeing my favourite characters singing in my childhood TV shows like Backyardigans or Sofia the First, truly inspired little me to want to sing too. Even if I couldn’t read yet, I’d listen to the songs over and over again until I memorized them. Then, I’d have my Dad play them on guitar as I’d perform at church or at my own birthday parties.

Having people like my Dad really push me, as well as a whole supportive group of friends and family, has always helped me keep pursuing and growing in my passion for music. 

Though I’m known to have a bubbly childlike personality, as someone who will never stop loving Disney, my music taste has grown beyond childhood TV shows.

I love all music except for heavy metal and EDM. The genres of music I love and tend to perform the most are Pop and RnB. OPM, Jazz, Rock and Classical are also favourite genres of mine and it’s a fusion of these genres that heavily influences my songwriting.

Though my songwriting inspiration comes for all sorts of places, it’s the little fragments that truly spark and stick in my songs.

Whether it is a line someone said in random conversation or from music I make in my classes, random jam sessions, or hear from my favourite artists. Those little fragments of ideas are what go into my Notes or Voice Memos and eventually into my songs. 

Something that I hope to keep doing and growing as a singer and songwriter is music arranging.

I find arranging music and catering to a specific kind of criteria such as “it has to be four vocal parts” or “has to be for an orchestra” is something that really helps expand my versatility. It puts me into this “idea box” and it’s the journey of learning to work within and outside that “idea box” that truly helps me grow as a musician. 

When I’m not making music, I love reading books like Percy Jackson or the Land of Stories as well as playing basketball.

Though the dream has always been to make it “big” and perform huge concerts, I know that no matter what happens I never want to stop making music. This might come off as cheesy, as a high school student who sings and writes songs, music is so important. It is a constant for me in the complicated algebraic equation of life.

Music, like all art, is something I’ll always have. It’s my outlet and I know that when I’m not at my best, or when I want to have fun or need to let things out, I can always pour myself into song because art is that escape for me. A joy I believe should be shared to all.

I hope that through the music I make, you can find that escape. Feel the absolute joy art brings through the melodies and lyrics I create and sing.

Listen to Cheska’s Music!

Find her on TikTok!

To learn more about the Arts New West Development Fund, please email

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