This KL-born 22-year old Soulful Pop and R&B singer submitted an audition tape in response to Director Jon M. Chu’s open casting call for the movie back in February of 2017. Little did she know that 11 months later she would be singing both the opening and closing songs for the most anticipated Hollywood movie of the year.
I’d just finished my rounds of interviews with the Crazy Rich Asians cast and was waiting in line to collect my tapes at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles when suddenly a voice behind me asked: “Are you from Malaysia?”. I turned around and saw Cheryl smiling back at me.
It was at that moment after we’d both introduced ourselves, that I found out she was also from Malaysia! What’s more, she was present at the Crazy Rich Asians junket that day because she plays a big part in the movie – as the singer for the opening track!
The title of the song she was entrusted with was Money (That’s What I Want), originally recorded in 1959 by Barrett Strong. However, Cheryl isn’t the first artist to sing a cover of this particular Motown hit. The Beatles did a cover of this song in 1962, The Rolling Stones gave it a rock blues spin in 1964, The Flying Lizards made it their own with the help of Deborah Evans-Stickland in 1979 and Charlie XCX turned it millennial-friendly in 2014.
So how did Crazy Rich Asians make it their own? They changed the language and got Awkwafina to rap in it. Listen below and read on to find out how Cheryl, a recent University of Southern California graduate, nabbed this once-in-a-lifetime gig!