In 2000, Cher released an independent album titled Not.com.mercial, written mostly by her after attending a songwriters’ conference in 1994; it marked Cher’s first attempt at writing most of the tracks for an album.
Because the album was rejected by her record label for being uncommercial, she chose to sell it only on her website. In the song “Sisters of Mercy”, she calls the Catholic nuns who cared for her when she was a child “cruel, heartless and wicked” for keeping her in their orphanage long after her mother attempted to retrieve her; church leaders quickly issued denouncements.
Cher’s highly anticipated dance-oriented follow-up to Believe, Living Proof (2001), entered the Billboard 200 at number nine, her highest-charting album debut to date. Tracks from Living Proof became club hits. The album’s first American single, “Song for the Lonely”, was dedicated to “the courageous people of New York” following the September 11 attacks. The song “Love One Another” was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. Cher performed during the benefit concert VH1 Divas Las Vegas in May 2002. Later that year, she won the Dance/Club Play Artist of the Year Award at the Billboard Music Awards. Her wealth in 2002 was estimated at $600 million.
In June 2002, Cher embarked on the Living Proof: The Farewell Tour, announced as the final live concert tour of her career, although she vowed to continue making records and films.The show highlighted her successes in music, television, and film, featuring video clips from the 1960s onwards and an elaborate backdrop and stage set-up. Initially scheduled for 49 shows, the worldwide tour was extended several times. The NBC special Cher – The Farewell Tour (2003) attracted 17 million viewers. It was the highest rated network-TV concert special of 2003 and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special.
After leaving Warner UK in 2002, Cher signed a worldwide deal with the US division of Warner Bros. Records in September 2003. The Very Best of Cher (2003), a greatest-hits collection that surveys her entire career, peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 and was certified double platinum by the RIAA. Cher played herself in the Farrelly Brothers’ comedy Stuck on You (2003), mocking her public image as she appears in bed with a much younger boyfriend. Her three-year, 325-date Farewell Tour ended in April 2005 as the highest-grossing music tour by a female artist at the time. In 2008, Cher began a three-year, 200-performance residency at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, for which she earned a reported $60 million per year. Cher at the Colosseum featured 16 dancers and aerialists, state-of-the-art video, special effects, and elaborate set designs.
2010s: Film return and upcoming projects
Cher returned to film in the musical Burlesque (2010), playing a nightclub impresario whom a young Hollywood hopeful is looking to impress. One of the two songs she recorded for the film’s soundtrack, the Diane Warren-penned power ballad “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me”, won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Cher lent her voice to the comedy Zookeeper in 2011. The next year, she began working on her first studio album since 2001’s Living Proof. She announced plans to embark on a concert tour, which she has dubbed the Never Can Say Goodbye Tour. In June 2012, the singer revealed that a Broadway musical based on her life and music was currently in development. She said that she may play herself in the show. On November 22, 2012, Cher debuted “Woman’s World”, the lead track from her upcoming new studio album, originally due to be released in March 2013. “Woman’s World” will be released to contemporary hit radio in June 2013. At the end of February 2013, Cher made an announcement on Twitter that the record company rescheduled the album’s release for September. Still untitled, the album received production from hip hop musician, Timbaland and songwriting from Pink and Lady Gaga.