Interview: Cheri Dennis
Fri, 29 Feb 2008 12:03:23
Cheri Dennis Videos
Bad Boy's newest female R&B draft pick, Cheri Dennis, is set to make a name for herself in the game. Coming off the bench with her debut album, In and Out of Love, she's got the skills to get fans talking. No untested rookie, she's spent years in the business getting ready for her new role in the big leagues, and over that time, she's built up a hunger that's sure to push her to even greater heights. We caught up with the rising star as she describes how faith, determination and a chance encounter with Diddy helped her make the leap into the majors.
I saw that you grew up in Cleveland. What was early life like for you?
It was normal, you know. I was in a singing group, so I was always involved in music, but it was normal. Church choir, friends, hanging out and family life. Just normal, you know?
So was church the first place you figured out music was your passion?
I definitely think it was the first place that I was able to express that I loved music, but my father can sing, and I've always had music around me. I grew up from very early being exposed to music from very early on. But I think church was the first place that I was able to express and get it out of me.
You said something about being in some groups early on. What were the names of some of these?
I was in a group called "Too Spoiled." It was five girls. I was in that group from 12-16. It was cool. It taught me a lot. I think it prepared me for my professional career. We did a lot of recording, so it helped me with the recording process. It also taught me how to get along with different personalities, because five girlsteenage girlsare not always the most easy and fluid people. But I think I was destined to be a solo artist. I was one of the lead singers in the group, and I think it was just a natural progression for me to be a solo artist. I definitely thank that experience, because it taught me a lot.
Okay. You didn't have some crazy Dreamgirls fallout or anything did you? Is everybody still cool?
No. We were in it very young, and I think that when you become a teenager, you go to high school, and you develop different interests. I don't think everyone's passion for music was as deep rooted as mine. You just start having other interests, and going in other directions. It's hard to keep a group together. At that time, trying to keep a group together, going through puberty and high school, it was just a lot.
I can only imagine. Where was the next move after you left Cleveland? Where did you head?
I came to New York, and like I said, I had always been involved in music. A lot of the people I met being involved in music were people who didn't live in Cleveland. My mom was from New York. I also had cousins and Aunts and family there. I had done everything I could in the music scene in Cleveland. I wanted to get a record deal, and so I had to come to a major music market, and New York was the closest one for me. So it was just a natural progression.
Some people might have gotten overwhelmed coming to New York City. You see the bright lights, you meet the wrong people and stuff. How did you stay on the path?
My faith. I am definitely very spiritually grounded. I pray a lot. I just asked God for the discipline to stay focused and also give me the encouragement. As an artist, I would be lying if I said to you that I haven't have moments where I was like, "What am I doing this for? Am I doing this the right way? Why are things happening in my time?" My faith has definitely kept me sane. My passion and love for music has definitely kept me connected to that, instead of being so involved in all of the politics of the music industry. I definitely have my moments, but my faith and my passion for music have been the reasons why I stuck it out.
When you know its right you've just got to follow it.
If I stopped doing music, I don’t know how happy I would be. I'm sure that I could find a passion for something else, but this is my first love, so I don't know how fulfilled I'd be if I gave it up.
You had some ups and some downs in this business. Talk a little about the time from the first moment you got put on, to some of the disappointments, and where you are coming back strong like you are now.
There are a lot of good things. There have been a lot of trials and tribulations, but there have been a lot of good things in the midst of all that is going on. At the end of the day, I think that my situation is a good thing overall, because a lot of people would die to be in the position that I'm in. The fact that I'm even given the opportunity to be involved in something like this is a blessing. I embrace everything I've been through over the years. I think that it has made me stronger, and I think that it has made me the artist that I am. I think that it also makes me appreciate everything that comes to me that is successful. I try not to take it for granted. I think that the bad situations that happened to me over the years were things that could be perceived as bad. I think that they have turned out to be real blessings at the end of the day, because they are the reason why I appreciate everything I have right now. And you know, I have earned the position that I am in right now. I think it has been well-earned. My journey, I don't regret it at all.
Do you ever have to check people, and let them know that even though this is your debut album, you've been doing this for a while?
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