When you are watching television you see the high-profile red carpet parties, fancy cars, glamorous garments and superstar special treatment that is the glitz and glamour of an artist; but before an artist reaches the threshold of super stardom they struggle to become a household name. Cheri Dennis has walked the bumpy path of the music industry and overcame the ‘game’ by joining the Bad Boy records camp. Cheri patiently waited for her time to release her solo album, which has been in the making for several years. Now that her time is now, she is making sure fans get to know her personality and voice.
Congratulations on your successâ¦
Cheri Dennis: Thank you, I really appreciate the support. It’s been a long time coming so I really need it you know what I mean…
Well. How does it feel to be a female who represents a side of Bad Boy?
Cheri Dennis: It feels really good, I mean there’s not too many of us over there so in a way I feel very special because it’s not like I get over shadowed by a whole bunch of other female singers and I just feel like it’s a definite situation where like I got a lot of big brothers, and big homies, you know, so I feel good.
That’s good. And I understand you were signed way back in like 2001 I think it wasâ¦why did it take so long for you to come outâ¦I mean you’re great. I know you were featured on tracks of other artists and stuff, but why did it take so long for you to come out with your solo?
Cheri Dennis: Well, it was not always such an artistic thing, you know, we’ve been through a couple of distribution deals where we were at Arista, and then we went to Universal, and now we’re at Atlantic/Warner. So it wasn’t always something that was attributed to something I was doing. It just was a lot of different circumstancesâ¦You know I feel blessed that I came out nowâ¦it’s almost like my project got a breath of lifeâ¦so you know what I mean it was kind of a blessing in disguise that my project didn’t come out because when we were at Universal, there wasn’t really too much going on over there, there wasn’t much pushing, so I kinda would have hated to have come out on Universal and got lost in the sauceâ¦so I’m glad they waited when they didâ¦
So you think everything happened at the right time for you?
Cheri Dennis: Definitely, I definitely doâ¦
Goodâ¦Can we talk a little bit about the recordâ¦maybe a favorite track that you have or can you mention some collabos that you did?
Cheri Dennis: This album is not really an album full of features, it’s more so an introduction into the voice of Cheri Dennis. We do have, you know, a lot of star studded producers but also a lot of under cover ones who are just as hot. We have Timbaland on the album, we have Rodney Jerkins, Mario Winans, we have Ryan Leslie who produced the first single and also one or two other tracks on the album. In terms of collaborations I have Young Joc, Jim Jonesâ¦ This album is really about love and relationships, but it’s definitely not something that’s gonna have anybody slitting their wrists soâ¦even though it’s about love and love lost in relationships, it’s still an upbeat album, I think it’s a slight reflection of my personality, I’m pretty much an upbeat outgoing kind of girl so you know I think my music reflects that.
Ok. So, do the lyrics come from personal experiences or just something that flows?
Cheri Dennis: Well, we have time to go to that. I don’t think I was comfortable enough really yet to really let all of my stories about love and love lost, but it’s things I’ve seen, things that everyone can relate toâ¦you know I wanna give myself time to really let the world get to know Cheri Dennis, so like I said it’s really just an introduction to the voice and some of them are about me (laughs) but not too too deepâ¦
Gotchaâ¦everything in its timeâ¦
Cheri Dennis: Everything in its time, some of the things I’ve been through they not readyâ¦so we gotta ease it on themâ¦
No problem. Do you have a favorite track?
Cheri Dennis: I do have one, it’s called “So Good”, which is one of my favorites. It’s just really talking about you know, how you hook up with a guy and you know he’s not being for real with you but it feels so good when you’re with him that you kind of just forget all elseâ¦
I hear thatâ¦
Cheri Dennis: And it’s something we all can relate to because we all been there before where you know he’s just no good for you, you know all the stuff he’s telling you is just what you wanna hear at that moment but he makes you feel so good that you just lose yourself in it.
That’s a good record (laughs)
Cheri Dennis: (Laughs)
Can you explain the significance of “Finally Made It”?
Cheri Dennis: Well “Finally Made It”â¦like I said I have been signed since 2001 and I’ve definitely had my moments of discouragement and I’ve definitely encountered people who didn’t believe that it would happen and I’ve definitely encountered people who told me that they would help me and would have my back and then they were nowhere to be found. So I think “Finally Made It” is just a testimony to the things I’ve been through and finally getting to this point and my hard work paying off and so it’s pretty self explanatory in telling my story. It definitely sums up the way I feel.
Rightâ¦What do you think it takes to really make your dreams come true, to make things happenâ¦What kind of work ethic do you have and for example, your journeyâ¦I know you said you were discouraged here and there, but what kept you to keep going?
Cheri Dennis: Well, you definitely have to be strong and have thick skin because this industry will eat you alive and my advice to anyone who may be in a similar situation would be to have faith and just know that you can do anything you want to. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it, it doesn’t matter how much people told you it can’t be doneâ¦If you have a passion for something, work hard at it, believe and you got faith, you will be surprised how many doors will open for you if you stay determined. That’s pretty much what got me through my experiences, just having faith and knowing I’m a soldier. There was just like no other option. I didn’t care how many no’s, it didn’t matter how long it took, it was just not an option to tuck my tail in and run away.
I like that. I appreciate that.
Cheri Dennis: For me that’s just what it is. You gotta have faith and you gotta know what your purpose is and you gotta know that it might not be what everyone else seesâ¦
I like that. I understand for the Making of The Band, the girls had to learn your song. How did you feel when that was going on and what kind of exposure did that bring for you?
Cheri Dennis: I felt flattered. And sometimes people ask me how do you feel about people singing your song, and I’m like 50 sum odd million people saw and heard my music and for me it’s exposure, and the fact that they would use my record to have them sing and use it as the goal for them to reach. It’s flattering because obviously they felt like my song vocally and artistically was the song that would force them to have to sing and excel, so I’m just humbled by it.
Ok. On another note, do you feel like there’s competition between females in the r&b scene and can you speak a little bit about yourself and Cassie, both being from Bad Boy, and both being released around the same time? What kind of thoughts do you have?
Cheri Dennis: Well, I definitely feel like there’s a competition women period and it only changes when you put them in another arena, whereas I feel like it is very competitive and sometimes it’s competitive up to the point of nastiness. For myself though, I’m so secure with my own talent that when I see other female artists I’m empowered by what they’re doing and I never down nobody for what they’re doingâ¦but I have seen that done by other female artistsâ¦they’re just stank and you know, I guess it just comes with the atmosphereâ¦
That’s unfortunate thoughâ¦
Cheri Dennis: It’s the atmosphere of the industryâ¦As far as Cassie is concerned, I just feel like there’s room for everyone in this industry. Cassie and I definitely don’t do the same kind of music, we don’t have similar voices, we have totally different styles and I think that there’s room for everybody. There’s for Cheri, there’s room for Cassie, and as long as we both continue to make good music I guess it can only help. I just can’ be focused on that, I mean I ain’t worrying about nobody else but me. If somebody else is doing great then I commend them and I hope that they continue, but me, my focus is Cheri Dennis and I’m only concerned about what I’m doin’ and when you see me you always gonna get the same love that’s just how I rock. But it’s definitely a competitive venture in this businessâ¦
And what’s next for you?
Cheri Dennis: What’s next for me?! We’re trying to come out with this second single. We’re trying to figure out which one of these records we gonna bring out to ya’ll next and just promoting this first single and finishing up this albumâ¦and just getting the world really familiar with Cheri Dennis, because like I said I been around for a long time, people have been familiar with the voice but they’re not familiar with me so I’m just trying to work on my promo right now, trying to see faces and see new places with people, trying to get them familiar with me as an artistâ¦
I wish you much luck.
Cheri Dennis: Thank you so much. I appreciate the support and you taking your time out to speak to meâ¦
Of, course. Well I appreciate your time and Thank you again. —— By: Interview by Liana Morales