Known mainly for her days with legendary recording label, Bad Boy Records, singer-songwriter, Cheri Dennis has since shed her sweet and innocent persona and is now ready to reveal to music lovers the raw, edgy, unconventional songstress that has been waiting to be unleashed. Now going by Cheri Coke, she’s back with a new sound, fierce look and hit new single “Let’s Get Down.” As Cheri sits down with Singersroom to discuss her Go Blue campaign, her separation from Bad Boy and her new style, this diva makes one thing quite clear â her fans are her everything. She makes it a point to say, “To the people who really support me, I thank you. Thank you because as an artist sometimes you’re in a fish bowl and you can get discouraged. So I just want to say thank you to those who support my movement and my music. I’m so appreciative!” Follow us as we talk with Cheri Coke â a die-hard music lover to her core and unapologetically raw and real.
Singersroom: What’s up Cheri? We’ve missed you! Bad Boy or no bad Boy you still have that glow. What is this Cheri Coke name change about? How or why did you change from Cheri Dennis?
Cheri Coke: I actually didn’t change my name. I think we’re just having fun with it. It’s a nickname people have been calling me my whole life. It’s a play off Cherry Coke since my name is Cheri but people have always messed it up. So that’s how Cheri Coke came about. Then once I left Bad Boy and started doing music and really going off into what I really am as opposed to what I was only being allowed to show at Bad Boy, I felt like it would be fun to switch up the name for a second. I’m still Cheri Dennis. I haven’t changed my name â it’s just a nickname like Jigga, Hov, and Jay-Z. It’s something fun and not to be taken so literally.
Singersroom: People say fashion is a way to express yourself and create a non-verbal dialogue with people. What does this new look say – what does it scream?
Cheri Coke: I don’t know if it screams anything brand new because I’ve always been like this. My look says this is really who I am. Every day I walk around with blue hair and every day I walk around with cheek piercings â this is not for a photo shoot, this is just what I do. I think this is more of a declaration. This has always been me and now people should just get ready to see more of who I’ve always been.
Singersroom: Your dimples are gorgeous. What made you decide to pierce your cheeks? Do you have any other piercings?
Cheri Coke: I just always liked it. I had braces for a really long time â like an abnormally long time [Laughs]. I always wanted it but my orthodontist told me I should probably knock it off because it would be way too much going on in my mouth. So the second I got them off I was like I’m going to get this piercings. It was just something I liked. I’m in to the whole ink and piercings but I think that piercing was enough for me. I have no more piercings but as far as tattoos I’ve kind of lost count – they’re kind of everywhere and I’m not done either. I have a big piece on my back and I need to get that finished. Before it’s all over I’ll have sleeves.
Singersroom: What have been some of the reactions you’ve gotten (whether from fans or other artists) about your new look, style and music?
Cheri Coke: I get “What the f***!” Oh I’m sorry I didn’t mean to curse [Laughs] I meant W-T-F. I get a lot of positive reception too. I think it’s a little bit more interesting than who I was when I was signed to Bad Boy. No disrespect to them, I appreciate my situation with them and I learned a lot but I definitely think this look is more interesting. So I think people are curious to see what I’m about â if it’s unique or is this something she’s doing to sell records or get attention. But I get it from my peers and those who aren’t use to seeing me like this. I also get it from people in everyday life though like little kids will stare at me, old people will stare at me [Laughs]. It’s a mixed thing but there has been more positive reception than I expected.
Singersroom: Let’s talk about your new single “Let’s Get Down.” It’s an extremely sexy video and song! What was the motivation behind making this track and the video?
Cheri Coke: I think again because I only had two singles that people really knew (“I Love You” and “Portrait of Love”) that were safe and sweet records but with those the real me wasn’t seen. So I don’t think people got a chance to know that I have a very sexy and sexual side to me. I think that’s where that came from, just wanting to express that side. As far as the video is concerned it was just the literal take on the song. The song is sexy and it put me in a real [Laughs]…well it put me in that kind of place. So that’s what we did, we took a literal approach to the song by doing something sexy. I just wanted to show people a side of me that’s always been there but no light was really shined on it.
Singersroom: You’ve been back in the studio making music and writing songs, what is different this time around?
Cheri Coke: I’m releasing a mixtape in July. The mixtape is just a body of work I did while transitioning out of the Bad Boy situation and into an independent situation. It’s a collage of music and it’s not all R&B. It definitely has a different sound and I wanted people to take that journey with me. It’s not like a concept mixtape, it’s just a body of work and music that I did while I was transitioning from a place that I had been for a very long time into a place that was new to me. This part of my journey is just so brand new because I was at Bad Boy for a long time. I think people only got to see one side of me. So this music is a collage of the journey I was going through.
Singersroom: How does the business of music affect the creativity of it?
Cheri Coke: Oh God it affects it â oh do you want to go there [Laughs]. I think it affects artists a lot because the politics of music is not always about talent and who is most deserving. Sometimes it can make you uninspired and unmotivated to do it. You know what? I take that back because sometimes it can make you feel like that and other times it can fuel you to move forward even more. But it can definitely be disheartening at times because it’s not always about talent and music. Sometimes it’s more about the politics behind the music business and that sucks.
Singersroom: Tell us about your Go Blue campaign?
Cheri Coke: Ahh! Well Go Blue is about just being yourself man. If you want to walk around with cheek piercings and blue hair or if you want to be super normal, no tattoos and straight lace then you’re free to do that too. I think that’s what my Go Blue campaign is all about. It’s about expressing who you really are. Be free to do you man! Why go through life trying to be somebody else? It’s tiring, it’s exhausting. Trying to please everybody, look like everybody and living up to their standard of beauty is really tiring. I think people should be free to do them and you’re going to get some stares and those who look at you like “What does she have on?” or “Why is she doing that?” but as long as you feel comfortable being yourself that’s all that really matters. And that goes back to my music because I was free to go in and do what I wanted to do and that felt good!
Singersroom: What words come to mind when you think about the color blue?
Cheri Coke: Cool! [Laughs] Super cool, super chill that’s what I think about when I think about the color blue. It reflects my personality sometimes. I have different sides to me but for the moment I’m choosing to express the chill side because I’m in a really good place. I get to make the music I want to make and look how I want to look. I get to do what I want to do and that’s a real chill place for me.
Singersroom: If you were to make a music love-child, who would you have the baby with? (past or present)
Cheri Coke: Can I have two? The first one would be Prince and then Pharrell Williams. Prince because he makes uber-sexy songs and he’s the man! He gets all the baddest chicks. Pharrell â do I even have to say? I mean he is super sexy and has great style. He also makes great songs and he’s really talented. I probably have more but I don’t want to OD [Laughs]. Like Kanye West. Physically he’s not really my type but his creative mind is amazing and I admire that. I think I’m going to stop there because I don’t want to be a musical “slore” (slut-whore). I already have three love kids so we’re going to stop there [Laughs].
Singersroom: If you had to describe your beauty in three words what would they be?
Cheri Coke: Effortless. Edgy. Unique.
Singersroom: Well now that you have told us about your beauty, what makes a person ugly?
Cheri Coke: Their personality. Their attitude. Their take on life. Beauty is skin deep so of course you can look at someone and tell if they’re not the most attractive person in the world. I think someone who is dumb beautiful but opens their mouth and has no personality or their personality sucks is ugly. People who are always shitting on people because they’re beautiful is really ugly. I don’t want to be friends with those kind of people. So I think someone’s nasty demeanor and personality makes them just like ew.
Singersroom: When it is all said and done what do you want people to say about Cheri Coke?
Cheri Coke: I want them to respect my music. I want them to say that I was a really dope artist and really dope vocalist. Even if it’s just the little fan base that I have, I just always want them to feel like I brought it. And I guess for the people that love me, family and friends, I hope I make them proud â that’s really it.
—— By: Interview By Aleta Watson