All eyes take notice whenever a lady emerges from Bad Boy’s infamous camp, and Cheri Dennis is no exception. The Ohio native made her presence known on radio airwaves and television screens in 2006, with her puppy-love infused single “I Love You.”Â But now it’s the end of 2007, and a slew of R&B mavens have come and gone since then. Though she has been sitting under the radar these last few months, Ms. Dennis was only readying for her comeback; she says she’s been in the studio building an album that reflects her greatest vocal strengths. Embracing new trends but honoring the basics of soul, Cheri has hit the digital world with her second album, In and Out of Love. Currently on a high now that her album is getting its head start on iTunes, the veteran Bad Boy signee talks to Rap-Up.com about her adoration for Prince, Michael Jackson imitators, and finally giving fans a chance to hear her voice.
How do you feel about putting out a digital version of your album on iTunes three months before the actual CD hits stores?
It’s kind of a new thing. They haven’t ever done it with urban music before. It was a no-brainer because it gives me so much more exposure to a broader audience, to an audience that might not necessarily listen to my type of music.
Tell us a little about the album.
The album is called In and Out of Love. Going into it, I don’t think we had a concept of it, but after going back and listening to the whole body of work, I think that people can relate to that. Either you’re in or out of love or transitioning.
Can we expect a lot of Bad Boy features?
You can expect a couple of Bad Boy features. There’s [Yung] Joc on the album, there’s Gorilla Zoe, we have Jim Jones on the album, and we have Puff. It’s not an album of features, though. We took such a long time to put out this album, so we didn’t want to saturate it with features. We want to get you familiar with the voice of Cheri Dennis. But that’s not to say that in the future I wouldn’t mind collaborating with people I respect. I wouldn’t mind working with Kanye in the future. I wouldn’t mind working with Keyshia Cole. I wouldn’t mind working with Prince, too. I’m a big, huge Prince fan.
Would you ever cover a Prince song?
I would cover one of his songs, but I would rather have him produce a song for me. I would love that. For him to be hands-on with the creative process, that would be good for me. I just love that he’s Prince, there’s no one else like him…with the jewels and the lace shirts, he can pull it off and still be the manliest man. I don’t think that there is another person you can compare him to.
Do you think these young R&B artists are emulating his style or the style of any of the classic superstars?
I don’t think that they’re emulating, but this is the music we grew up listening to. You could say that Ne-Yo’s trying to be Michael Jackson, but at the end of the day, Ne-Yo’s a phenomenal singer and songwriter. The fact that maybe Michael had a lot to do with who he is…that just happens.
What’s one concept of your music that you think reflects the old school essence of R&B?
That we’re really singing. I mean there’s great production, but it’s not a lot of those amped up vocals. It’s me really singing and I think that’s definitely a throwback to old, soul music when people were really singing.