In the world of music, very few singers are given the opportunity to display their talent to the world and find success. For me, music is an outlet that helps me to cope with my stresses and get lost in my imagination. Although I am not a good singer, it doesn’t stop me from singing, and I have no problem admitting that I am envious of those who can sing. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with the very talented and beautiful singer – song writer CeCe Peniston.
David: Could I just tell you what a dream come true this is for me. I love your music. I have listened to your song Finally a billion times and I am still looking for the man of my dreams lol.
CeCe: Thank you David. It’s my pleasure to speak with you.
David: Is it true that the words to the international hit Finally were purportedly penned during a chemistry class while thinking about dating in college?
CeCe: Actually, yes. It’s funny you ask that question. I was just a keynote speaker at Phoenix college for the graduating class and I told them the story of how I was in my chemistry class almost 30 years ago writing the lyrics to “Finally” and at the end of the graduation they played my song, “Finally”.
David: Billboard magazine listed you among the top 100 dance artist of all time in 2016. How does that make you feel?
CeCe: It was such a great feeling; it was very euphoric to hear that I was on that list. I am so honored and humbled.
David: In August of 2018, the world lost the legend Aretha Franklin. You performed for her at one of her private birthday parties. Were you friends with Aretha? What was it like to perform for her?
CeCe: It was the second or third time I performed for her. I am friends with Arlene Franklin. She arranged for me to perform at the party, and it was also the last time my mother saw me perform, so it’s a very fond memory that I have sharing that moment not just with Aretha, but with my mom before she passed.
David: You also performed for President Bill Clinton during both his inauguration ceremonies. What was that like?
CeCe: It was great. Not to many people have the honor to perform for the president. I actual performed for Hilary Clinton and she loved my performance. She then asked me to do the inauguration for president Bill Clinton who also asked me sing the national anthem at an event in Arizona.
David: Tell me about your experience as the first female entertainer to perform in post-apartheid South Africa?
CeCe: That was amazing to be the first female to perform with all the chaos that was happening in the world at that time. I am so happy to have had that opportunity in helping to make the world better and giving love and appreciation.
David: Along with singing you have also acted in film. What is different for you creatively when singing or when acting?
CeCe: The thing I like about acting is I get to morph into someone else. I get to turn into person I am not in my daily life where I don’t need to live up to anybodies expectations. I play a character the way Angela Bassett played in “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” as Tina Turner, Jamie Fox as “Ray Charles”, or Denzel Washington in “Training Day”.
David: Who are some of the artists you listen to?
CeCe: I love the artist H. E . R, Faith Evans, Chaka Khan, Mariah Carey, and Drake. I love a mixture of music. I also listen to a lot of gospel.
David: Who would you like to collaborate with musically?
CeCE: Someone from my era would be Musiq Soulchild. In todays music it would be David Guetta.
David: What advice do you have for singers struggling to make it in the music industry?
CeCe: If you fall, always fall on your back because when you look up, you can get back up.
David: If you weren’t a singer what profession would you be in?
CeCe: I would be a private investigator. I am a research queen. I watch a lot of Date Line ID. I am always curios how about how people plan the crime.
David: Are there any new projects you are working on?
CeCe: Absolutely! I am working on new music with a new team in Arizona. Also live band performances, fitness journey, and shows. You can check at my website for updates www.cecepeniston.com
David: What message would you like to share with all the readers?
CeCe: I really appreciate all the love and support from all my fans and the team of people I work with. Always allow yourself to dare to dream!
Photos: Mike Ware and Angelique White