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CeCe Peniston

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Title: CeCe Peniston  
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Subject: Colour of My Soul, Keep On Walkin' (song), Finally (CeCe Peniston album), Movin' On (CeCe Peniston song), Still I
Collection: 1969 Births, A&M Records Artists, African-American Actresses, African-American Female Singers, African-American Singer-Songwriters, American Dance Musicians, American Female Pop Singers, American Gospel Singers, American House Musicians, American Rhythm and Blues Singer-Songwriters, American Soul Singers, Baptists from the United States, Cece Peniston, Living People, Musicians from Arizona, Musicians from Phoenix, Arizona, Participants in American Reality Television Series, People from Dayton, Ohio, Songwriters from Ohio, Warner Bros. Records Artists
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CeCe Peniston

CeCe Peniston
Peniston performing at the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C., on April 9, 2011
Born Cecilia Veronica Peniston
(1969-09-06) September 6, 1969
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Residence Glendale, Arizona, U.S.
Alma mater Phoenix College
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Years active 1991–present
Home town Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
  • Malik Byrd (m. 1992; d. 1993)
  • Frank Martin (m. 2003; d. 2011)
Partner(s) Marcus Matthews (since 2015)
Website .comcecepeniston
Musical career
Instruments Vocals

CeCe Peniston (born Cecilia Veronica Peniston; September 6, 1969)[1] is an American recording artist and former beauty queen.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] In the early 1990s, she was one of the most successful dance club artists in the history of the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play, scoring five number one hits in the chart within three years.[9][10] Her signature song “Finally” (#5 in the Hot 100[10] and #2 in UK Top 75[11]) became one of the biggest dance singles, selling three million copies worldwide.[12]

Peniston has performed at private engagements for Aretha Franklin's private birthday party in Detroit, Michigan, Pope John Paul II in Rome at the Vatican (as a member of the gospel band Sisters of Glory) and the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, during both of his inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C.[13] She was the first foreign female entertainer to perform in post-apartheid South Africa.[13][14]

On February 4, 2011, Peniston signed a record deal with West Swagg Music Group/Bungalo Records, with full distribution through Universal Music Group Distribution, and announced release of a new solo album 15 years after her last studio set (I'm Movin' On from 1996 on A&M Records).[15] By the end of the year, however, only three digital singles had been issued including a new song called "Stoopid!",[16] and two cover versions of her prior hits, "Keep On Walkin'" and "Finally".[17][18]


  • Biography 1
    • 1969–90: Early life 1.1
    • 1990–91: Female Preacher 1.2
    • 1991–92: Finally 1.3
    • 1993–95: Thought 'Ya Knew 1.4
    • 1996–98: I'm Movin' On and The Best Of album 1.5
    • 1998–2000: Cancelled Nobody Else album 1.6
    • 2000–present: Singles era 1.7
  • Discography 2
  • Filmography 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Controversies 5
    • Plastic surgery 5.1
    • Misunderstanding with Monica 5.2
  • Charity work 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


1969–90: Early life

Peniston was born in Dayton, Ohio, in United States, but spent the majority of her formative years in Phoenix, where she was raised since she was nine. As a daughter of a former military father, Ronald Peniston (born 1934, married Barbara Anne in 1960), she started singing at church[19] and doing plays and musicals such as H.M.S. Pinafore in the 6th grade. She participated in local karaoke contests and singing talent shows, while taking piano lessons.[4][8]

She attended

External links

  1. ^ "Who's Who Among African Americans > Peniston, CeCe".  
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (1998). "The Virgin Encyclopedia of R&B and Soul, Virgin Encyclopedias of Popular Music".  
  3. ^ a b c d e Jarvik, Elaine (1992-03-12). "Peniston Building Public Relations in Utah".  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Shelton, Sonya. "Index of Musician Biographies > From Johnny Paycheck to Ma Rainey > CeCe Peniston Biography". (Net Industries). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  5. ^ a b c Cardwell, Diane (1992-02-21). "CeCe Peniston: Close Up".  
  6. ^ a b Wynn, Ron. "Former Miss Black Arizona Winners: Where Are They Now?". AllMusic at (Youth Together). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Mirani, Czarina (1996-06-01). "CeCe Peniston Interview". 5 Mag (5 Magazine and Fivestar Boogie Productions). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Brown, Roynette N. (August 2007). "Interviews > 2007 > One on One with CeCe Peniston". SayWhatNews. (Say What News Magazine). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  9. ^ a b "CeCe Peniston > Charts & Awards".  
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "CeCe Peniston > Chart History".  
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Chart Stats > CeCe Peniston > Singles and Albums". (Chart Stats). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  12. ^ a b "CeCe Peniston".  
  13. ^ a b c d "About Us > Female Vocalists > CeCe Peniston". First Class Entertainment. First Class Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2015-03-21. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  14. ^ "On Air with Tony Sweet: Listen on Demand > Interviews with Lara Johnson, Tevin Campbell & CeCe Peniston". LA Talk Radio. (LA Talk Radio). 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  15. ^ a b "Music > Notes: CeCe Peniston recently signed with West Swagg Music Group". (In! Communications). March 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  16. ^ a b "CeCe Peniston Doesn't Age: Presented by Red Planet Blue Moon". (Red Planet Blue Moon Productions, LLC). 2011-03-02. Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  17. ^ a b """CeCe Peniston – "Keep On Flossing.  
  18. ^ a b "CeCe Peniston featuring Joyriders > Finally: Remixes". iTunes. Apple. 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2012-02-25. 
  19. ^ a b c Hutson, Wendell (2009-06-17). "Cece Peniston Looking Forward to a Come Back".  
  20. ^ "Arizona > Phoenix > Trevor Browne High School > Class of 1987 > Cecelia Peniston". (Great Reunions). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  21. ^ Millner, Denene (1996-08-18). "The New Look of Cece Peniston".  
  22. ^ Psaroudis, Yiannis. "DiVA Station > R&B/Soul > CeCe Peniston >". (DiVA Station). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  23. ^ a b c d e Koen, David (1992-07-08). "Hip-Hop Home Girls: A Trio of Women Puts the Valley on the Music Map".  
  24. ^ Peniston, CeCe (1992).  
  25. ^ "Overweight Pooch > Chart History". Billboard. (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  26. ^ "Overweight Pooch and CeCe Peniston > Singles". (Chart Stats). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  27. ^ Delgado, Felipe. "Profile > WaxxGado".  
  28. ^ Flick, Larry (1992-06-20). "Popular Uprisings > Case Study Dance > CeCe Peniston Grows from Club Roots (pg. 16)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  29. ^ "CeCe Peniston – Radio Interview – Mega 104.3".  
  30. ^ Reynolds, J.R. (1996-07-27). "R&B Artists & Music > CeCe Peniston's 'Movin' On' (pg. 15)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  31. ^ "CeCe Peniston Discography > Singles > We Got a Love Thang > Catalog# AMCD 846, 390 846–2 > Images". Discogs. (Zink Media). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  32. ^ "Peniston Leads Nominees for Billboard Music Video Awards (pg. 79)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). 1992-10-17. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  33. ^ "Billboard Charts > 1992 > Billboard Top 100 of 1992". Billboard. (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  34. ^ "1993 Soul Train Music Awards - Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Album, Female".  
  35. ^ "Notable Disco Songs and Artists > Norma Jean Wright: Norma Jean". (Disco Savvy). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  36. ^ a b "The Year in Music 1994 > Dance (pg. YE-74)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). 1994-12-24. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  37. ^ "Charts > Archive > 1994 > Billboard Year-End Toppers > Billboard: 1994 Year-End Chart-Toppers". (Rock On The Net). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  38. ^ "Jeff Lorber > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". AllMusic. (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  39. ^ "Sisters of Glory > Chart History > Gospel Albums". Billboard. (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  40. ^ Flick, Larry (1996-02-03). "Artists & Music > Dance Trax (pg. 36)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  41. ^ "Talent Rosters > Dance/Pop/Contemporary > CeCe Peniston". (T-Best Talent Agency). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  42. ^ Millner, Denene (1996-08-18). "The New Look of Cece Peniston".  
  43. ^ Reynolds, J.R. (1996-07-27). "Artists & Music > R&B > CeCe Peniston's 'Movin' On' (pg. 15)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  44. ^ Taylor, Chuck (1998-07-25). "Dance Music Seminar's Call to Arms (pg. 84)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  45. ^ a b Reynolds, J.R. (1996-12-14). "Artists & Music > R&B > Camp Lo Brews Hip-Hop Nostalgia (image, pg. 16)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  46. ^ Clinton, William J. (1996-12-14). "Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States > Remarks in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (pg. 2071)".  
  47. ^ Tudor, Silke (1997-06-11). "The House of Tudor".  
  48. ^ Winn, Steven (1997-06-13). "'"Big Names, Small Parts: Grace Jones gets wicked in 'The Wiz.  
  49. ^ "Artists & Music > Rhythm Section > Bubbling Under Hot R&B Singles (pg. 17)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). 1998-04-18. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  50. ^ "CeCe Peniston Discography > Singles > Nobody Else > Catalog# SENT 9802-1 > Images".  
  51. ^ Flick, Larry (1998-05-16). "Reviews & Previews > Singles (pg. 27)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2015-02-02. 
  52. ^ Flick, Larry (1998-05-16). "Artists & Music > Dance Trax (pg. 33)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  53. ^ Flick, Larry (1998-05-30). "Artists & Music > Reviews & Previews > Singles > CeCe Peniston: Nobody Else (pg. 27)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  54. ^ Flick, Larry (1998-07-25). "Artists & Music > Dance Trax > Finally Together (pg. 36)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  55. ^ "Awards & Festivals > Grammy Awards > 42nd Nominations (2000)". Digital Hit Entertainment. (Multiplex Theatre Properties). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  56. ^ "Awards & Festivals > Grammy Awards > 42nd Winners, Results & Commentary (2000)". Digital Hit Entertainment. (Multiplex Theatre Properties). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  57. ^ Walker, Toby. "The Artists > Gil Scott-Heron". ( 
  58. ^ "The Year in Music 2001 > Dance (pg. YE-48)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). 2001-12-29. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  59. ^ "Napster Connects with 4 Play Records & CeCe Peniston on Lifetime to Love".  
  60. ^ "Dance/Electronic > Hot Dance Music Club Play chart and Hot Dance Breakouts (pg. 30)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). 2001-08-04. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  61. ^ "Entertainment > The return of Ella May Saison".  
  62. ^ Saison, Ella Mae. "Dark Sundays > Reviews". (News Corporation). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  63. ^ Dôme Records. "News > New Dôme Singles from Vicky and CeCe". ( 
  64. ^ "Delegation > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". AllMusic. (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  65. ^ "CeCe Peniston Discography > Singles > Eternal Lover > Versions". Discogs. (Zink Media). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  66. ^ "CeCe Peniston > Self > Hit Me, Baby, One More Time (TV series)".  
  67. ^ DJ Spyder. "The 2nd Annual Dance Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony". (DJ Spyder). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  68. ^ "Billboard Charts > Dance > Hot Dance Club Play (pg. 61)". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc). 2005-11-19. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  69. ^ "The Official Website of David Longoria > Biography". ( 
  70. ^ "RaShaan Houston Discography > Singles & EPs > It's Alright". Discogs. (Zink Media). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  71. ^ "The Brand New Heavies > Singles". (Chart Stats). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  72. ^ "Videos > Divas of Disco".  
  73. ^ Fossati, Mike (2007-04-22). "Spirit of House Charts > April 22, 2007". (Spirit of House). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  74. ^ "Success > Soulshaker Chart Success History (Remix, Writing & Production)". ( 
  75. ^ Okhio, Lautel (2007-09-18). "New Singles Releases by CeCe Peniston and Krieg Nation on iTunes". (TransWorldNews). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  76. ^ "SandWorx – Rodney "R.K." Jackson, Felipe "DJ Wax" Delgado & Nick "Cello" Valentine". (News Corporation). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  77. ^ Ragland, Aaron-Carl. "Profile > Aaron-Carl: Bio". (News Corporation). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  78. ^ Thomas, Kenya (August 2009). "The Skinni on CeCe Peniston". ( 
  79. ^ Smith, Clyde (2010-06-24). "DJ & Dance > Celebrated House Music DJ Carroll Announces Summer Tour Dates and Launch of His Independent Record Companies Chi City Music/Electricity". (Hip Hop Press). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  80. ^ Kebble, Mark (2010-08-12). "Arts > Music & Dance > Ron Carroll Talks about Electricity". Great British Life. ( 
  81. ^ "West Swagg Music Group → About". West Swagg Music Group. (West Swagg Music Group). Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  82. ^ "Miami 2011".  
  83. ^ "Films > Don't Touch if You Ain't Prayed". Maverick Spirit. ( 
  84. ^ "Films > Pastor Jones". Maverick Spirit. (Maverick Entertainment Group, Inc). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  85. ^ "CeCe Peniston – Inside that I cried 1992". YouTube. (Google). 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  86. ^ Martin Jr., Frank. "About Us > My Background".  
  87. ^ "Find by Name: CeCe Peniston".  
  88. ^ Jefferson, Aisha. "5 Questions for CeCe Peniston on New Music and Liposuction".  
  89. ^ "Articles > Models > PHXFW Emerging Models 2010: Gentlemen > Greg Peniston". PHXFW. ( 
  90. ^ Peniston, Gregory. "Profile > G Phinesse". (News Corporation). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  91. ^ Peniston, Gregory. "G Phinesse's Profile". (News Corporation). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  92. ^ a b "CBS Television Distribution Releases > Popstar CeCe Peniston Goes Under the Knife and Invites Inside Edition Along on Her Journey".  
  93. ^ "News > Medical: Plastic Surgery > Dr. Hall: Featured on US Weekly Magazine: CeCe Peniston’s Plastic Surgery Makeover".  
  94. ^ "Art/Entertainment > Television > Recording Artist Ce Ce Peniston Reveals Physical Make-Over by Dr. William Hall in March Issue of US Weekly Magazine". (News Guide). 2010-03-21. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  95. ^ a b c Bitchie, Necole (2009-03-15). "Categories > Celebrities > Woman to Woman: Monica and CeCe Peniston Talk It Out". (Necole Bitchie). Archived from the original on 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  96. ^ "Extraordinary Profiles > CeCe Peniston – A Soulful and Captivating Diva (pg. 8)". Exceptional Mag. (Atela Productions). Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  97. ^ "Entertainment News > Archives > June 2009 > CeCe Peniston, National PTA Release Inspirational Song Above Horizons is a Tribute to Children, Parents and Teachers (pg. 39)". (Hot Indie News). 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  98. ^ "'"About PTA > PTA Ambassadors > CeCe Peniston > Announcing PTA's New Song 'Above Horizons. ( 


See also

retailer for National PTA. digital music and its release coincided with PTA’s unofficial announcement of as a PTA National Member Benefits Provider, and the "category exclusive" [98] Following this announcement, Peniston started to record the official PTA anthem, "
[97] In October 2008, singer was along with

National PTA Ambassador

Later in 2006, the foundation was to be re-named as the LOTS Foundation (Lifting Others To Succeed), after her statement in the interview for 5 Mag in June the same year, and she was planning doing a benefit for cancer research, because of her father, a cancer survivor.[7]

Originally in 1997, singer, along with her friend Heather, founded the CeCe Peniston Youth Foundation to help raise funds for many other organizations, particularly those concerned with HIV/AIDS, women and children in need, hunger and the equality of mankind.[8] After the September 11, 2001 tragedy, Michael Jackson requested her presence for his "United We Stand" concert to benefit the families of 9/11. She has also blazed two tracks ("The Christmas Song" and "What a Wonderful World) on the albums Merry Arizona II and Merry Arizona 97, with proceeds going to Multiple Sclerosis. She had been requested to perform for U.S. troops on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1993, and has continued to travel to entertain the U.S. troops overseas since.[13]

LOTS alias CeCe Peniston Youth Foundation

“Have a good foundation of people around you who will tell you the truth no matter what, continue to love what you do and be willing to grow and make changes within yourself. You should also have a good spiritual foundation, accept the good and the bad and analyze it. Once you know the peaks and valleys are going to be there, then you accept it a whole lot better.”[96]

—Peniston's thoughts on longevity for Exceptional Mag.

Charity work

A friend of Peniston had brought the article to her attention later, and she responded to Monica via the social networking website, saying that she did not recall the event but wanted to apologize for it, saying she had always encouraged and supported children and speculating that she may have been distracted by her staff at the time. Peniston said "At that time I was young and still pretty new to the industry myself, and so I hadn't learned how to balance everything just yet. It really hurts me that I made you feel like that."[95] Monica thanked her for the apology, and for caring "after all the years have passed".[95]

In August 2008, Necole Bitchie interviewed American R&B singer Monica, whose first two singles made her the youngest recording act to ever have two consecutive chart-topping hits on the U.S. Billboard Top R&B Singles chart in 1995. The younger singer outspokenly talked about her professional life, upcoming wedding as well as her past relationships. During the interview she recalled her manager-cousin Melinda asking CeCe Peniston, "who was huge at that time", if Monica could sing for her. Monica remembered Penison being "rude" and doing "everything she possibly could while I sang", and that she was "devastated" by the experience.[95]

Misunderstanding with Monica

However three years later, in November 2009, Peniston herself was spotted in Culver City, California posing for Inside Edition (produced daily at the CBS Broadcast Center in N.Y.C.), which first revealed details about her radical physical makeover and tumescent liposuction she, reportedly, got recommended by her new record executives.[92] In addition, she was featured in several national celebrity news and fashion magazines, including the national Us Weekly,[93] which tracked her progress as she sought to lose weight through plastic surgery. The surgery was a “hit” for Peniston, who then claimed to "feel great"[92] after having liposuction, a tummy tuck, fat removed from her neck and a host of other procedures.[94]

With the exception of her formative years when she was crowned a beauty queen, Peniston was struggling with being overweight constantly. "When I first got in this business, I was actually heavier and I was comfortable with who I was, but that was an issue for the record company,"[7] she disclosed in 2006. "But see in this day and age where I'm at, it wouldn't be a problem for the record company, I'm going to make sure that it's not. But for somebody who's getting into the business, realize that you're a commodity, and if the record company's investing in you, make sure you that you invest in yourself. Look is important because people see the physical first,"[7] she was advising upcomers in the 5 Magazine interview.

Plastic surgery


While Peniston's mother, Barbara Anne Quick (born August 25, 1938 in Brooklyn, New York), was also her manager,[45] one of the Peniston's brothers, Gregory Dereck Peniston (born in 1972) is a behavior coach for children ages five to seventeen and a model, who tried to record several songs himself. He was involved in her co-production as a road manager, as well as in her charity work.[89][90][91] She is the third born of four siblings, and sharing her home in Glendale, Arizona with two pit bulls and a chihuahua.[7][19]

In 1992, subsequent to the release of the debut album Finally, Peniston was briefly married[4] to Malik Byrd, who co-wrote "Inside That I Cried" and appeared by her side also in its video.[85] In 2003, Peniston married real estate professional Frank Martin from Halifax, Massachusetts.[86][87] The couple divorced in 2011.[88] Based on her appearance for reality TV series Celebrity Wife Swap in August 2015, she is now engaged to personal trainer Marcus Matthews.

Posing in front of her BMI certificate, awarded for single "Finally" in 1993

Personal life

Year Title Role Notes
2005 Pastor Jones Cameo DVD, directed by Jean-Claude La Marre
Don't Touch if You Ain't Prayed Pamela Matthews DVD, directed by Larry "Flash" Jenkins
2014 Thorns from a Rose Glendora Rose Directed by Bryce Prevatte
2015 Where Is Good? Detective Young Inspired by true events, directed by Ricky Burchell

Peniston has acted in theatrical productions such plays as The Wiz, Treat Her Like a Lady or When a Woman's Fed Up, and later also wrapped up shooting two independent films[8] of the same genre (both released on Maverick Spirit in 2005). The first of them, Don't Touch if You Ain't Prayed, featured gospel music performed by Peniston herself,[83] while the second, Pastor Jones, was another urban film appealing to the Christian market.[84]



On February 4, 2011, Peniston signed a recording contract with the independent label West Swagg Music Group (WWMG),[15] established by Lupe Rose in 2010. The company currently has a deal with Bungalo Records, which is exclusively distributed by Universal Music Group Distribution.[81] Peniston's first single on the label, "Stoopid!" was officially released on April 26 as a download single.[16] One month prior to that, Peniston contributed to the March-issued various artists digital compilation titled Miami 2011 with "Make Me Say Oh",[82] which is her fourth track recorded in collaboration with Ron Carroll (their previous works included songs "My Boo", "I'm Feelin' U" and "In Love with a DJ"). On August 9, WWMG released "Keep On Flossing" (a remixed version of her former single from 90s) recorded as a duet with her fellow rapper Lavon Collins (aka L.C.)[17] While on October 3, a new version of "Finally" by Paul Oakenfold followed.[18] Other track called "Celebrate" was released on March 27.

"Make Me Say Oh", "Stoopid!" and "Celebrate"

In June 2010, Hip-Hop Press posted information about Ron Carroll launching his own independent record label called Electricity, which is to be part of One Entertainment company that will specialize in marketing and promoting concerts, fashion shows and club events all over the world, and signing Electronic, Hip-Hop/R&B and gospel artists. According to the producer himself, Carroll's goal with the label (which has a major distribution deal with Universal) is to focus on artist development, music education and ensuring that Electricity creates a solid foundation for the music industry in Chicago.[79] Following this announcement, a house/groove, "In Love with a DJ", with Peniston as its lead vocalist was released in July, including four remixes. In an interview for Great British Life, Carroll said that he "wanted to make a song that gives the perspective of a woman groovin’ to my music, and loving me enough make her night complete.[80]

"In Love with a DJ"

On June 17, 2009, Chicago Defender interviewed the artist, who declared that after over a decade she was about to finish recording her comeback album. Although, she did not concrete its release date, Peniston revealed that she was working with such likes as Track Kingz West, Vudu, Status ("Above Horizons"), David Givens, Montell Jordan (on their common duet "He Say, She Say"), Mateo (on "Piece of That"), Isalene Elliot, and Ragland. “Once I reach an agreement and sign with a record company, the album will drop,”[19] she added. One month later, Peniston confirmed information regarding her new studio album live as a guest of the Wendy Williams birthday show, during which she performed "Finally". Subsequently, the diva allowed to prelisten a few of her brand new recordings to her community via her web-site at Among them, the song "Runway" met with instant positive feedback due to its hip-hop/dance sound comparable to the Timbaland's production. After a New York correspondent, Kenya Thomas, questioned Peniston for Skinny, she wished to subtitle the album CeCe.[78] Her long-waited record would not be out even following years.

However, the year of 2008 also passed with no significant news regarding her new solo studio project, the following June Peniston released "National PTA Recordings, included overall four versions. Among others, also two mixes from a Detroit house music producer and DJ, Aaron-Carl Ragland, who listed one of Peniston's compositions ("Nobody Else" from 1998) as one of his musical influences.[77]

"Above Horizons"

Originally, the potential release of an R&B song after a lengthy absence, "Still I", was to be cancelled, but the final record actually leaked out after one of the producers, allowed the Adrenaline Music company to distribute the song.
Behind the song's production were recognized Peniston's former folks from Arizona, Felipe Delgado and Jackson (both in charge of her initial hit, “Finally”, from 1991) who reunited in 2005 to form a new production crew, collectively known as SandWorx, altogether with Nick "Cello" Valentine (which joined them in the spring of the following year). Though Peniston herself, who supported the trio by performing live in the Next In club in Scottsdale, Arizona, did not consider the record as a strong enough to be offered for sale, "Still I" was eventually released as a four track virtual single in September 2007, and the session that was supposed to rejoin the former producers with Peniston ended up with an apparent contradiction.[75] The rest of to date unreleased recordings are songs titled "Wonder Woman", "Next to Me" and "Right Here".[76]

Also with Delgado after their reunion in 2007 at Chaton Studios
"Still I"

On August 26, 2007, one year after her interview for 5 Chicago Mag, Peniston mentioned again her plans regarding a new album project also for Say What News, however she did not go further this time. When asked, with whom from the industry she would like to once collaborate, she named the winner of twenty-two Grammy Awards, Stevie Wonder.[8]

Her following promotional single, "Shame Shame Shame", released in UK in June 2007, was co-written by Matt and Warren Meyers, and Kelly Mueller, better recognized as Soulshaker (alias The Soul Shakers). The British music producers' team produced for Peniston a composition, which by the end of the year achieved several No. 1 statuses within specialized UK magazine charts (including No.#1 Music Week Pop Tip Chart, No.#1 Music Week Club Chart, and No.#1 DJ Mag Hype Chart[74]). While in England Shame Shame Shame" was issued on the AATW label, in the States the title was released on Trackworks Records in several promo editions.

"Shame Shame Shame"

In 2007, Peniston teamed up with US house DJ Ron Carroll for a funky bomb, "I'm Feelin' U", which was released in May on the Soulfuric Recordings label. The song caught an attention in the European clublands (No.#2 in the DJ House chart)[73] The four track single included also additional mixes from a French, DJ Fudge, and Brian Tappert, but as with her previous Japanese release ("You Are the Universe"), "I'm Feelin' U" was available for sale exclusively on vinyl, or as a digital single to be directly downloaded.

"I'm Feelin' U"

On April 25 in 2007, her icon stood on the stage of Avalon, Hollywood on the occasion of a five star concert Divas of Disco – Live, which included Thelma Houston, Linda Clifford, A Taste of Honey, France Joli and herself. Each diva performed overall three songs as a solo artist, while Peniston was the main star closing the night.[72] Her performances of "Keep On Walkin'", the Donna Summer's cover version of "Last Dance", and "Finally" were released as a digital live EP on One Media Publishing the following year. The whole concert titled, Divas of Disco, was available in Europe on DVD on ZYX Music in 2008, as well as on CD in 2010, while in U.S. only its DVD release followed (on RSM Records in 2009).

"EP Live" and Divas of Disco

Instead, Peniston co-wrote with Jackson single "It’s Alright" for RaShaan Houston,[70] and took part in another proto-D’vas project, produced by Full Flava, to which she contributed with a Brand New Heavies's hit from 1997 (No.#21 in UK[71]), "You Are the Universe". Her cover version was attached to the Full Flava’s retro album, Music Is Our Way of Life, which reconstructed eleven dancefloor classics in total, and the compilation was released on Dôme. The Peniston’s track was remixed by a Japanese producer, DJ Hasebe, to be featured in his disco medley named after the song, and for the purpose of a limited edition single available only in Japan on vinyl.

Peniston performing live on April 25, 1997, at Avalon, Hollywood

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"I think people consider Diva as someone with a lot of soul, and I consider myself a person with a lot of soul, so I think the description would fit right."[23]

—the artist said after critics mentioned on the strength of her performances the word "diva"

Interviewed by 5 Chicago magazine in June 2006, singer stated that she was, "working on another album,"[7] with Silk Entertainment label), Tre, and Ron Carroll, and expressed her wish to work with Steve Hurley as well back again. She further calculated to be done "within the next three or four months" with her studio record.[7]

"You Are the Universe" and Music Is Our Way of Life

Peniston's following music project was a common duet with Deeper Love", written by Longoria, after six weeks on the chart climbed to No.#14 in the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play (on November 19),[68] returning Peniston lost dance chart positions since another duet number ("Reminiscin") from 2001. The single was released with the copyright owned by Del Oro Music, and included eleven remixes from Junior Vasquez, Ryan Humphries, L.E.X., and Richard Earnshaw. According to David Longoria's official web site, the newest radio version of "Deeper Love 2014" is directed at Rhythmic Radio and to be issued in the Summer of 2014.[69]

"Deeper Love"

On September 19, 2005, Peniston was invited to appear at Manhattan Center, Grand Ballroom, NYC, to be present at the 2nd Annual Dance Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, along with Wanda Dee (of KLF), Nile Rodgers, Freddie Jackson, and Kathy Sledge.[67] The Dance Music Hall of Fame, created by veteran John Parker in 2003, was supposed to recognize the contributions of those, who have had a significant impact on the evolution and development of dance music, and celebrate the history and significance of the genre. An awards ceremony announcing the inductees in the event was to take place annually at a formal dinner event in New York, but due to financial differences among the Board members, the Dance Music Hall of Fame ceased operations after its second ceremony (in 2005).

In the first half of 2005, Peniston wrapped up shooting an independent film called Don't Touch if You Ain't Prayed. Her character was a forty-year-old Christian woman saving herself for marriage, and the film featured gospel music performed by herself. In addition, Peniston took a small part in another urban Gospel film appealing to Christian market, Pastor Jones.

Pastor Jones and Don't Touch if You Ain't Prayed

Back to the States on 2 June 2005, Peniston appeared on the NBC network as a contestant of the summer's reality TV Hit Me, Baby, One More Time.[66] During each program five former pop stars would sing their biggest hit plus a cover version of one contemporary hit, and every week the winner, picked by the studio audience, would get a donation of $20,000 in their name to a charity of free choice. Peniston competed on the show performing “Finally” plus a Faith Hill's song, "There You'll Be", in favor of a hip-hop group, Arrested Development (the final winner of the program that night). When two years later asked, while being interviewed by the Say What News online magazine, Peniston would not confirm to record "There You'll Be" also in the studio.[8]

Gimme the Mike! and Hit Me, Baby, One More Time

Her next steps afterwards led to Better Days Studios in Paris where, for a change, singer was supposed to work with a French producer, Fréderic Tharreau alias BIBI, on exclusively import single "Eternal Lover". In addition to being released in France on RLPMix Records, the song was also issued in Australia and New Zealand on the domestic premier dance label, Vinyl Pusher Records, in 2004.[65]

"Eternal Lover"
Also at the 2006 Capital Pride

"For My Baby" did not succeed on the music charts, however Ruf N Tumble's dance remixes of the song were based on a sample of the Delegation hit single "Heartache No. 9" (that scored at number fifty-seven in US Dance in 1980[64]). Her second solo number on the Full Flava's compilation Colour of My Soul was titled "I Think about Him", and it was a mid-tempo that Peniston co-wrote with Derbyshire and Mullings.

Accompanied by a line-up of seven other female vocalists coming from both sides of the Atlantic, she joined Rob Derbyshire and Paul 'Solomon' Mullings, the Birmingham's R&B production duo known as Full Flava, to record lead vocals for their album Colour of My Soul. The modern soul set was to be made in England, released on Dôme Records in 2003, and one of the compositions performed by Peniston, "For My Baby", was later given also a treatment for the dance floor with stand-out house mixes from Dave "Leggz" Longmore and Sam Junior Bromfield known as Ruff ’N’ Tumble, and duo KT & C.[63]

"For My Baby" and Colour of My Soul

Peniston later commented on her recording with Saison, "I had the pleasure of working with a very talented and inspiring artist by the name of Saison. Last January 2001, we collaborated on a duet, Reminiscin. I was fortunate to witness the warmth of a beautiful personality and the great talent of a rising star. I hope the world will be allowed to share in this experience too."[62]

Following the millennium Peniston, no longer part of the mainstream that brought her success in the early '90s, spent the first decade supporting numerous recording artists of various musical styles and influences who would keep her in the music industry and in the eye of public mostly as a guest, but prominent vocalist.
In 2001, she collaborated with Ella Mae Saison, a singer from Philippines, on a common track. The duet partially mixed in France, and partially in N.Y.C., was sponsored by a multiple world champion boxer, Evander Holyfield, and released on his record label in April. After its slow start, while being classified as the Billboard Hot Dance Breakout No.#1 for Maxi-Singles Sales category,[60] the song hit No.#30 in US Dance chart eventually on August 18, under title "Reminiscin" and with Peniston being credited as a featuring artist.[61]


The digital version of "Lifetime to Love" was to be offered, along with photos and other information regarding Peniston, for free of charge download via Napster,[59] an online music file sharing service. Timing prevented the deal's followthrough in, unfortunately, and singer left 4 Play label afterwards.

While looking for alternative options for the cancelled production of her album, Peniston decided to make a step back and record a cover version of "Lifetime to Love", written by Steven Nikolas and Brendon Sibley, for her ex-major label producer and the Manny Lehman's compilation Circuit Sessions 00.1. The composition almost revived her No. 1 status in February 2001, returning her into the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play list, and delivering her a Top 3 entry also in the millennium (No. 2).[10] Although the song was at the end of the year classified as the 30th most successful US Dance track of 2001,[58] it did not enter the official Hot 100 chart.

"Lifetime to Love"

2000–present: Singles era

Performing at the Capital Pride in Washington, D.C., on June 11, 2006

But the Peniston's next single “My Boo” with then already Grammy Award-nominee Hurley (apart from other five remixes for another artists, also for his own 'Silk's 12" Mix' of "He Loves Me 2",[55] eventually lost in favor of Peter Rauhofer alias Club 69, who became the Remixer of the Year, Non-Classical, in 2000[56]) happened to become disappointing again for both actually, and the last act distributed through the producer's record company. The song contained a sample of "The Bottle" by Gil Scott-Heron, one of the most important progenitors of rap music, at that time imprisoned for one to three years following series of drug possession charges.[57]

In 1999, "He Loves Me 2", co-written by M-Doc (known for a remix production for such major artists as Madonna, Janet Jackson or Keitha Sweat) to whom the singer returned the favor providing background vocals on "Keep It Real", a song recorded for his own album Young, Black, Rich and Famous, might seemed to bring more competitive results than her previous endeavor, reaching No.#24 on the Hot Dance Club Play.[10]

To make things surrounding her potential comeback even worse, ferocious house groove "Nobody Else", which was premiered at the 5th Annual Billboard Dance Music Summit on the stage at the Green Dolphin Street, failed to enter the music charts, despite favorable reviews of the Billboard that rated the song "among the artist's strongest recordings", "a sure to-thrill die hards,"[53] and as "a triumphant return to clubland" commenting in addition her summit live performance.[54]

Rumors about Peniston working in Chicago on a new album with Steve "Silk" Hurley sprung up after "Nobody Else", a gospel-infused sirene and her debut on the producer's label, saw its official release in 1998. However apart from the Billboard, the inlay details of "Nobody Else"[50] also informed her fan base a studio album with the same title[51] was due that summer,[52] this information seemed to be rather optional than reality that followed the artist's future, while she had been signed to the Silk Entertainment company.

"Steve is really great at bringing out that attitude in me. He gave me a lot in terms of pronouncing words to make them sound like they need to sound, but that's not actually what you're saying. So it puts that vibe on it. So I learned a lot from him vocally as far as in the studio."[7]

—Peniston about Steve Hurley
Silk's Filter Dub by Steve "Silk" Hurley

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1998–2000: Cancelled Nobody Else album

After her departure from A&M Peniston contributed with two songs to the M.C. Magic's compilation of various Phoenix-based artists called Desert Funk! that was issued on Nastyboy Records. The first title, "I Know You Want Me", was a hip-hop duet recorded in common with Nastyboy Klick (#109 on the US R&B[49]), while the second, a Latino hip-hop ballad, "When I'm with You" was her own solo track also produced by Marcus Cardenas.

In February 1998, a David Morales' remix of "Somebody Else's Guy", originally popularized by Jocelyn Brown and recorded for the album I'm Movin' On, became a surprising hit in Europe, where it reached No.#13 in the UK Top 75 (as her last entry to date in England),[11] as well as in April No.#26 in Japan, after being picked to promote Peniston’s import greatest hits collection simply titled The Best Of. The black and white photographs for its booklet were done by Daniela Federici, whose art work was noticed already on I'm Movin' On release, and later also on album and single covers of other female recording artists, such as Céline Dion, Toni Braxton, or Pink.

In September, A&M re-released the single "Finally" that successfully entered the UK Top 75 back again (No.#26[11]), and in addition also her debut album on CD enhanced with the new remix, Finally (Classic Funk Radio Mix), both re-issued only in the overseas.

Following her dismissal, Peniston took playing as Glinda the Good Witch[47] in a theatrical production of musical play The Wiz.[8] The staged concert was opened at Oakland's Paramount Theatre for a five-day run on June 11, 1997, and besides herself, Grace Jones and Peabo Bryson appeared to act.[48]

However, Peniston herself seemed to be not worried about losing her audience, when interviewed at the time of I'm Movin' On release by Billboard: "When you're first coming out as an artist, many times label executives have their own vision for you. But as you move forward, it's only fair that you begin determining your own direction. People will make the change with you as long as you’re honest about your craft and display a comfort for what it is that you’re doing,"[43] two years later Peniston actually confirmed her doubts, after being questioned by the magazine: "I can speak about this firsthand, believe me. Sometimes doing what you feel isn’t always accepted by the public. You’ve got to choose where you want to go and be consistent,"[44] (said by the artist at the 5th annual Billboard Dance Music Summit that urged members of the dance music community to work together toward greater credibility, visibility and sales for the genre, held July 8–10 in 1998). After only two singles released from her R&B set, A&M did not decide to select a song that would cater to another music format, and capitulated to progress with I'm Movin' On album that Peniston promoted also during Bill Clinton's election campaign, on which she performed several track from the set.[45] Clinton commented on her performance on November 4, 1996 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, mentioning: "I want to thank CeCe Peniston for singing so beautifully."[46]

Despite insistence from the Peniston's management to release "Somebody Else's Guy" as a follow-up, A&M label preferred an alternate composition, "Before I Lay (You Drive Me Crazy)", which featured Peniston’s then-beau JoJo Hailey[42] (of K-Ci & JoJo) who was supposed to help establish Peniston as an R&B artist. But the duet reached its top in the US R&B already at No.#52,[10] with no entry in the Hot 100 chart (No.#121) or in England.

"We named the album I'm Movin' On because it says a lot about me and who I am now in 1996. I'm moving on mentally, physically, spiritually and musically in every way."[41]

On September 9, I'm Movin' On, the record with evident absence of her ever-dependable club workouts finally arrived. Peniston contributed to the set with three songs she co-wrote (except the title's track, the ballad "The Last To Know" and a club potential, "Don't Know What To Do", that was not be promoted). After peaking at No.#48 on the US R&B,[10] the album passed by the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, and soon largely felt victim to mismarketing.

"Movin' On", the song considered as the strongest track to reach core R&B listeners with potential across several genres, was produced by Dave "Jam" Hall, the hit maker behind Mariah Carey's "Dreamlover", whose earlier work included also the Madonna's Bedtime Stories album. The song cracked the Top 40 on the US R&B/Hip Hop at No.#29, but failed to show up in the UK chart, while scoring at weak No.#83 in the Hot 100.[10]

In February 1996, the Billboard posted information that singer was putting the finishing touches to her new studio album, I'm Movin' On, slated for its release in May. Judging from the magazine’s earlier preview of several cuts, the Billboard published that Peniston was about to explore more mature jeep-soul fare a la Faith Evans, and that she has never sounded so assured and convincingly soulful.[40] Though, I'm Movin' On with a noticeably slimmed-down Peniston adorning its cover was not released until September, a similarly sleek sound marked its title single delivered to the radio stations on July 17, while hitting music stores one week later.

1996–98: I'm Movin' On and The Best Of album

As a member of the gospel quintet called The Sisters of Glory, which included Thelma Houston, Phoebe Snow, Lois Walden, Albertina Walker, and herself, Peniston also recorded a spiritual album, Good News in Hard Times, that featured two solo traditionals ("How I Got Over" and "Precious Memories") performed by Peniston, four standards with her solo part ("Rough Side of the Mountain", "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands", "I Won't Be Back No More" and "Oh Happy Day"), as well as her chorus vocals on additional nine tracks. Good News in Hard Times (produced by Jennifer Cohen and Lois Walden) was released in August 1995 on Warner Bros, and the album brought Peniston an entry also in the Billboard Top Gospel Albums list, where it reached in October No.#29, remaining in the chart for 6 weeks.[39]

Between releases, Peniston made a jazzy cameo "Don't Forget the Love" with words and music by a Grammy Award-nominated composer, Jeff Lorber, and Eric Benét (also a later Grammy Award nominee) for his album West Side Stories. The title of the Lorber's album was his response to residing the West Side of L.A. (not his adaptation of songs from the Broadway musical or West Side Story film), and after its issue in November 1994, the studio record peaked at No.#5 in the Billboard's list of Top Contemporary Jazz albums.[38]

The Sisters of Glory

I have a lot in me still that people haven't heard. There's a whole other side, there's an R&B side, a jazz side that people haven't heard, and think that they'd be really surprised. But I haven't had a chance to showcase that because people want to hear the house songs[7]

—said by Peniston in 2006

In addition, a remix of "Keep Givin' Me Your Love" was popularized on the original motion picture soundtrack of the Prêt-à-Porter (Ready To Wear) film, and released in the U.S. after a one-year delay, scoring No. 4 in the US Dance charts in March 1995. "Keep Givin' Me Your Love" became Peniston's first song not to enter the Hot 100 chart (No.#101),[10] possibly as the result of appearing as a B-side on her previous release, and sharing its sales with the single "Hit by Love".

At the end of the year Peniston was named the No. 1 Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play Artist,[36] summarizing all her songs released in 1994 ("I'm Not Over You" #9, "Hit by Love" #24, and I'm in the Mood" #44). While A&M was listed as the sixth best dance label in the Billboard Year-End chart, Peniston was also rated as the 5th Top R&B Singles Female Artist (behind Janet Jackson, Toni Braxton, Aaliyah and Mariah Carey).[37]

Along with "Hit by Love" in the charts, A&M issued a rare compilation, Remix Collection, in Japan with nine alternate versions of her songs previously available only on vinyl, which tracked Peniston's music career since the "Keep On Walkin'" release. A similar remixed collection, however, consisted of only two singles ("Finally" and "We Got a Love Thang") was earlier issued in Japan as a remix EP album under the title Finally / We Got a Love Thang: Remix Collection featuring overall eight remixed versions.

"Hit by Love" was to be the third song taken from the album. As with her previous releases, the song (with additional remixes by David Morales) became Peniston's next US Dance hit in a line of her No. 1s, but while on the top of the chart "Hit by Love" stayed for another week, the single stuck at No.# 33 in the UK Top 75,[11] as well as on the bottom positions of the American Hot 100 chart (at No.# 90).[10]

"I'm Not Over You" (written by Steve Hurley, Jamie Principle, and M-Doc) might have missed the highest position of the US Dance chart, but only by about one point (at No. 2),[10] and the single was later classified in the overall Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart as the ninth most successful track of 1994 (leaving "I'm in the Mood" far behind, at #44). However, although the song had sealed the Top 10 of the US R&B chart, it did not succeed in the Hot 100 that much, failing to crack Top 40 (No.# 41).[36] Considering that expectations of A&M Records company must have been bigger than a club play sale of Peniston's singles, "I'm Not Over You" was released in UK only on B-side of the "Hit by Love" release.

Not certain about the second single either, "Keep Givin' Me Your Love" was accepted to become the British follow-up. But the track, remixed by Eddie Gordon's West End production team, had no supporting music video, and after peaking at No. 36 in April in the United Kingdom,[11] an alternative title ("I'm Not Over You") was chosen for the US market as the second cut from the Thought 'Ya Knew album.

On January 25, 1994, the album Thought 'Ya Knew, which was to represent Peniston's musical zenith at that time, arrived on all available formats, including digital compact cassettes. However, as the record promptly entered the music charts, it was soon to be evident Thought 'Ya Knew was not enjoying the high-profile success of her previous set Finally. After its progress had stalled in the Billboard 200 at No. 96,[10] Thought 'Ya Knew climbed to No. 31 in the UK,[11] but the album charted for only two weeks in the UK.

I guess the title tells you where I'm coming from with the new album. It's like I Thought 'Ya Knew I could do it, that I was coming right backatcha, real and honest.[4]

—Peniston stated in her A&M biography

After a certain level of hesitation over the first single, "I'm in the Mood" (originally produced by Soulshock and Karlin) was picked to be the final leader—though as support for "Searchin'", which would be separately delivered on vinyl only to DJs. "I'm in the Mood" did well by itself, and with a video accompanied by a hip-hop remix from M-Doc & Jere M.C. (better known as In Da Soul) the title was on singles reproduced by David Morales for the dance floor. The song spawned Peniston's forth No. 1[10] (dethroning from the top of the US Dance chart Aretha Franklin's "A Deeper Love") and peaked at No. 16 in UK[11] (#32 in the Hot 100[10]).

Within a year, Peniston was back in the studios to record her sophomore release, and the particular challenge for the vocalist was to avoid getting pigeonholed into the dance genre. For that reason, several ballads were arranged to appear on the final set (in the front with "Forever In My Heart", produced by Brian McKnight), of which, however, none was chosen for a single release. This time around, Peniston co-authorized three of thirteen tracks ("Whatever It Is", "Give What I’m Givin" and "Maybe It's The Way",[4] a ballad about her father[8]), and along with Manny Lehman and Damon Jones, who later became Peniston's manager, she was also credited as an executive producer of her scheduled album release, Thought 'Ya Knew. Apart from others, also fellow Ohio-born singer Norma Jean Wright joined the session.[35]

1993–95: Thought 'Ya Knew

By the end of the year, Peniston received several awards for her achievements in the music industry for 1992. Among them, one Billboard Music Award (as Best New Artist – Dance, the second went to the video director Claude Borenzweig), three ASCAP Awards (for Song of The Year, Most Performed Song of The Year, and Pop Songwriter of The Year), another three awards (as Best New Dance Artist, Best Dance Solo Artist, and for Best 12" Dance Record) at the Annual Winter Music Conference, and the BMI Urban Award of Achievement.[13] The album itself was nominated on a Soul Train Music Award '93 in the Best R&B/Soul Album – Female category.[34]

Additional songs taken from album Finally achieved the Top 40 status at least in the hip hop/R&B field. The grieving lyrics of her ballad "Inside That I Cried", co-written by Peniston's then-husband, Malik Byrd (who appeared also in its video), and produced in conjunction with Anita Baker's cohort, Steve Lindsey, peaked at No. 10 in the US R&B (No. 94 in the Hot 100[10] and No.#42 in UK Top 75[11]). The fifth single, a midtempo, "Crazy Love", climbed to No. 31 (No. 97 in the Hot 100[10] and No.#44 in UK[11]).

On October 17, Billboard magazine announced that Peniston was the leading nominee in the Billboard Music Awards, being nominated in four categories: three times in the dance category with "Finally" (Best New Artist, Best Female Artist and Best Director), and one in the R&B/Rap category (Best Female Artist) for her urban hit "Keep On Walkin'".[32] Ultimately the song won two awards, and three of her singles released in 1992 were listed also within the Top 100 songs of the Billboard Year-End chart (at No.#20 with "Finally", at No.#61 with "Keep On Walkin'", and at No.#97 with "We Got a Love Thang"[33]). In the UK, Peniston was listed as the 20th of Top Selling Singles Artists in 1992.

While on tour, "Keep On Walkin'", a hip hop swinging composition, joined the list of Peniston's three consecutively running hits, bringing Peniston in June her third No. 1 in the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart (No.#15 in the Hot 100),[9] and another Top 10 hit in UK.[11] Later in August, that was also her highest outing in the US R&B chart, scoring at No. 3.

12" Choice Mix by David Morales

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With another hit record on the charts, Peniston began a year of touring clubs and small theaters in the USA in support of her album. Her travels started with a series of shows in the Philippines, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy, and after her return to the USA, Peniston continued with such R&B acts as Joe Public, the Cover Girls, R. Kelly and Levert.[4]

"We Got a Love Thang", the second single (co-written by Chantay Savage), with a video clip in heavy rotation on TV music channels, went to No. 1 in the US Dance chart in February (No. 20 in the Hot 100),[10] and in England (where "Finally" skipped to No. 2 eventually[11]) "We Got a Love Thang" peaked at No. 6.[11] Might the only controversial question regarding the title remain who had provided background vocals on the record? While on her album Finally Darnnel Rush was credited, on its single release, the name of Kym Sims (who was a co-writer of "Keep On Walkin'") appeared as one of back-up vocalists actually.[31]

Both, the single and album entered the US Hot 100, as well as the UK Top 75 chart (at No.#5[10] and No.#2 for single,[11] respectively at No.#70[10] and at No.#10 for album release[11]), and ultimately earned Peniston a gold, or silver certification in both countries. By the end of 1992 her debut (in Europe re-released in 1997 with a bonus remix "Finally '97") sold over 540,000 in United States.[30]

After her first song climbed the international charts, Peniston was headed into the studio to record a full-length album. However, she "had two months to pull the whole album together" and "didn’t realize the impact the record was having until it reached the top five". She also described how difficult it was to begin her career at such an extreme pace, but [4] the result was a solidly produced ten track collection titled Finally, issued in January of the following year.

Peniston was 21 years old when her debut single "Finally" was released. The song burst on to the US club scene in the fall of 1991, where became an instant dance anthem peaking, in October,[10] at the top of the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play for two weeks, while achieving a respectful starting position (at No.#29)[11] overseas.

I was sitting in a Chicago pizza parlor in October and I heard over the radio 'Finally by CeCe Peniston'. I just started looking around going 'That's me! That's me!"[5]

—Peniston recalled for EW magazine in 1992. (Almost 20 years later, when asked by Mega 104.3, she actually denied saying it, during her interview broadcast live on April 5, 2011.)[29]
Peniston with Felipe Delgado at Chaton Studios in Phoenix, Arizona, putting final touches to her debut album

1991–92: Finally

Despite an initial label's resistance to sign Peniston to more than a one-off single deal, the “Finally” session resulted in recording her own debut album after the final approval of A&M's Vice President, Mark Mazzetti,.[28]

Besides the Peniston's vocal performance on three tracks in total, of which "I Like It" was released as a single with a moderate success (at #16 in US Dance[25] and #58 in UK Top 75[26] the following January), she was eventually given also a credit for co-writing two of those, "Kickin’ Da Blues" and the title's, "Female Preacher". But the Overweight Pooch’s album flopped on the market, and A&M was the first major label for Delgado himself, who was facing contractual disputes with the record company. After Manny Lehman (a DJ, then A&M Art Director and one of the executive producers of Female Preacher) also noticed the powerful voice of a still back-up vocalist, he offered Delgado a second chance, and commissioned him to produce a track for Peniston herself as a solo artist.[4] Not looking to lose his major deal connections, Delgado called on a hometown friend and music producer too, Rodney K. Jackson (they two met through mutual friends in Arizona), who was brought then to A&M family to help co-produce the Peniston’s single, which was soon to be recognized as “Finally”.[27]

Later on, as it became clear that Peniston was leaping from the Overweight Pooch's album to the top of the charts, rumor had it the Pooch was stewing over Peniston's using Female Preacher as her springboard. Tonya Davis, pregnant at the time of recording her album, swore she harbored no jealousy towards Peniston. "There's no jealousy, because she has a voice. I gave her the chance, but I didn't give her a voice,"[23] the rapper insisted for Phoenix New Times in July 1992, and Peniston, interviewed by the same newspaper in the meantime, reacted by her own words. "I feel like anything's possible and I know one thing. If I wasn't at this spot, I still would be achieving to get to this spot."[23] Ironically enough, Sallard eventually threw in a few back-up vocals for Peniston on a song with a significant title, "You Win, I Win, We Lose", while Peniston, who in return played an agent to get a record deal also for Malaika (whose album Sugar Time scored in 1993 two Top 5 hits on the US Dance chart, including the No.1 single "Gotta Know (Your Name)") mentioned the Pooch's name on her own debut album in addition, leaving Davis a note saying "thanks for letting me be a part of Female Preacher.[24]

Davis, headed in a direction of a "new" Monie Love, was searching for a singer to add vocals to the title track of her album Female Preacher, which was to be released on A&M Records that summer. At a talent show she met a woman named Malaika LeRae Sallard, but when it came time to get Sallard into the studio, the rapper found she'd lost her future label-mate's number. When Delgado, who'd preferred Peniston instead, brought his favorite in to do background parts, the response from everyone was immediate, but did not move the Pooch to invite Peniston back for more vocals – unless she was successful in locating Sallard.[23]

Her music career began in January 1991, when Felipe "DJ Wax Dawg" Delgado, her friend and a record producer based also in Phoenix, asked Peniston to record back-up vocals for Tonya Davis, a black female rapper known after her childhood nickname as Overweight Pooch.[3][4][23]

Peniston performing a back-up vocal on the Overweight Pooch's record

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You know what's so funny is I was always the one that came in and slowed it down. That's what's so ironic about me putting out "Finally", because I was always the R&B person, the balladeer when I came in and did everything. Back then, there was a female rapper [Overweight Pooch] who was on A&M, and I was asked to do some background vocals. I came over, did the background vocals for her and the label heard it. They were like "We really like your flow, why don't you get your own single together?" Well at the time, I was writing poetry. So I took one of the poems, "Finally". I was thinking about dating in college, and how I hadn't found that Mr. Right. We went to the studio, finished it up, sent it off to the label and they loved it. And that's how everything got started. I came up with the melody and the lyrics to "Finally" and then R.K. [Jackson] and Felipe [Delgado], the guys I was working with at the time, put the music to it[7]

—said by Peniston interviewed by 5 Chicago in 2006

1990–91: Female Preacher

Peniston began writing pop lyrics already at school. The words of her international hit "Finally" were purportedly penned during a chemistry class, while thinking about dating in college.[8][22]

[7][3] and Miss Galaxy in 1990.[12][8][7][6][5][4][3] where she got involved in athletics, and entered beauty pageants. She was crowned Miss Black Arizona in 1989Phoenix College). After earning her diploma, she continued to study liberal arts at the [21]

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