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FEATURE ARTICLE

 
CHERI DENNIS: In and Out of Love

 

By Christian Cipollini

 

There’s no denying that Diddy’s imprint is fortified with a small, yet very select roster of talent. Cleveland native Cheri Dennis has been a part of the elite New York label for quite some time now.  Instead of debuting her own project, she has graced fellow artists’ projects with her sultry voice. Notwithstanding her vocal accomplishments, the music business can be a rough place to maneuver even when you’re in with the right people. That situation has finally changed as she drops In and Out of Love – her debut release on Bad Boy Entertainment.

 

Just by reading the title alone, it’s no secret that this album tackles the subject of love – the good, bad and ugly of relationships.

 

Standouts include slow jam “Ooh La La” which became the theme song for MTV’s Making the Band 3  almost two years before her album was released – a fact that personifies her industry wait.  Meanwhile the hip-hop based “Portrait of Love” (featuring Yung Joc and Gorilla Zoe) hit the airwaves as the first single. Cheri’s strongest inclusion, “Remind You”, begins with basic drums and distant piano. Upbeat and solid, this track is reminiscent of the sound form the 90’s swing resurgence. Here her vocals are exceptional and the beat is one to make you move. “Finally Made It” – thoroughly atmospheric of golden era jazz clubs - says it all for a young Midwestern gal who made it into the big time with Diddy’s camp.

 

Musically, while the tracks certainly range in styles and tempo, there is nothing too eye catching or extreme. With a handful of exceptions, many of the song’s arrangements - and in some cases the lyrical flows - are experiments in “minimalism.” Sometimes that back-to-basics, non-excessive formula can work wonders for diversity, but it’s not exactly a characteristic that will have her name remembered in such a revolving door industry. 

 

Though not without some flaws, In and Out of Love puts Dennis in good position for future endeavors. Her gospel-bred, soul-inspired voice is both sexy and soothing, able to achieve precision when necessary.

 

In and Out of Love should prove Cheri Dennis’ presence is not a fluke, nor reserved only for accent work on other artist’s projects. 

 



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