CeCe Peniston on 25th Anniversary of ‘Finally’

Cece Peniston

Finally it has happened right in front of our faces, the hit dance single “Finally” turns 25 years old this year!

Twenty-five years ago, CeCe Peniston released her debut album Finally selling over 3 million copies worldwide to date. The project’s signature single, “Finally,” quickly became one of the biggest dance singles of the 1990s.

JET caught up with CeCe Peniston to discuss the single’s anniversary and the lessons she’s learned over the years.

JET: When Finally hit its 20th anniversary you released a new version of the song, now that it’s 25 years old, how are you commemorating this milestone?

CeCe Peniston: There’s a couple of things that I’m doing. I’m working on taking the video from before and doing a side by side thing; where I’m stepping through the old picture wearing the same outfit. I actually put the outfit back on this year. We’re doing that along with some photo shoots of me in the outfit, and with me in the hat with the little flower.

As for the song, I’m just doing it as it was 25 years ago along with a couple of remixes. We are trying to do a remix album with different DJ’s doing their version of Finally mixed with the original version as well.

JET: How would you say that you have progressed as an artist over the past 25 years?

Peniston: Well then I was 21 and I’m 47 now, so I’m definitely not a child anymore; but I can be child-like sometimes. That’s because I try to keep the kid in me. I always try to keep that because I feel like that’s what keeps you young spirited in the music. I have learned a lot of good lessons; actually both good and bad. Even the bad lessons have helped me to become greater and you realize you don’t want to go down that road again. One thing I can say is that you know for singers, we sing really well in one of two ways; one when you’re really in love, and two when you’re really in pain. There’s really no in-between, at least not for me. So I feel that’s really another way that I’ve grown. I’m also better at my business, I’m better at my branding because I know who I am and I’ve been on a constant journey. Even vocally, I feel like I’ve gotten stronger.

JET: You mentioned that you learned both good and bad lessons. Can you elaborate on a couple of those?

Peniston: This is a good lesson for all the artists out there, don’t let anyone continue to put you in a box of who they think you should be, instead be who you are. It’s always better when it’s talent in raw form. Another lesson is sign your own checks. Something might come up missing if you aren’t on top of your business, which is what happened to me. Always be a blessing to somebody else, I’ve done it. Reach back and be a blessing for someone like a young child that may have a dream and bring them forward with you.

JET: You recently held a master class at the Stax Museum in Memphis for children, is that part of your efforts to reach back and help others?

Peniston: Absolutely. I have a foundation called LOTS, which is Lifting Others To Succeed. I believe in speaking your greatness into the world. We give away instruments to kids whose parents may not be able to afford it. So at the Stax Museum, Paris Toon from Mother’s Favorite Child and I taught a master class. It was so nice to see how music is touching another generation’s hearts.

JET: You have a new single out called Sick that’s a departure from the dance music we are used to hearing. Talk a little about that.

Peniston: I feel like I touched a little bit when people heard “Inside That I Cried,” which is a ballad. Lots of people have heard “Finally” and “Keep on Walking” but I really wanted to touch on the other side of CeCe and not just the blues side of me, but the live music side. It’s a live music track. People need to hear that right now. Today we’ve gotten so far away from actual vocals and we need to create music like we did before, that’s the key. I wanted to do some of that, now I’ll also still do some of my dance music as well, but I just wanted to see how people are feeling because I don’t want to be in a box, I can do this and that. The funny thing about the song is I actually had a conversation with Paris when we went into the studio to do the song. We were talking about life and loss and how it makes you sick and terrified. So we went off of those feelings and so the pain that you hear in that song is everything that is in me.

JET: Here we are marking 25 years of your hit song, but where do you see yourself in the next 25 years?

Peniston: Still doing music; I absolutely love it. Over the next 25 years, as long as I am still in love with music, I will always do it. I have to be in love with it, I don’t want to be on stage just going through the motions. I will be making changes to the world and continuing on my journey, not just for music but for myself and just continuing to grow. I’ll just have to see what else God has, because you know sometimes I’ll have all these plans that I speak out into the world and sometimes God has something greater in store for me.

Keep up with CeCe on Twitter at @CeCe_Peniston and check out her website.