Finally, we’re in the mood, we’ve got a love thang for CeCe Peniston, but where is she now?
by Christopher Smith
Cecilia Veronica Peniston (born 1969) is a former beauty queen who crossed over the the clubs and singles charts around the world in the 1990’s with her call-to-the-floor anthems. Over a period of five years, she achieved five US dance No.1’s and top ten hits all over the world as well as a Gold certified debut album in the US.
Her story begins when she entered a beauty contest and was crowed Miss Black Arizona in 1989. She went on to win Miss Galaxy the following year, but Cecilia had always taken an interest in music and had been songwriting all through high school. She started as a backing singer for US singer/rapper Tonya Davis in early 1991, but after some contractual difficulties and disagreements with Davis, Peniston signed to A&M Records and began recording. Whilst at school, apparently in a chemistry lesson, she had written a song called “Finally”, which she demoed to A&M and they immediately saw potential in the song. Working with producer Rodney Jackson, they fashioned a hip and trendy dance anthem that quickly found a following when it was released in September 1991. It shot to the top of the US Dance chart and reach No.5 on the singles chart. It went on release to he rest of the world in early 1992 and reached the top ten in fourteen countries including the UK where it peaked at No.2.
She released her debut album, also called “Finally”, in early 1992, reaching No.70 in the US and No.10 in the UK, selling over 500,000 copies Stateside and three million copies globally to date. She released “We Got A Love Thang” soon after, remixed and produced by the legendary Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, which also topped the US Dance chart and made No.20 on the singles chart, No.6 in the UK and again, top ten across Europe and the Far East.
“Keep On Walkin'” was the third single in April 1992 and continued the success of its two predecessors by topping the US dance chart and making No.15 on the singles chart and No.10 in the UK – her third consecutive top ten hit there! Two further singles would be lifted from the album “Inside That I Cried” and “Crazy Love” during 1992, both of which charted outside the US top 75 and UK top 40 respectively.
CeCe returned in 1994 with her second album “Thought’Ya Knew” which was preceded by the single “I’m In The Mood” in January that would return her to the top of the US Dance chart after an absence of two years. It reached No.32 on the singles chart and No.16 in the UK. “Thought’Ya Knew” was released the following month and made No.96 Stateside and No.31 in the UK.
Further singles included “Hit By Love” which became her fifth US Dance chart No.1 (No.90 on singles chart, UK No.33), “Keep Giving Me Your Love” (Dance chart No.4, UK No.36) and “I’m Not Over You”, only released in the US and reaching No.2 on the Dance chart and No.41 on the singles chart.
She released her third album “I’m Movin’ On” in 1996 along with the title track as the first single, but sadly both failed to chart on either side of the Atlantic, as did a second single “Before I Lay”. She made a brief return to the UK singles chart in 1998 with the song “Somebody Else’s Guy” (No.13), which was taken from a “Best Of” collection released in March.
“I’m Movin’ On” remains CeCe’s last studio album released. She left A&M in 1998, however, she has continued to record and in recent years has released tracks digitally. She returned to the US Dance chart in 2000 with “Lifetime To Love” which made No.2. From 2001 she released collaborations with Saison on “Reminicin'”, “For My Baby” with Full Flava in 2003, “Deeper Love” with David Longoria in 2005 and “You Are The Universe”, again with Full Flava in 2006.
A new version of “Finally” was released in 2011, the same year she released “Stoopid”. In 2012 she released “Celebrate” and in 2013 she returned to collaborations, this time with Richard Beynon on “All My Love”, Fast Eddie on “Get To Steppin'” and with James Doman on “Let’s Go All Night”. She hooked up with DJ and producer Junior Sanchez for the song “Without You” in 2014 and Paul Oakenfold (who had remixed “Finally” in 2001) for the track “The DJ Made Me Stay” in 2015.
Away from music, she founded the the CeCe Peniston Youth Foundation in 1997 to raise money for women and children in need, hunger and those affected or stricken with HIV/AIDS. She was briefly married to Malik Byrd, who co-wrote “Inside That I Cried”. She married a real estate profession in 2003, but the couple divorced in 2011. She has recently become engaged to a personal trainer.
Don’t have a music streaming service yet? Try one of these:
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive commission on any purchases.