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It's been well over half a decade since Cheri Dennis joined the Bad Boy family. She's paid her dues, waited patiently and it's finally her time - the day that her debut album, "In and Out of Love" is released. I interviewed Cheri on the eve of this long anticipated moment, covering a range of topics - from her album and how she got to Bad Boy to her relationship with label mate LOS and the video for "Portrait of Love". And, of course, I asked her some of your questions.

Harold asked: How did you get signed to Bad Boy?

I'm signed to Jimmy Cozier who has Cozi Music and a friend of his worked at Bad Boy at the time and invited Puffy to a party and I sat down next to Puff and I sang over the music that was playing and that's kinda how I got my deal.

Do you remember what you sang?

No, I was just ad libbing over music that was playing and I can't even remember what song was playing. I just kinda was freestyling and I guess he liked what he heard and that's why that happened.

myghettopoplife asked: When did you officially sign?

I think it was 2000.

Theo asked: Does your album have a particular concept or theme?

Well, it's called "In and Out of Love". We didn't go into it having that concept, but I think that after listening through all the songs that we had, I felt like that was the overall theme that kept coming up was just being... you know, certain records were really, really about being in love, you know with strong relationships when they're really good and then a lot of them were about being out of love or being on your way out of love when things are just to the point where they can't be fixed. The concept kind of came on it's own. We didn't go into it with that whole concept.

Theo asked: What are your favorite songs from the album and why?

There's a record called "Ooh Ooh Ooh" and I just like that song because it really showcases the fact that I can sing and it also really showcases the range that I can sing in. I like "Pretend" 'cause it's just a really good record, it makes me feel good when I hear it. You know, I don't really have a favorite record, to be honest with you. It's like my mood - it changes every day. On Tuesday, my favorite record could be "I Love You" and then, on Wednesday, it could be something else. It depends on my mood, it's kind of like a soundtrack.

The album features material that was recorded quite a while ago. What do you think is the song that was recorded the earliest as well as the song that was recorded last?

"Droppin' Out of Love" was one of the songs recorded earlier and "Ooh Ooh Ooh" was one of the songs recorded rather recently.

In earlier Bad Boy released materials, including the bio currently on your MySpace, there are a couple of tracks cited that don't appear to have made the album. One was produced by Diddy, called "Matrix" and another was a "Sky's the Limit" remake produced by Harve Pierre. Why didn't they make it and do you think they'll be released at some point?

"Sky's the Limit" actually is on the album. It's called "Droppin' Out of Love". That's the one record that I just told you was one of the earlier records that we recorded. They just changed the name.

And "Matrix" didn't turn up anywhere on there, right?


BiggieB1491 asked: What do you think about the album being digitally released exclusively, months before the physical release?

I think that it's dope. I think that the fact that iTunes is supporting me and it's a worldwide release, I think it definitely gives me a whole different audience that I probably would never had access to in the beginning of dropping this album. I think that, at some point, I would like to think that the whole world would know who I was, but that's a progression thing. So, you know, just the fact that people can actually see it and get it on iTunes, I think the exposure itself is really good for me. So, I feel good about it. And I'm flattered that they would even be interested in doing something like this with my project.

Do you know if the physical release will have anything different from the digital release?

It will definitely have something different than the digital release.

Any suggestions as to what that could be?

No, you'll just have to be surprised. Can't give everything away.

free and Theo asked: Have you recorded any guest spots on upcoming projects for other artists?

No, not at this point. It's been so crazy just dealing with my own project, but I'm sure in the future those things will happen.

I interviewed Bad Boy rapper LOS earlier this year and he told me that you're like a sister to him. How did that relationship come to pass?

Well, just once they started coming - Da Bloc, the company he's signed to, independent label - they were just hanging around the studio recording and, I guess, me coming in and out and being a Bad Boy artist, it just was a natural thing that happened, a friendship. And then once we really become friends, I saw how talented he was and I think they saw how talented I was and then we just started to work on a musical level. And out of that relationship, we just became good friends. He's like my little brother.

I saw that you lended your vocals to "Pray" off of Jay-Z's new album, "American Gangster". How did that come together?

Once again, right place, right time. You know, I'm in and out of Daddy's House a lot, so they were recording the record and I walked in and I think I was doing something else and they just asked me to be a part of the record. And, I mean, Jay-Z - why not, you know?

How did you get in touch with Jimmy Cozier?

I was gonna be in a singing group with two other girls, it was like an alternative hip hop group. And he was friends with one of the girls and came through, I think he was on tour - this was before he had a deal - he was singing backgrounds for another artist. Heard me sing and took a liking to my talent. He was starting a company and I was looking for a deal and the thing with the girls didn't work out, so that's kind of how that happened. Music brought us together.

You mentioned the two other girls in that group - have they gone onto any kind of musical career or have they just kind of dropped out of it?

No, no. I see one of them from time to time, but I don't really think that they're doing music.

What was the name of the group?

We actually didn't even have a name for the group. They were already formed and I came into the group and we did a whole artist development thing, so we hadn't even come up with a name for the group.

I noticed in the credits to "Pray", it said that you appeared courtesy of Cozi Music/Bad Boy. What does that mean exactly? Was your deal with Bad Boy altered in some way?

No, it wasn't altered in any way. Sometimes when you have business relationships with people, sometimes they go their way, you go your way, but we came back together, so that's pretty much what that was about. I've always been signed to Jimmy.

I watched the MySpace launch of Unforgivable Women that you co-hosted and it looked like you had a lot of fun.

I did, actually. I had a really good time.

Whose idea was it for you to host?

I believe it was Puff's.

Just to kind of get you put there - get you some face time?

Yep, yep.

What's the setting for the video to "Portrait of Love"?

It's very grown and sexy because I think that the song has a very retro feel to it so it was really sophisticated like high end clothes. It was a very sexy vibe. We tried to play into the whole portrait of love. But, it's a very upscale, sexy vibe. But, that's not the whole vibe of the album, that's just that one particular record.