New York – When Cheryl Pepsii Riley released “Thanks for My Child” in the late ’80’s she solidified her voice in our hearts forever. The passion behind the lyrics touched such a chord that the song became not only a number one single, but an anthem for women that still vibrates within our spirits to this day. We recognized the Brooklyn, New York native as an angelic songbird with staying power. Singer, songwriter and producer, Cheryl Pepsii Riley proved us correct.
Today her voice is still very much a part of our musical landscape. Her melodious magic is evidenced in Tyler Perry’s many blockbuster plays and movie soundtracks, her independent CD releases, and every Monday night even, at the Village Underground in New York where for four years now, she has hosted one of the city’s hottest indie artists jam sessions! Cheryl Pepsii Riley is a contender. The music business may have changed, but she has evolved with it!
Cheryl has maintained and grown her fan base over the years by broadening her realm and acting in numerous popular gospel plays. Audiences may recall her first play, “Momma Don’t,” co-starring Rev. Rance Allen, Lynette Hawkins and the Clark Sisters. To date, she has over 13 national touring plays to her credit, including several with the award-winning king of the genre, Tyler Perry.
Cheryl has also provided vocals on several of Tyler Perry’s film soundtracks. In fact, it was Cheryl’s voice that rocked the house as Tariji P. Henson lip-synced her dramatic club scenes in Perry’s film “I Can Do Bad All By Myself.” And in the recent DVD release of Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Big Happy Family” Cheryl takes the stage as Joyce endearing audiences with her multi-octave range. Riley’s history with Perry spans multiple DVD stage play releases including “Why Did I Get Married,” “Madea Goes to Jail,” and “Madea’s Class Reunion.”
“Let Me Be Me” Riley’s latest CD is a seductive serving of originals that ride the terrain of jazzy funk, bluesy rock and gospel tinged R&B. Soon to be re-released, the project is infused with heart-felt honesty and tenderness as Cheryl delves deep into the space of vulnerable yet strong feminine compassion. Sultry, smooth and sensual, “Let Me Be Me” is a grown woman’s musical journey. From the melodious opener, “Thanks,” to the searing “No, But I Want To So Bad,” to the bold and funk laded, “Damn!” the revealing “Miss U,” and the inspirational “Call On Him,” Cheryl continues to bare a soul that resonates layers of raw sensitivity.
New Yorker’s get to experience the creativity of Cheryl Pepsii Riley first hand every Monday night at the Village Underground where she hosts her “Back in the Day, Black Velvet Painting, Blue Lights in da Basement, Musicians and Singers Jam” night! More simply known as “Black Velvet Mondays,” the showcase is celebrating four years as musicians from around the world have dropped in to grace the stage. The showcase streams live at http://www.TheVillageUnderground.com and bridges the gap between the old school and new school as artists and musicians come to perform, network and inspire.
“‘Black Velvet Mondays’ is my special baby,” reveals Riley. “The energy every Monday is amazing. We are a special haven for artist creativity and our four years is a testimony to the appreciation. God has truly blessed me with this gift of song and it is with great joy that I get to give back to others. I envisioned ‘Black Velvet Mondays’ as my way of giving back to the youth and presenting them an opportunity to grow, shed, learn and get an education about this business. And as a platform, our Monday nights keeps growing and growing! With my touring, recording and the weekly night sessions, I am just blessed to have so many artistic avenues for expression.”
When not on the road touring with Tyler Perry, Cheryl Pepsii Riley tours and performs the nightclub circuit. She will be at The Blue Note in New York with independent jazz guitarist, Abdul Zuhri on March 18 and in Washington, DC at Blues Alley on June 30th with her band, Hot Chocolate. The woman who sang “Thanks for My Child” also busies herself with “The Young Women’s Leadership School” a school program providing mentorship for young women.