In a business filled with here-today-and-gone-tomorrow artists, few have maintained the consistency of Cheryl Pepsii Riley. Cheryl, affectionately called “Pepsii” by her friends, exploded onto the music scene in 1988 with her debut album, Me, Myself, and I. This album, unlike most being released during that time, featured songs filled with positive and encouraging messages. From that album, Cheryl recorded her #1 smash hit “Thanks For My Child.” This song, considered by many women, an anthem of hope and courage, catapulted this Brooklyn, New York, native to national and international acclaim. Her follow-up project, Chapters, produced the single, “How Can You Hurt The One You Love,” which continued in her vein of social consciousness by addressing the issue of domestic violence. In 1992, Cheryl changed record companies and released the album, All That. For this venture as well as the last, Cheryl broadened her artistic involvement by writing and producing most of the songs, including the hit single, “Gimme.”
Caught in the politics of the record industry, Pepsii changed faces and reunited with her first love – Acting. Her first play, “Momma Don’t,” co-starring Rev. Rance Allen, Lynette Hawkins, and The Clark Sisters, proved that she was not to be pigeonholed as a one-dimensional artist. Amazingly, to-date, Pepsii has starred in 14 national touring plays, all the while gaining a broader and more diverse audience base as a singer and an actress. She has toured the country on theater stages with the likes of Kirk Franklin, Glenn Jones, David Peaston, Beverly Todd, Adele Givens, David Hollister, Clifton Powell, and Shemar Moore, with whom Pepsii starred in the romantic comedy, “The Fabric of A Man.” Cheryl has taken her acting even further, making her film debut in 1999 in the “Colorz of Rage,” a celebrated independent film and winner of a 1999 Urban Film Festival Award. This show-stopping performer was featured in the stage plays, “Madea’s Class Reunion,” “Madea Goes To Jail,” “Laugh To Keep From Crying,” “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” , “A Madea Christmas,” and “Madea Gets A Job”, all written by and co-starring Tyler Perry, with the exception of “Laugh To Keep From Crying,” in which Perry chose and cast Pepsii as the lead character and headliner. In addition, her artistry is apparent in the 2005 #1 blockbuster-hit movie and soundtrack, “Diary of A Mad Black Woman,” with her voice on several of the songs in the movie. (Her voice will sound familiar as the character Debra is walking down the church aisle singing.) You will also recognize Pepsii as the singing voice of Taraji Henson in Tyler Perry’s critically acclaimed 2009 smash hit, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” as well as starring in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married”- The Stageplay, and co-starring in “Madea Goes To Jail,” “Madea‘s Class Reunion,“ “Laugh To Keep From Crying”, “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” “A Madea Christmas” and “Madea Gets A Job”. All of these are available now at your local Walmart, Target, and any of your favorite video outlets on DVD and Blu Ray! In 2014, Cheryl played the lead in the Tyler Perry stage play, “Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned!” This Theatrical masterpiece gave Cheryl the opportunity to showcase her massive range as an actress as she wowed audiences across the country. Talk of television and film is definitely in the near and immediate future of this remarkable talent!
Considered by many as the greatest “undiscovered” discovery in the music industry, Cheryl’s fans include such industry notables as Patti Labelle, John Mayer, and Mary J. Blige, to name a few. Those missing her heartfelt and soulful voice were happy when Pepsii released her first solo recording in 14 years, Let Me Be Me: “The most honest recording of my career,” she stated. Allowing no boundaries or limits, Pepsii says this CD encompassed a little funk, a little jazz, a little rock, a little blues, a little gospel, a little love…all filled to capacity with a lot of SOUL! And to anyone listening,, the sincerity of this project is, indeed, quite evident. Cheryl wrote all the lyrics and did all the vocals and vocal arrangements. While all the music was written by Houston native Luke Austin, Pepsii said of the songs, “Luke and I have such a wonderful musical marriage…it just fits. And I know when people listen to this CD, they will hear exactly what I mean.” The first single from what fans and music industry insiders are calling her magnum opus is “Come Over,” a very sultry, smooth and sensual intro into this grown woman’s musical journey. Radio embraced this song and they were excitedly playing it in all formats, which let us know: 1) that they have all missed the melodic soul of Cheryl Pepsii Riley; and 2) that Cheryl Pepsii Riley was indeed back!
Well, After touring the world with that project and continuing to do stage plays, Cheryl has embarked upon the next phase of her journey with some New music, Just released. This new project entitled, “Still Believe” she says is her Absolute Best work to date because she continued to place even more of herself into this music. “The production on this music is above and beyond Anything I’ve ever done musically and I am soooooo very proud of the results”. Everyone has been eagerly awaiting the chance to experience Ms. Riley’s latest opus and it is Now available on Itunes, Amazon, CDBABY.Com and Any of your favorite Digital Outlets!
If Cheryl is not touring the country with her own music or any number of theatrical productions, she can be found recording background vocals for artists, such as Christina Aguilera, Angie Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Glenn Jones, David Hollister, Celine Dion, and Matchbox Twenty. She has been known to be on tour with an array of artists, such as Missy Elliot, Eve, Tweet, Patti Austin, Jessica Simpson, Chico Debarge, and Mary J. Blige. And, if you’re lucky, you may catch her just dropping in to sing at some of the most celebrated clubs in New York City. One of her favorite spots to frequent is The Village Underground, where Cheryl began hosting what she calls the “back-in-the-day, black-velvet-painting, blue-lights-in-da-basement, musician’s and saaannnggers jam,” or what is now simply known as “Black Velvet Mondays.” Here, musicians and singers from all over the world come down, sit in, and create musical, magical moments. This night has become so successful that Cheryl is currently working on The Black Velvet Experience, Which she is looking to establish in other parts of the country, such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta, to name a few. She will then take this “awesome tribute to music” to international markets. In October 2014 Cheryl Pepsii took The Black Velvet Experience to Paris, France! She is ecstatic about this venture due to her pure love of real music, and dedicated, serious musicians and singers. Now, almost 15 years later, #BlackVelvetMondays has found a New Home at Club GROOVE based in NYC in the West Village. Several industry notables have stopped in and sing their praises about this Extraordinary Live Music Experience! Not able to get to these cities and countries for The Black Velvet Experience? That may not be an issue much longer as there are talks on televising this amazing Jam Session! Stay Tuned!
Cheryl says that in addition to promoting and showcasing her new music, she will be writing and producing for other artists on her own newly established label, SodaFace Records. Of these artists, Cheryl says, “They are serious about their craft and definitely have something to say and contribute to society.”
Cheryl plans to complete writing on her one-woman show and will publish a book of poetry as well as her memoirs entitled, “A Journey Into This Woman’s Song.” This, no doubt, will include the fact that she was a part of the main stage house band for The 2008 Democratic Convention. They were later requested by President Barack Obama to be the main stage house band for The Official Inaugural Ball!
And as if she doesn’t have enough on her plate, Cheryl vocal coaches many unsigned and signed artists and has worked as a Vocal Coach at The Vocal Workout School in NYC.
Ms Riley feels this is yet another way for her to pay it forward and give back. It is quite apparent Cheryl Pepsii believes in and supports investing her time, energy and Gift to the Future!
What else is in store from this powerhouse? Did we mention, her line of greeting cards and the writing of her own stage play? Yes! Cheryl also plans to work in television and film. “I’m into telling stories,” intones Pepsii. “I want to bring like experiences to each project, whatever it is, to reach out and affect people, heal people, and provide some kind of reality check. Times may change, but if you go with what’s real, it will stand the test of time. That’s what I want…LONGEVITY!”
With that in mind, the producers of TV ONE’s Most Popular Series to date , “UNSUNG”, sought after Cheryl to tell Her Story and Celebrate Her Journey in her Recording and Acting Career and Personal Triumphs. It is Scheduled to premier this summer, Airing, Sunday, July 1st, 2018 !
You Definitely won’t want to miss this!
Also, coming up, she has recorded with songwriter James Day and is featured on the breakout single “Hurricane” from his new release. Look out for that!
Pepsii very humbly credits her success to her wonderfully supportive family and friends, and God’s great grace and mercy. For it is not about anything she herself has done, but ALL about what He has done and continues to do with her, for her, and through her. “I believe that being true to me, what my life experiences are and those around me, and sharing that through song, rhyme, or just being an ear or a smile on a difficult day for someone. I believe I am doing what God wants me to do, therefore living my purpose. And, isn’t that what it’s all about at the end of the day? Well, it is to me, and if my music helps someone, anyone, then I am right where I’m supposed to be, doing my gig as a positive participant in, and of, the human race! It is not just about recording music, it is about being who and whose I am, and making a difference in the world!” On her Let Me Be Me CD, Cheryl Pepsii Riley has a song that says she is NOT like every other woman. And, indeed, she is not. She is an artist, a woman, an entrepreneur, an inspiration, and a real blessing! On her Still Believe CD Ms Pepsii has a song which is a tribute to All that she does called “Trust Your Gift”! Is she doing this? Yes and even more she is encouraging the world to do the same. As her mantra for all participating in the Black Velvet Experience, She motivates Everyone to do the same and while doing that I know her words of inspiration and motivation will help all within the sound of her voice and the embrace of her heart and loving energy, to STILL BELIEVE!