BRANDON — These days, CeCe Peniston's travel schedule is pretty hectic.
In the last month, she's criss-crossed the country performing almost back-to-back shows in Big Bear Lake, Calif., Chicago, Detroit, and Cancun, Mex.
After a four-day break, her next stop is this Sunday (Sept. 3) in Brandon where she'll belt out hits Finally, Keep on Walking and We Got a Love Thang for a one-night show at Hamburger Mary's. Then it's on to another city, another show.
For Peniston, it's reminiscent of the days when she hit the music scene 25 years ago with her debut album "Finally."
"I was a little kid, like 20-years-old," she said in a recent telephone interview from her Phoenix, Ariz., home. "The only place I'd ever been was Disneyland and people were like 'you're going to be a star!'"
The Dayton, Ohio, native and former beauty queen grew up singing gospel music in the church choir. She got her big break when friend and Phoenix based record producer, Felipe "DJ Wax Dawg" Delgado, asked her to record back-up vocals on a woman rapper's record for a major label.
After getting her foot in the door, Peniston took the opportunity to snag her own record deal and the single Finally was released in the fall of 1991.
The instant fame and notoriety was overwhelming.
"It's like all of a sudden you're used to singing cover songs and then you're walking down the street and people are screaming 'CeCe' and singing your song," she said.
Peniston is celebrating the silver anniversary of the album Finally with a re-release of the gold record featuring mixes of the 1990s hit that topped Billboard's dance charts.
The new music will be available in January, she said.
"We didn't want to rush," she said. "We wanted to do all the things you need to do to make sure everything is in place."
Also in the works is a new single, Werq, which Peniston said she penned in honor of a special segment of her fan base.
"It's just for my LGBTQ community, for my drag queens that be turning the party out," she said. "It's something like a dedication."
A longtime fixture at Gay Pride events throughout the country, Peniston said she holds her LGBTQ fans in high regard.
"They chose me and when they chose me, I said, 'Okay,'" she said. "When I first got into music … the gay community just showed me love."
Peniston said her gay fans — whom she affectionately calls "girlfriends" — help keep her on her toes.
"They'll be like 'she was fly but her shoes were off,' " she said. "But I love it because it keeps you on point."
At her show Sunday, Peniston said fans – "girlfriends" and others alike – won't be disappointed.
"I'll make sure I give them some old, some new," she said. "I will bring the rhinestone mic and the rhinestone outfit."
Hamburger Mary's Jeremie Cruz said the restaurant plans to bring more well-known music acts to its Brandon location. Last month, former teen pop star Aaron Carter performed at the restaurant and Cruz said the restaurant also has featured several Latin stars.
Contact Kenya Woodard at [email protected]