Meet the Rising R&B Artist
Summer Dennis, an up-and-coming R&B artist, is reviving the 90’s vibe in her music. Hailing from Maryland, she aims to provide a refreshing escape to her audience from the challenges and struggles that arise from love. Like many women, Summer has faced her fair share of unfulfilling relationships. Her music is an ode to female empowerment, displaying strength, self-reliance and femininity.
Summer Dennis grew up in a Christian household and was introduced to music through her mother and father, beginning her musical journey in the church. She has since found her niche in the R&B genre and made a splash with her breakout single “Everything” that reached 30th on the Billboard charts. Summer is now preparing to dominate the music scene in 2023.
Meet and Get To Know Summer Dennis
Kulture Vulturez: Looking back, where do you think your love for music came from?
Summer Dennis: I used to go to praise team rehearsal with my mom. She used to sing at church and lead the praise team, while my dad was a sound engineer at the church. So, I just ended up being around music because of them. Then as I got older, they had me in a lot of musical lessons. Plus there was always music playing in the house, so that’s pretty much where that came from.
Kulture Vulturez: What do you feel led you to start your career and to eventually become an artist?
Summer Dennis: When you sing at church you get really used to being on stage. Then people start noticing that I sing and ask, can you sing at their event? Can I sing at this thing? I want you to sing when my mom wakes up for her surgery. Now everybody’s asking me to sing, and I’m like, well, somebody has to pay for this.
I suddenly realized this is a craft and a way to earn money, to earn a livelihood. It just made the most sense after you take a bunch of lessons and you do all the little productions when you’re growing up, it’s just the natural next step. When I went to college, I used to open up for all of the artists that came for concerts, pep rallies, or whatever. After that, when I got home to the DMV, I just really wanted to record my own music. I just started finding ways to get in the studio and record music. I learned how to release music.
Summer Dennis – Lose Myself
Kulture Vulturez: As far as artist development, what can you credit as your greatest inspiration to becoming the artist you are today?
Summer Dennis: As far as my style and my sound, my dad is Jamaican and my mom is Trini, so we’re Caribbean. I heard a lot of reggae, and I heard a lot of soca music in the house. Then you have gospel music since we’re church family. Also, my dad and my mom really listened to a lot of Earth, Wind and Fire, all the funk bands, and a lot of funk music.
So, I was into that because of him. Then my mom was really into Natalie Cole and Prince. I just heard a lot of jazz music, funk music, gospel music, and reggae. So, I think when you listen to my songs, you can kind of hear a lot of different genres.
Kulture Vulturez: How do you feel about the current state of R&B right now?
Summer Dennis: I think with Auto-Tune it was something that became really easy to do even in your house. So, somebody who’s not necessarily skilled can have a machine that’s easily accessible and now they’re singing a song. I think for a while we had a lot of that going on, and I think people really liked that for a second.
I do think now that the pandemic has passed and everybody wants to go outside and go to festivals, I think people want to hear real singing. I think there’s more of a demand for real music since we’re not locked up in the house anymore. So, I am optimistic about where R&B music is going.
I do feel everything’s kind of hip hop right now. But as the further we get away from the pandemic and the more live music we can actually participate in and listen to, I just I think R&B is growing again. I think people always love artist singing and everybody loves R&B. So I think it’s on the rise. I would say.
Summer Dennis – Everything
Kulture Vulturez: Where do you see yourself fitting in today’s R&B music scene?
Summer Dennis: Today’s R&B is very influenced by hip hop, and also by pop. It’s a genre that anybody can participate in. If you have some production you can just do something on top of it. With how the times are changing, we can go outside again. I think that people will be using those modern sounds. I think they’ll be using hip hop sounds. When Beyonce dropped that last album, I think she put house music on the map.
Being somebody who is international, and having family out of the country, I personally really enjoy house music. It’s a genre that’s really popular outside of the state. I think we’re going to just hear a lot of different things, different musical explorations over the years as we continue to move forward and away from the pandemic moment. So it’s going to be interesting to see us continue to emerge out of our solitude.
Kulture Vulturez: So, your recent single, “Everything,” had charted, how did that make you feel?
Summer Dennis: When that song was released last year there still wasn’t a lot of movement. I don’t know if you remember hearing about the festivals last year, but everybody was like Coachella was so bad because everybody’s trying to get back into the swing of being outside. It was hard to do a live show because people haven’t touched their instruments or played with each other in two years.
I was just kind of in the house when my song started to get recognized. I got to see people in different states across the country enjoying my music. I got my radio reports and I would see they’re playing my song at lunchtime in Buffalo, or they’re playing my song at 5 p.m. in Memphis, and stuff like that. It’s just really cool to know.
But also typically when that happens, you have a tour or you’ve got your shows coming up and we were still kind of like in quarantine mode. So I was in the house kind of freaking out by myself. I’m really excited that it happened. I’m hoping that even though it was kind of quiet at the time, that it’ll give me that credibility, because that’s one thing I’ve been chasing my entire career is just to have that recognition. It’s beyond a song going viral. There was a point where I had charted above several mainstream artists on there, and that was crazy to me. So I keep that as an achievement. I keep it as motivation. Now I’m just hoping that with my next release, we can do the same. Maybe even better.
Summer Dennis – Ain’t Nothing New
Kulture Vulturez: Can you break down your latest song, “Ain’t Nothing New?”
Summer Dennis: My latest song, “Ain’t Nothing New,” basically the song is about a realistic point of view about relationships. I think this is something that people aren’t singing about as often. Just riding the wave of a bad relationship and go crying to our friends and we’re like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t stand him.’ A few days later, see you in public with him and you’re like, ‘Yeah, I know. Ain’t nothing new. I’m still with him.’
The song is basically talking about that time that we all go through a time when we know the relationship isn’t what’s best for us, but we’re still going to stick around, whether it’s because of loyalty or whether you just really like that person, regardless of anything, you’re just sticking through it. It’s kind of like an anti-love song. It’s like a realistic, anti-love song.
Kulture Vulturez: You also have an upcoming album, can you talk about that?
Summer Dennis: Yes, my album is going to be dropping in June. Going to be called Mr. Wonderful is Dead. Basically, every song on there is a realistic story about a woman’s perspective, about relationships, and just different stories about women’s experience in a relationship that are realistic and not necessarily centered around I found my Prince charming, or my relationship is so perfect. I wanted to shine a light on topics that we don’t typically hear singers singing about.
I think right now, with the rap movement, which I absolutely love, we’ve got all the [women rappers] coming up and we hear a lot of songs about how I’m running stuff now, I’m in charge of this relationship, or I’m not paying attention to men. I don’t want to go that hardcore with it.
I still want to tell realistic relationship stories. I have, without it being a slow, a sad song that you cry too. I’ve got mid-tempo and up tempo songs that women can play in the car and just kind of chill to. We’re going to discuss this situation where we’re not crying about it and we’re not necessarily going to shoot up somebody’s car either.
Kulture Vulturez: How is this upcoming project going to be different from your previous releases?
Summer Dennis: I would say my previous projects were more pop and rock leaning, and this time we used a lot more hip hop production. My partner that I write my songs with, Bill Moore, and I have a funk band, so we did a lot of live sounding when we wrote our songs and for the production. We actually used a lot of live instruments which people don’t use, but we were really excited.
I think the difference between my previous albums and this album, I think a lot more people will relate to what they’re hearing as far as the topic and the production. I’m really excited to just see how people like it, and what they’re thinking. It’s a big moment for singers. So, I’m hoping to figure out kind of what everybody wants to hear these days. It’s different than it used to be. I’m hoping they’ll hear it and be excited to hear more music that’s similar to that and more of my singing voice, too.