The Grown Ass 90s Pop Diva Who Time Forgot

by:   |   Jul 22 2014

Have you seen Kiesza’s “Hideaway” video? Watch it if you haven’t, and learn the choreography so we can dance together in the streets of NYC. If only we all looked so good in acid wash mom jeans.

Kiesza’s red hair, redder lipstick and ’90s house sound made me think one thing right off the bat: “She’s like a Cathy Dennis for our time.” When I said as much to my coworkers (I work for a Top 40-oriented music network), I soon realized Cathy Dennis isn’t half as iconic as she should be. Within minutes I was on Tumblr—home to thousands of blogs about ’90s culture, mostly made by people who were born in the ’90s—and there wasn’t a single blog called “FuckYeahCathyDennis”!

I did find this awesome GIF though.  Cathy never met a mock turtleneck she didn’t like.

1991 was a banner year for fine-ass ginger vocalists in high-neck catsuits. Lady Miss Kier was riding high on the success of Deee-Lite’s 1990 World Clique debut and Cathy’s Move to This scored three Billboard Top 100 hits: “Just Another Dream,” “Too Many Walls” and her most well-known jam, “Touch Me (All Night Long).”  I had just entered junior high when the “Touch Me” video came out, and I was obsessed. As a chubby redhead in my formative years, my flame-haired role models were few. There was Pippi Longstocking, Anne of Green Gables, Miss Yvonne from Pee Wee’s Playhouse and…Pebbles from The Flintstones. All amazing in their own ways, but not cool in the way I ached to be in my tween years. Cathy Dennis was.

She also performed at the prom on Beverly Hills 90210, which is the most 1993 thing that ever happened.

Cathy’s biggest hit is a cover of a 1984 disco song, which is sort of ironic since she’s a pretty legendary songwriter. Britney Spears’ “Toxic”? Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”? “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry?? Cathy Dennis co-wrote them all. She’s also written for Christina Aguilera, Adam Lambert, Janet Jackson, K-pop group f(x), and TWO Spice Girls (of the sporty and baby variety).

Here’s Cathy singing a demo of “Toxic” to show Britney how it was supposed to sound.

It was originally meant for Kylie, but she passed.

Cathy’s legacy lives on in the songs she writes—including Heidi Montag’s but hey, a lady’s gotta pay the bills—and today’s electronic artists haven’t forgotten how crucial she is. Hear the sample in this Giraffage track?

Recognize the realness. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some Lycra bodysuits to try on.

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Samantha Vincenty

Samantha Vincenty

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  • Pedro Mendonça

    I love Cathy Dennis! She was our diva during the acid and house scene ! C’mon and get my love was a big hit in Portugal. And this “Toxic”….bye bye Britney! Thank you for this words you wrote 🙂