Tonight is homecoming night for Love Dominique, but a homecoming in the non-traditional sense.
She's a Missouri City girl born Dominique Henry, the kind who dreamed of big lights and stardom after hearing Brandy records in 5th grade and pestering her mom every single chance she got before, becoming an even bigger Tina Turner fan. She's the Willowridge graduate who stayed close to home and only took a leap of faith to focus on her music solely this year.
She's the woman who thanks to a deal with Altavoz Distribution will be able to release her self-titled debut album, Love Dominique understands that staying completely independent is harder work than running to a label to be coddled.
"It's huge," she says, rocking on a black couch inside a Southeast-side office near Almeda. "It's teaching me more of the business that I didn't know but it's showing me that you have to be everywhere and seem like you were just in one place. Reason why I chose them is because, you're the label, and you're the one out there pushing the record.
"It's scary," she admits with a bit of hesitance, before her voice runs back up to a nod. "But it's what I want. I'm nervous, but I'm ready."
There's a side to Dominique that manages to mix her sultry, come-hither eyes and sex appeal with the girl-next-door mentality. She readily admits to being obsessed with Tina Turner to the point where her support team has to force her to not cover "Private Dancer," how she absolutely loves Las Vegas and Los Angeles (musically) and how she remains starstruck over one other person.
"When we were out in Los Angeles for the BET Awards...it was Floyd Mayweather," she admits. An avid boxing fan, she found herself ringside for the champ's fight this past May. "I will argue...I score matches while the fights are on! I started following boxing blogs, it just got crazy."
Her eyes are still big, and her smile still wide even after dealing with show rehearsal, running around fulfilling various commitments and more. She says she moves around plenty, that if she isn't riding around listening to her own song "Beautiful" and questioning how good she truly is, she's making fans with those who work at the stores that will stock her new album.
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Love Dominique, released this past Tuesday, is sparse, an effort that swells all the insight and vulnerability that her Wicked Heart EP created, and expands on it. It took one breakup, in her words,, to propel certain songs from the album such as "Lonely" to being created. Other efforts, the sexually tinged "Tonight" and mid-tempo, spaced out "Down" to dig around but her vibrato is best served here digging into her own heart, her trials and tribulations.
To her, Love Dominique (released this week) was purely by accident.
"Wicked Heart just came out in September, but the demand for it after it started moving up the charts...it was time," she says.
That project, only six tracks long, brought her to the big stage. It made such a significant dent on the iTunes chart that the Altavoz entertainment company came calling. Then the fan tweets came pouring in and shows outside of Houston arrived with. All of the songs written since she started recording in 2009 paid off. Love Dominique was a minor star.
Houston's underground R&B scene, for all intents and purposes, has a hierarchy that is dominated by males such as Jack Freeman, Lee-Lonn, Ken Randle and more. Yet on the female side, there's just Dominique and maybe Just Brittany.
"I'm just trying to push it. I'm out there trying to push it." she affirms. "I'll always have time to go back to doing my old job. But when the biggest pop star in the world is from Houston, If she can come out of Third Ward, why can't I?"
Love Dominique's CD release party is tonight at Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel. Doors open at 7 p.m.
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