Summer Dennis‘s latest seven-track offering, Mr. Wonderful Is Dead, is a guide for women who are going through a split. Embroidered with songs that highlight feminine power, resilience, and confidence, Mr. Wonderful Is Dead gives others the tools that’ll help them move on and let go of the hurt from their previous relationships.
The theme of Summer Dennis’ EP concentrates on empowerment and self-love. Within the seven tracks, Summer Dennis’s powerhouse vocals permeate passion and relatability. Sonically, the project merges alleviating R&B, trap, and pop arrangements.
Songs like “Face Card” and “Dancing Alone” are about loving the skin you’re in without external validation. Meanwhile, “Ain’t Nothing New” and “Don’t Rush” focus on the upside of letting someone into your heart. Other records, such as “Hell No” and “Twisted” inform people not to test the singer’s patience or to take her kindness for weakness.
Overall, Mr. Wonderful Is Dead asserts that a partner isn’t needed to feel whole. Even if the whole world turns its back on you, you’ll always have yourself.
Natalee Gilbert got the opportunity to speak to Summer Dennis about her EP, Mr. Wonderful Is Dead, and more. Read their conversation below:
What does the album’s title reveal, if anything, about the album’s impact and themes?
This album was meant to be written about women’s stories that aren’t necessarily centered on the pursuit of romance with a man. For many years I was singing songs about love and songs about church concepts. But I’ve experienced so much of life being single, having a career, and dating casually that I don’t really think of marriage and motherhood as a goal to strive for or something to romanticize in singing. So the concept of the death of Mr. Wonderful is about living a life that doesn’t center on traditional patriarchal values. These songs are about powerful independent everyday women experiencing life regardless of relationship status.
Is there an overarching theme to the album as a whole?
Women have other stories to tell besides the one about the day they knew they met their Prince Charming. Sometimes we just want to sing about how amazing we look (face card). Sometimes we just want to sing about enjoying our independence (Hell No). And maybe sometimes the relationship isn’t something meant to last… maybe it’s just about having a good time tonight (Dancing Alone).
What was the creative process like while putting together your new album?Tiara Thomas was the lead writer on my album, and she also selected the producers we worked with. She is a leader and an amazing talent. She’s written several of my favorite songs including “Damage” by H.E.R. So aside from all the learning I did while watching her process, I really loved hearing my vocals on her lyrics and melodies. I love working with her, I can’t wait to work with her again. Going to LA and working for 2 weeks on the music was amazing.
And then I got to work with the amazing Neffu (Theron Feemster) on post-production. He’s produced for so many people, from Michael Jackson to Doja to Stevie… he’s worked with everyone. And he’s also made amazing music for movies. If you listen to my record “Twisted”, you’ll hear his amazing musical talent. The things I was able to witness him do on his instruments were unbelievable. What’s also very cool is that you’ll hear guitar solos throughout the record.
Those are played by Bill Moore with whom I’ve been writing music for years. I actually joined his band 6 years ago, so to be able to perform together live and do these records together for so long is so rewarding. He really knows how to make sure the project gets to where it needs to be.
Were you affected emotionally by the music?
It was nice to sing some songs about things I’m actually feeling. It’s not that I don’t have romantic emotions in my brain, it’s just a very small part of my life.
Is there a record you had fun making the most?
‘Dancing Alone’ was so fun to make. We actually worked on that song in Atlanta, and we were all in there pop-locking and having such a dope time vibing to that beat. There was originally a rap on the song. We didn’t release it, but it was cool that Tiara gave me space to try something new without making fun of me. I know that sounds silly and insecure, but I’m still scared someone’s going to make fun of me in the studio, especially someone experienced like her. But instead, we just got loose and had a blast.
Out of all the records on your album, which one would be your theme song?‘
Dancing Alone’ for sure. I do most things alone. I love taking myself out to eat, to a bar, to a show… going by yourself makes it easier. And I can just leave when I’m overstimulated
Did you come across any difficulties while creating your new album?
I had long COVID for over a year. My COVID experience was neurological. I didn’t let anyone see this, but I definitely struggled with pain management in the studio. And a lot of times I didn’t have the endurance to stand for 8 hours straight. I also developed allergies after I caught COVID that I’ve never had before.
I truly could not breathe in LA. It was the craziest thing. I was carrying around room filtration systems in my purse. Which also made it harder to sing. Nobody can hear struggling on this record, but wow, there were some nights I was in that booth holding back tears because I was so scared my voice wouldn’t hit certain notes. I did though
In one sentence, how would you describe your new album?
My album is a fun experience that speaks to the reality of life and features real instruments and amazing vocals and melodies.
Any new songs, visuals, or projects in store?
Definitely! We’re dropping a new single very soon! Might be from this album, or I might surprise you. Stay tuned!