With a jammed touring schedule and an album to record, it took Ce Ce Peniston a while to realize that her debut dance single, released in September, was going to be a pop hit. ''I was sitting in a Chicago pizza parlor in October,'' she recalls, ''and I heard over the radio, '''Finally,'' by Ce Ce Peniston.' I just started looking around going, 'That's me! That's me!'''
Peniston Ce Ce is short for Cecilia grew up in Phoenix. Named Miss Black Arizona in 1989, she was backing up the female rapper Overweight Pooch when she snagged her own deal with A&M. ''Finally,'' an infectious tune about meeting the ideal man and the first song the as-yet-unattached Peniston ever wrote became 1991's undisputed club anthem and recently went gold.
The 21-year-old hopes her just-released album, also called Finally, will change her image from club diva to chanteuse. Unlike many dance artists, she refuses to lip-synch. ''The audience comes to see if I can measure up to what's on the record,'' she says. ''And I owe it to them to do it.''