Cher still believes
By Andy Argyrakis

After a gigantic career in the music industry that yielded classics like "I Got You Babe," "If I Could Turn Back Time," and her recent smash "Believe," what could be next for ever-evolving pop diva Cher? Nothing but one of the biggest tours this summer!

In fact, this time out marks her first tour in 8 years to back up her latest album! "It feels like forever since I've been out on the road," said the legendary Cher in a press release. "I'm really looking forward to getting back out there."

"Out there" includes 50-plus dates -- not bad for a performer with 50-plus years under her belt. One look at the tour itinerary would make anyone tired, but the singing sensation is ready to take it all in stride and looks forward to the long haul.

The tour, brought together by SFX Entertainment, will possibly be one of the highest grossing this year. That opportunity didn't just come by chance. This destination has come after months of promoting the "Believe" album and seeing the title track shoot straight to the top! This Warner Brothers Records sensation is no stranger to the spotlight as her hit list is much longer than the average here today, gone tomorrow type.

"I like music that makes you want to move," said Cher in promotional materials for the tour, "but I also pay attention to the lyrics. On the title track, for instance, we had a great refrain -- 'Do you believe in life after love?' -- but the rest of the song didn't come together. Then I came up with the line 'I've had time to think it through, and maybe I'm too good for you.' Suddenly, the whole song made sense."

Apparently Cher's audience liked her reasoning. The single zoomed past a million sales and hung out for an unprecedented 20-week run at the top of Billboard's Hot Dance Music chart. That puts her as the artist to hold the record for the longest span of number of hits in pop music history, a time passage of about 33 years since "I Got You Babe." As if that was not enough, "Believe" stayed in top on the Billboard Pop charts also propelling the album to sales in excess of 6 million copies, while also hitting No. 1 in 23 countries.

"Anyone's whose up there in age that can have an awesome song is pretty cool," said junior Sarah Scott, a corporate-wellness major at John Brown University in Arkansas. "I mean this just shows that even though a singer has been around for a while doesn't mean that they can't reach the current audience."

Similar in thought was Chris Anderson, a sophomore art major from Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif. "I am glad to see someone who has been so famous still be able to come up with new and fresh material. This disc is danceable, upbeat, and enjoyable. Plus there she demonstrates effort and creativity on the CD, some elements you don't always get on the current tastes of the day."

According to Cher, however, the desire to put out a quality, fan-friendly, product was not difficult. "I want to remain relevant and do work that strikes a chord," she notes. "But at the same time, I don't want to make a record with too many intentions beyond pleasing my fans."

Fans will certainly be pleased this tour as Cher will feature a mix of old and new tunes. For those wondering if the 53-year-old's still got it, just check out her roster of recent live performances. Recently, she sang on VH1's "Divas Live" program, "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and the "Late Show with David Letterman."

Those programs are just a few of the dozens Cher's been spotted on while promoting "Believe," but those appearances also have revealed some other sides of the lady.

One side project is an autobiography she wrote called "The First Time." Topics include the movie industry and her love for acting. She won a Best Actress Oscar in 1987 for "Moonstruck." Fans may also remember her phenomenally successful roles in 1985's "Mask" and 1983's "Silkwood." She presently can be found co-starring in Franco Zefferelli's feature film "Tea With Mussolini."

"Acting is like having a party at your house and having to do all the work," she said. "Music is like being at someone else's house. I don't have to worry about it. I just get caught up and carried away."

Obviously, this star has been there and done that when it comes to the performing arts. She has sung, acted and even dabbed into the literary world, but her focus is never tainted by the success and constant exposure, at least in her fans' eyes.

"She has moved me with very powerful lyrics," said pre-pharmacy major Katie Randall, an incoming freshman at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

"Her singles 'Believe' and 'Strong Enough' on the new project are two songs I can really relate to. She's pointing out how it's important to move on after past relationships. I know I've had to do that just like tons of others have. Those are the types of songs that are out to give you an extra boost of strength and the power to believe in yourself!"