SWV is an American R&B vocal trio from New York City, New York whose members are Cheryl Gamble, Tamara Johnson and Leanne Lyons. Formed in 1988 as a gospel group, SWV became one of the most successful R&B groups of the 1990s. They had a series of hits, including "Weak", "Right Here ", "I'm So into You", and "You're the One". The group disbanded in 1998 to pursue solo projects and reunited in 2005. SWV has sold more than 25 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling girl groups of all time.
SWV was formed by Cheryl "Coko" Gamble, Tamara "Taj" Johnson and Leanne "Lelee" Lyons . After getting their demo together, their manager at the time, Maureen Singleton sent out demo tapes along with bottles of Perrier to catch the attention of record execs all over America. In 1991, after being invited to sing live in front of RCA executives, SWV was signed to an eight-album record deal.
It's About Time, the debut studio album by SWV, was released by RCA Records on October 27, 1992 . It was certified multi platinum by the RIAA for more than two million copies shipped to store.
SWV's first single, "Right Here", was released in the fall of 1992, reaching No. 13 on the R&B charts. Their second single, "I'm So into You", peaked at No. 2 on R&B and reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The third single, "Weak", reached No. 1 on both the R&B and Hot 100 charts. "Right Here/Human Nature", the fourth single and a remix of their first single, "Right Here", featured samples of Michael Jackson's hit "Human Nature". Pharrell Williams performed a small rap solo on "Right Here ". "Right Here/Human Nature" peaked at No. 1 on R&B and No. 2 on the Hot 100 and it stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts for 7 weeks, making it one of the longest-running singles of 1993. It was followed up with the additional Top10 R&B hits, "Downtown" , and "You're Always on My Mind" . The album peaked at 8 on the US Billboard 200. Following the success of their first album, SWV appeared on the soundtrack for the 1994 film Above the Rim. The single, "Anything", became a top ten R&B hit and reached No. 18 on the Hot 100 in the spring of 1994. That same year, SWV released The Remixes, which went gold by the end of the year. In the summer of 1995, the trio lent vocal harmonies to Blackstreet's Top 40 R&B hit "Tonight's the Night".
New Beginning was the second album from SWV. The first single, "You're the One", became one of their signature songs peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. The second single, "Use Your Heart", saw the debut of the super producers The Neptunes. This song peaked at twenty-two on the Hot 100 and number six on the R&B chart. The last single, "It's All About U", found Taj taking most of the lead as opposed to Coko. The album was certified platinum for shipping 1,000,000 copies in the U.S. alone. Also, in 1995 SWV appeared on the Waiting to Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album, recording the track, "All Night Long".
Release Some Tension is SWV's third album. Guest appearances are made by E-40, Puff Daddy, Missy Elliott, Foxy Brown, Lil' Cease, Lil' Kim, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Redman. The album features hits like "Rain" , "Someone", "Can We" , and canceled single "Lose My Cool". "Someone", although featuring one of the biggest producers/artists of the year, Puff Daddy, only reached No. 19 on the Billboard charts which sampled The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Ten Crack Commandment's and Les McCann's "Valantra". "When U Cry" also sampled Tyrone Davis' "In The Mood". The album was certified gold for shipping 500,000 copies in the U.S. alone. RIAA Database A Special Christmas, a holiday album featuring both cover versions and original material, was released in the United States on November 18, 1997, by RCA Records. A Special Christmas would be the penultimate album the trio recorded together before they disbanded in 1998. Coko, the group's lead singer, released her first solo album in 1999.
The group split in 1998. The members began leading their own careers. After SWV disbanded, Coko went on to release her first solo album under RCA, titled Hot Coko, released August 1999. The first single, "Sunshine", which was dedicated to her son Jazz, reached the Top 40 position in the R&B charts that summer. However, neither the album nor the singles gathered the same mainstream success as Coko once did with SWV. Meanwhile, Coko was working on a second solo album titled Music Doll in early 2001, but RCA closed the black music division and the project was shelved. Since then, she has concentrated more on her family, and eventually married gospel producer and drummer for Israel and New Breed, Mike "Big Mike" Clemmons, the father of her second son, Jaylon. She currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 2001, Coko and her Mother Lady "Clyde" Tibba Gamble did a remake of the song "Tears in Heaven" on the album Rhythm and Spirit: "Love Can Build a Bridge". The album featured other artists such as Jennifer Holliday, Patti Labelle, and Tramaine Hawkins. Clemons sang on the Brent Jones & TP Mobb single "Midnite" in 2002. She also appeared on Youthful Praise's 2003 gospel album Thank You for the Change singing lead on "Up There".
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