SWV (Sisters With Voices)

Coko, Taj and Lelee formed SWV in 1990

SWV. Jason Kempin/Getty Images for BET

Members:

Cheryl Clemons, AKA Coko, born June 13, 1970.
Tamara Johnson-George, AKA Taj, born April 29, 1971.
Leanne Lyons, AKA Lelee, born July 17, 1973.

Group Formation:

Childhood friends Cheryl Clemons (Coko) Tamara Johnson (Taj), and Leanne Lyons (Lelee) formed SWV as a gospel group in 1990 in New York City. After sending their five-song demo to various labels, they attracted the attention of music producer Teddy Riley, the creator of "New Jack Swing" and the leader of the group Guy.

The trio signed with RCA Records and released their debut album, It's About Time, on October 27, 1992.

Early Career:

It's About Time, primarily produced by Brian Alexander Morgan, was an instant success, hitting number two on the Billboard R&B chart and being certified triple platinum. It featured four hit singles: "Weak" was certified platinum and reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B charts; "Right Here/Human Nature" was certified gold and remained number one on the R&B chart for seven weeks, and the songs "I'm So Into You" and "Downtown" were also certified gold. SWV received 11 Billboard Music Awards nominations in 1993, and also earned nominations for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards, and Favorite New Artist at American Music Awards.

The group released their second album, New Beginning, in 1996. It peaked at number three on the R&B chart and sold over a million copies.

The first single,"You're The One," became their third number one single on the R&B chart and was certified gold. Their third CD, Release Some Tension in 1997, was certified gold, and included the gold single "Someone" featuring Puff Daddy

The trio sang "All Night Long" on the 1995 Waiting To Exhale soundtrack which also featured Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Faith Evans, TLC.

Toni Braxton, Brandy, and Mary J. Blige. SWV was also featured on the song "Slow Jams" on Quincy Jones' 1995 Q's Jook Joint CD .with Babyface, Barry White, and Portrait. During their career, SWV has worked with numerous stars, including Pharrell Williams, Queen Latifah, Snoop Dogg, and Missy Elliott.

Break-Up:

Following their third album, Release Some Tension in 1997, SWV disbanded. Lead singer Coko launched a solo career in 1999 with her album, Hot Coko. She released a gospel album, Grateful, in 2006, a holiday CD, A Coko Christmas, in 2008, and another gospel CD, The Winner In Me, in 2009.

Taj married and had a child with former NFL running back Eddie George. The couple starred together in a reality show, I Married A Baller in 2007. Taj also appeared as a contestant on the reality show Survivor in 2009. 

Reunion:

SWV briefly reunited in 2005, and after occasional appearances together over the next few years, Coko, Taj, and Lelee released their fourth studio album, I Missed Us, in 2012, It debuted at number six on the Billboard R&B chart and earned a Grammy nomination: Best Traditional R&B Performance for "If Only You Knew." SWV also starred for two seasons in 2014 in their SWV Reunited reality series on WE tv.

Album Discography:

  • 2016: Still     
  • 2012: I Missed Us
  • 1997: A Special Christmas
  • 1997: Release Some Tension (Gold)
  • 1996: New Beginning (Platinum)
  • 1992: It's About Time (Triple platinum)

Gold and Platinum Singles:

  • 1992: "I'm So Into You" (Gold, number two Billboard R&B chart)
  • 1993: "Weak" (Platinum, number one Billboard Hot 100, number one Billboard R&B chart)   
  • 1993: "Right Here/Human Nature" (Gold, number one Billboard R&B chart)
  • 1993: "Downtown" (Gold, number one Billboard R&B chart)
  • 1996: "You're the One (Gold, number one Billboard R&B chart)                                              
  • 1997: "Someone" featuring Puff Daddy (Gold, number five Billboard R&B chart)

Edited by Ken Simmons on March 12, 2016