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Also known asSisters with Voices
OriginNew York City, United States
GenresR&B, New Jack Swing
Years active1990–1998, 2005— present
LabelsRCA, Mass Appeal Entertainment/E1 Music
Associated actsTeddy Riley, Brian Alexander Morgan, Allstar, Chucky Thompson, Eric Sermon, Lil Kim, Missy Elliott, Babyface, Quincy Jones[citation needed], Blackstreet, AZ, Busta Rhymes, Sahpreem King, Faith Evans[citation needed], Puff Daddy[citation needed], Foxy Brown[citation needed], Ishmael Butler[citation needed], Neptunes[citation needed], Pharrell Williams[citation needed], Wreckx N Effects,
Cheryl "Coko" Clemons
Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George
Leanne "Lelee" Lyons
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Also known asSisters with Voices
OriginNew York City, United States
GenresR&B, New Jack Swing
Years active1990–1998, 2005— present
LabelsRCA, Mass Appeal Entertainment/E1 Music
Associated actsTeddy Riley, Brian Alexander Morgan, Allstar, Chucky Thompson, Eric Sermon, Lil Kim, Missy Elliott, Babyface, Quincy Jones[citation needed], Blackstreet, AZ, Busta Rhymes, Sahpreem King, Faith Evans[citation needed], Puff Daddy[citation needed], Foxy Brown[citation needed], Ishmael Butler[citation needed], Neptunes[citation needed], Pharrell Williams[citation needed], Wreckx N Effects,
Cheryl "Coko" Clemons
Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George
Leanne "Lelee" Lyons

Sisters with Voices, better known as SWV, is an American female R&B trio from New York City. Formed in 1990 as a gospel group,[1] SWV became one of the most successful R&B groups of the 1990s. They had a series of hits, including "Weak", "Right Here/Human Nature", "I'm So Into You", and "You're the One". The group disbanded in 1998 to pursue solo projects, and reunited in 2005.



Early Life and Big Break

SWV (an abbreviation for Sisters With Voices) was formed by three friends: Cheryl Gamble, Tamara Johnson and Leanne Lyons (the founding member).[2] After getting their demo together, the trio sent out demo tapes along with bottles of Perrier ("We couldn't afford champagne," says Taj) to catch the attention of record execs all over America. In 1991, after being invited to sing live in front of RCA honchos, SWV was signed to an eight album record deal.

1992–95: It's About Time and The Remixes

It's About Time is the debut studio album by American female R&B trio SWV, released by RCA Records on October 27, 1992 (see 1992 in music). It was certified triple platinum by the RIAA for more than three million copies shipped to store.[3] SWV's first single, "Right Here", was released in the fall of 1992, reaching #16 on the R&B charts. Their second single, "I'm So Into You," peaked at #2 on R&B and reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The third single, "Weak", reached #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." "Right Here/Human Nature" peaked at #1 on R&B and #2 on the Hot 100 and it stayed at #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" (#2), and "Always On My Mind" (#8).[3][4] The album peak 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 #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."

1996–97: New Beginning, Release Some Tension and A Special Christmas

New Beginning is the second album from R&B group SWV. The first single, "You're the One", became one of their signature songs peaking at number five on Billboard's Hot 100 and topped the Hot R&B Singles. 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.[5] 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, P. Diddy, Missy Elliott, Foxy Brown, Lil' Cease, Lil' Kim, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Redman. The album features hits like "Rain" (which samples Jaco Pastorius's classic "Portrait of Tracy"), "Someone", "Can We" (which was originally included on the soundtrack for the Jamie Foxx film Booty Call), and canceled single "Lose My Cool". "Someone", although featuring one of the biggest producers/artists of the year, Puff Daddy, only reached #19 on the Billboard charts which sampled The Notorious B.I.G's "Ten Crack Commandment's & Les McCann's "Valantra" also the flowing "When U Cry" sampling Tyrone Davis "In The Mood". The album was certified gold for shipping 500,000 copies in the U.S. alone. RIAA Database A few months later A Special Christmas was released in the United States on November 18, 1997 by RCA Records. It is a holiday album featuring both cover versions and original material. 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.

1998–2005: Hiatus and reuniting of SWV

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, both the album and singles did not gather 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.[citation needed] In 2001, Coko and her Mother Lady "Clyde" Tibba Gamble did a remake of the song "Tears in Heaven" (originally recorded by Eric Clapton) 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".

Coko's full gospel solo debut, Grateful, was released in the United States on October 31, 2006[6] and debuted at #5 on Billboard's Top Independent albums chart.[7] Grateful includes an all-star cover of The Clark Sisters' "Endow Me" which features R&B singers Faith Evans, Fantasia Barrino and Lil Mo.[8] An alternate version, minus Faith Evans was performed on BET's Celebration of Gospel '07. A special edition of Grateful only available through Wal-Mart includes two bonus tracks "I Wish" and Brent Jones' "Midnite" featuring Coko on lead vocals.

Coko was reported to have joined an all-black touring cast performing the critically acclaimed play The Vagina Monologues, along with Sherri Shepherd, Star Jones, Vanessa L. Williams, and others.[9] In June 2008, Coko performed in Japan for the Billboard Live Tour. She sang some of her solo hits "Sunshine", "Clap Your Hands", and the SWV song "Right Here/Human Nature".


After SWV officially disbanded in 1997, Johnson-George was signed to a two-year contract with the Ford Modeling Agency. Shortly after this contract ended, Johnson-George began dating Tennessee Titan Eddie George, whom she'd met at a shopping mall in 1994.[10] Johnson-George contributed to the anthology Souls of My Sisters: Black Women Break Their Silence, Tell Their Stories and Heal Their Spirits, which was published in 2000. In 2002, Johnson-George enrolled in Belmont University in Nashville, earning a Bachelor's of Business Administration in May 2004.[11] The following month, Johnson-George married Eddie George in Rockleigh, New Jersey. Their son, Eriq Michael, was born in 2005[12] after a difficult pregnancy that left Johnson-George bedridden for the first five months of her pregnancy.[13] Johnson-George is also the stepmother of Eddie's first son, Jaire David, whom she refers to as her oldest son,[14] and the godmother of Coko's oldest son, Jazz.[15] Along with her friend Katrina Chambers, Johnson-George wrote the book Player hateHER: How to Avoid the Beat Down and Live in a Drama-Free World in 2007. That same year, Johnson-George and husband Eddie George starred in the reality TV show I Married a Baller, which depicted five weeks in the George household over a course of nine shows. The show focused on Johnson-George and her marriage to Eddie George, her struggle to lose her "baby weight,"[16] and performing with SWV, who came together to perform the theme song of the show. Baller also highlighted Visions with Infinite Possibilities, the Georges' not-for-profit charity for survivors of domestic violence and their children.

In 2005, SWV reunited and announced plans to record a new album the following year[3] (the album has not materialized). In 2007, the group performed dates with After 7, Bobby Brown, New Edition, and Blackstreet.[17] In 2007, Johnson-George appeared in the TV One reality series I Married a Baller which documented her life with husband Eddie George, former NFL player and present Nashville entrepreneur.[18] SWV members Coko and Lelee (who sing the theme song along with Taj) appear in a couple of the show's episodes. On June 24, 2008, SWV made a special appearance at the BET Awards of 2008, performing "Weak" with Alicia Keys. Coko currently resides in Virginia Beach, Lelee in Atlanta and Taj in Nashville.[citation needed]. Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George was a contestant on Survivor: Tocantins, in which she came in fourth place. She was blindsided by her former alliance of James "J.T." Thomas, Jr. and Stephen Fishbach. She became the sixth Jury Member.[19] She participated in a 2009 national tour of the Vagina Monologues with an all-black cast, most of whom are also former reality show contestants.[20] SWV appeared on The Mo'Nique Show on February 2, 2010, performing Patti LaBelle's "If Only You Knew". Lelee and Coko provided the lead vocals.

2011–present: I Missed Us

As of 2011, SWV has recently signed a record deal with Mass Appeal Entertainment and E1 Entertainment. On June 10, 2011, SWV was featured on the official remix of Chris Brown's remake of their Right Here/Human Nature song, "She Ain't You". SWV released their first single "Co-Sign" [21] on December 15, 2011 via iTunes[22] I Missed Us off their fourth studio album is now set to be released on April 17, 2012 via eOne Music and Mass Appeal Entertainment [23]

According to VH-1's 100 Greatest: Women in Music, SWV was ranked #88. Billboard named SWV the #7 R&B Act and the #2 Top Selling/Airplay R&B Female Group of the 1990s.

The track listing for SWV's I Missed Us was released on Amazon.com.[24]

SWV appeared on the television talk show The Wendy Williams Show on April 17, 2012 to promote the release of I Missed Us and to perform the hit song "Co-Sign". As of April 17, 2012, SWV has the #1 R&B album on iTunes. On June 1, 2012, SWV announced that their next single to be released from I Missed Us is "Love Unconditionally".

As of June 28, 2012 SWV song I'm So Into You from the Triple Platinum Album It's About Time (SWV Album) is currently ranked at #18 on VH1's 40 Greatest "R&B songs of the 90's"

On November 4th 2012, SWV performed on Black Girls Rock, an organization to inspire young black girls, it is award show on BET.



Studio albums

Extended plays

  • 1993 Going For The Gold
  • 1994 The Remixes
  • 1999 8 Unreleased Diamonds

Compilation albums


Opening acts

SWV featured a number of successful female groups as opening acts throughout their various touring engagements. Those groups included such contemporaries as Xscape, Jade, Total, 702, and Destiny's Child.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations

1993NominatedAmerican Music AwardFavorite New Artist - Pop/Rock
1993NominatedFavorite Band, Duo or Group - Soul/Rhythm & Blues
1993NominatedFavorite Album - Soul/Rhythm & Blues for It's About Time
1993NominatedFavorite New Artist - Soul / Rhythm & Blues
1993WinKids Choice AwardsFemale Group Of The Decade
1993WinBillboard Music AwardTop Hot 100 Singles Artists - Duos/Group
1993WinTop R&B Artists - Duos/Group
1993WinTop R&B Singles Artists - Duos/Group
1993WinTop Pop Artists - Duo/Group
1993WinTop New Pop Artist
1993WinTop Hot 100 Singles Artist
1993WinTop Hot 100 Airplay Track for "Weak"
1993WinTop R&B Artist
1993NominatedTop New R&B Artist
1993NominatedTop R&B Album Artists - Duos/Group
1993NominatedTop R&B Singles Artist
1994NominatedTop R&B Singles Artists - Duos/Group
1994NominatedTop R&B Artists - Duos/Group
1994NominatedGrammy AwardBest New Artist
1997NominatedSoul Train Lady of Soul AwardBest R&B Soul single by a Group, Band, or Duo
1997NominatedSoul Train Lady of Soul AwardBest Soul/R&B album by a Group, Band or Duo
1998NominatedSoul Train Lady of Soul AwardBest Soul/R&B album by a Group, Band or Duo
1998NominatedSoul Train Lady of Soul AwardBest Soul/R&B single by a Group, Band or Duo
2012NominatedSoul Train AwardBest Independent R&B/Soul Artist or Group

See also


  1. ^ SWV Online
  2. ^ "All about Leanne "Lelee" Lyons". http://www.swvonline.com/lelee.htm. "With her love for singing, and sparse support from her family as motivation, Lelee's desires to put together a group were fueled but success did not come easily."
  3. ^ a b c "SWV Biography". mtv.com. http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/swv/artist.jhtml. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
  4. ^ "SWV: Billboard chart history". billboard.com. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/retrieve_chart_history.do?JSESSIONID=9nR7LDJQmWTwwQKk8ZphSlVPbGGVp9mhBGNDT9xmh7yMdL9g1qDm!1389172043&model.vnuArtistId=22544&model.vnuAlbumId=375556.
  5. ^ "Recording Industry Association of America". RIAA. http://riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?table=SEARCH_RESULTS. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
  6. ^ "Interview with Coko: A New Beginning". GospelFlava.com. http://www.gospelflava.com/articles/cokointerview2006.html.
  7. ^ "Coko Debuts At #5 On Billboard Chart". GospelCity.com. 2006-11-08. http://www.gospelcity.com/dynamic/industry-articles/industry_news/345.
  8. ^ Bonner, Gerald. "Grateful Album Review". GospelFlava.com. http://www.gospelflava.com/reviews/coko.html.
  9. ^ "Star Jones, Sherri Shepherd in 'Monologues': New black version of 'Vagina Monologues' to begin tour next month.". EURweb. 2008-01-09. http://www.eurweb.com/story/eur39840.cfm.
  10. ^ "Eddie & Taj George". TCA INTV. 2007. http://video.aol.com/video-detail/eddie-and-taj-george-tca-intv/342879776/?icid=VIDLRV04.
  11. ^ "SWV's Tamara "Taj" Johnson". HHNLive.com. http://www.hhnlive.com/features/more/430.
  12. ^ "Taj Gives Birth!". SWV Online. http://www.swvonline.com/news.htm#news15.
  13. ^ "The Longest Yard". The Nashville News. March 17, 2005. http://www.nashvillescene.com/2005-03-17/news/the-longest-yard/5.
  14. ^ episode #3 ("Road Trippin'"). I Married a Baller. "I got my sons with me...my youngest is hyped. He's ready and excited, and my oldest is just excited to be on a bus."
  15. ^ "Coko Talks About SWV Breakup". Yahoo! Music. July 21, 1999. http://new.music.yahoo.com/various-artists/news/coko-talks-about-swv-breakup--12058363.
  16. ^ episode #7 ("California Dreamin'"). I Married a Baller. "I'm still trying to get my little 17-month-old son's weight off!"
  17. ^ Murray, Jawn (2 April 2007). "Candidly Coko". blackvoices.com. http://www.blackvoices.com/black_entertainment/bvbuzzcanvas/_a/april-2-2007/20070402143709990001. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  18. ^ Original Shows - I Married a Baller, TV One
  19. ^ "Brazilian Wacks". TV Guide. 2009-01-13. pp. 40–41.
  20. ^ "Reality Stars Will Perform in the Vagina Monologues". Reality Blurred. February 5, 2009. http://www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/archives/related_news/2009_Feb_05_vagina_monologues.
  21. ^ ""Co-SIGN" is officially live NOW on iTunes". http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=213731605373542&id=368183310894.
  22. ^ ""I Missed Us" on iTunes". http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/co-sign-single/id489925812?ls=1.
  23. ^ "SWV to Release I Missed Us". Amazon.com. February 21, 2012. http://www.amazon.com/I-Missed-Us-Swv/dp/B007ADKQ8G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329813739&sr=8-1/. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  24. ^ "I Missed Us: Swv: Music". Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007ADKQ8G/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details. Retrieved 2012-04-24.

External links