If you felt nostalgic when Chris Brown released “She Ain’t You,” a remix to the 1992 hit “Right Here,” then you’ll get all the feels as we recognize SWV (Sisters With Voices) during Women’s History Month.
It was 1991 when group members Cheryl “Coko” Gamble, Tamara “Taj” Johnson and Leanne “Lelee” Lyons sent their demo along with a bottle of Perrier (they couldn’t afford champagne yet) to dozens of record executives with hopes in becoming one of the best selling female R&B groups of all time. After catching the attention of RCA executives, the group was invited to audition live resulting in an eight album record deal.
Introducing an uptown-new jack swing feel to R&B, SWV’s debut album “It’s About Time” became certified platinum, selling over 2 million copies. The release of “Right Here” featuring samples of Michael Jackson‘s “Human Nature” went straight to the R&B charts debuting at No. 13, propelling their second single “So Into You” into the No. 2 slot and No. 6 on Billboard’s top 100.
As the group began to solidify their place in R&B while climbing the charts, their first single “Right Here” was now making it’s way up to the No. 1 spot, and No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 100. The 1993 UK remix of the single also hit the charts featuring a rap verse from a young Pharrell Williams. As their fan base grew internationally, SWV released their soulful and most recognized single to date– “Weak,” which debuted at No. 1 on both R&B charts, and Billboard’s 100.
Over the next three years, SWV would go on to release two more chart topping singles, “Downtown” & “Always On My Mind”, making them the number one selling girl group from 1992-1995. SWV reached another milestone when the group was featured on soundtrack for Above The Rim the hit single, “Anything.”
Through 1996-1997 the trio released two more albums, New Beginning & Release Some Tension, giving SWV another popular hit, “So Into You,” which has been one of their signature songs, accompanying “Weak”. After developing a musical relationship with Pharrell, The Neptunes debuted their super producer talents on SWV’s follow-up single, “Use Your Heart.” In 1998 the group separated to pursue other endeavors and solo careers, which resulted in Coko releasing her debut solo album, Hot Coko in 1999.
The success of SWV is undeniable as the group would go on to become one of the best selling female groups of all time, sell over 25 million records throughout the course of 23-years. In 2015, the group reunited for comeback album with the release of their single “MCE” (Man Crush Everyday).
HERSource would like to recognize our Sisters With Voices during Women’s History Month with a flashback to the 90s. Enjoy!