Singer Coko (née Cheryl Gamble) was one-third of the hit-making R&B group SWV, who had a string of chart hits in the mid-’90s.
While singing with Walker ’s award-winning choir, Coko teamed up with two childhood friends – Leanne “Lelee” Lyons and Tamara “Taj” Johnson – to form the sensational R&B group SWV. Once the group landed a deal with RCA records, their music career took off. Among the group’s many mega-hits are “I’m So Into You,” “You’re The One,” “Right Here,” “Weak,” and “Rain” – just to name a few.
With their New Jill Swing style, SWV conquered the urban music scene with many chart top-chart topping hits. During their reign in the 1990’s, the platinum selling group recorded five albums: 1992 – “It’s About Time;” 1994 – “Remixes;” 1996 – “New Beginning;” and in 1997 – “Release Some Tension” and “A Special Christmas.” Following the group’s breakup, their “Greatest Hits” album was released in 1999; “TheBest of SWV” in 2001; the “Platinum and Gold Collection” in 2003; and the “Encore Collection” in 2004. Additionally, SWV recorded songs featured on various motion picture soundtracks including “Above the Rim,” “Babe,” and “Waiting to Exhale.” The groups single, “Right Here,” for the movie “Free Willy” was among their most memorable motion picture soundtrack singles. The group was also featured on Quincy Jones’ acclaimed “Q’s Jook Joint.” What’s more, SWV’s music has even influenced this millennium’s hip-hop world as evidenced by the Chingy song “Pullin’ Me Back,” which samples their single “Rain.”
In addition to the success she attained with the Grammy nominated SWV, Coko also appeared on a variety of motion picture projects. For the blockbuster movie, “Men in Black,” she sang the hook on Will Smith’s award-winning single “Men in Black.” She recorded “Keep It Real,” a duet with Jon B. on the “HavPlenty” soundtrack. She andJohnny Gill also remade the Rick James and Teena Marie classic “Fire & Desire for the “Booty Call” soundtrack. Moreover, she sang “He Be Back” with Missy Elliott on the soundtrack for “Why Do Fools Fall In Love; sang alongside Faith Evans and Missy Elliott on “All The Times,” a track featured on R&B trio LSG’s self-titled album; and recorded a duet with Tevin Campbell called “Everything You Are” on his self-titled album.
After the group broke up in 1998, Coko embarked on a solo career and released the single Sunshine and the album Hot Coko (1999) a year later on RCA Records.
Coko’s debut gospel album “Grateful,” (2006) mixes gospel with an upbeat R&B flavor. Through her music, she anticipates drawing fans and listeners closer to God. “I just want to inspire people to live a better life and get to know the Jesus that I sing about,” says Coko.
“I never left the church. I’ve always been active in my church despite my profession in R&B music. Church was more than a breeding ground for me to sing, it’s where I nurture my soul. It’s a lifestyle for me,” states Coko.
Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Coko recalls always being very active in her church community. As a child, she performed with the church choir and assisted the church’s nurse unit. A former member of The Lord’s Church in Bronx, New York, Coko recorded the song “Some How, Some Way” on a live recording for The Lord’s Church Cathedral Choir’s “We Are Healed” release. She also recorded the breakout gospel song“Midnight” on EMI Gospel group Brent Jones & T.P. Mobb’s 2002 release “Beautiful.” Additionally, she is featured on “Up There,” a track by Evidence Gospel/Light Records artist Youthful Praise.
Coko followed “Grateful” up with “The Winner in Me” (2009). An eclectic array of great music, it contains guest appearances by Canton Jones, Youthful Praise, Israel Houghton, Kelly Price and Coko’s mother, Lady Tibba.
“While I am very happy with all of my accomplishments and accolades up to this point, there is still so much I want to do. I still would like to start my own gospel record labeland help develop some new acts. I would also like to do some acting and maybe even Broadway at some point,” shares Coko. Essentially, Coko hopes to touch the lives of many through her songs of inspiration.