Sisters with Voices, better known as SWV, is an American Grammy Award-nominated female R&B/pop trio from New York. Formed in 1990 as a gospel group, SWV had a series of hits, including “Weak”, “Right Here/Human Nature”, “I’m So Into You”. The group disbanded in 1999 to pursue solo projects, and reunited in 2005. SWV is currently ranked #100 on the Top 500 Pop Artists of the Past 25 Years.
History and early career
SWV (an acronym for Sisters with Voices) was formed by three friends: Cheryl Gamble, Tamara Johnson and Leanne Lyons (the group’s founder). SWV got its start after the three friends sent a five song demo to record labels in the United States. Soon after, they were signed to a record deal with RCA Records after producer Teddy Riley, a former member of Guy, heard the demo. With Riley’s help, the group’s 1992 debut album, It’s About Time, went double platinum and produced several Top Ten hits. Initially the girls had named themselves TLC (Taj, Lelee & Coko), but were beaten to the name by r&b girl group TLC just 2 weeks earlier.
SWV’s first single, “Right Here”, was released in the fall of 1992, reaching number 13 on the R&B charts. Their second single, “I’m So Into You,” peaked at number 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and reach the top 10 of the The Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number 6. The third single, “Weak”, reached number 1 on both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and The Billboard Hot 100. “Right Here/Human Nature,” the third 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 number 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album’s final single, “Always On My Mind” would reach number 8 the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.
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 number 18 on the Billboard 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.” In 1995, SWV returned with New Beginning, which was preceded by the Allstar produced number one R&B hit “You’re the One in 1996.”
In 1996 – 1997, SWV released their third album, Release Some Tension followed by the release of A Special Christmas, the group’s last studio album. Shortly after the release of A Special Christmas, SWV parted ways to pursue various solo projects.
2005 – present
Tamara “Taj” Johnson-George was a contestant on reality the show Survivor: Tocantins. She will participate in a 2009 national tour of the Vagina Monologues with an all-black cast, most of whom are also former reality show contestants.
On June 24, 2008, SWV made a special appearance at the BET Awards of 2008, performing “Weak” with Alicia Keys. They also sang the chorus to TLC’s “Waterfalls”. Coko currently resides in Virginia Beach. Lelee currently resides in Atlanta and Taj currently resides in Nashville..
In 2008, producer Brian Alexander Morgan announced plans to re-release SWV’s first album It’s About Time. In addition to past hits, the release is set to include six unreleased songs.
In 2007, Taj 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. SWV members Coko and Lelee (who sing the theme song along with Taj) appear in a couple of the show’s episodes.
In 2005, SWV reunited and announced plans to record a new album the following year. In 2007, the group performed dates with After 7, Bobby Brown, New Edition, and Blackstreet.
R&B/Pop act Jojo is heavily influenced and inspired by the work and vocal stylings of this group. She paid tribute to them on her debut album with her own version of “Weak”.
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