|Birth name||Cheryl Elizabeth Gamble|
|Also known as||"Coko",
|Born||June 13, 1970|
|Origin||South Bronx, New York, United States|
|Genres||Gospel, urban Gospel, R&B, hip hop soul, dance, new jack swing, house|
|Associated acts||Sisters With Voices, Will Smith|
SWV - Sisters With Voices
From 1992 to 1998, Coko sang with the platinum recording group, Sisters With Voices (SWV). Collectively the female trio released five albums - the first "Its About Time" selling over three million copies making SWV hot property. After their 1998 Christmas album, SWV disbanded. To commemorate their tremendous success and huge contribution to the 90s R&B Music Scene, Six compilation albums were released compiling their best efforts. Coko made the final decision to disband the group. In an interview, she stated it was not a mutual decision, that many people tried to convince her to stay but it was inevitable. She went on to say that she didn't feel appreciated, that there was no unity within the group and the communicating was gone. She did not speak to founding member Leanne Lelee Lyons for several years.
After SWV disbanded, Coko went on to release her first solo album under RCA, titled Hot Coko, released on August 10, 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.
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 and debuted at #5 on Billboard's Top Independent albums chart. Grateful includes an all-star cover of The Clark Sisters' "Endow Me" which features R&B singers Faith Evans, Fantasia Barrino and Lil Mo. 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. 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".
Reuniting with SWV
Coko reunited with SWV and performed during their first live performance in eight years in Los Angeles for urban radio station KKBT 100.3 "The Beat"'s Summerjam concert on August 20, 2005. They also appeared on the 2006 New Jack Reunion Tour. SWV was featured in the XXL where they discussed single releases from their debut album It's About Time. In the interview, Clemons mentioned that the group would no longer perform sexually-explicit songs such as "Downtown" and "Can We" anymore out of a new respect for her beliefs as a Christian. The group's final performance took place in Toronto in late June 2007.
On April 4, 2008, Coko returned with SWV to perform some of their hits for the local DJ Kid Kutts' birthday.
As SWV was in the midst of new shows for early 2011, Coko posed for a shoot in Jackson, Mississippi with photographer Will Sterling. The photos show off the singer's curvaceous figure in fashionable gowns, set against the natural beauty of the Mississippi Delta.
|Year||Album||Chart positions||Release notes|
|U.S.||U.S. R&B||U.S. Gospel|
|2008||A Coko Christmas
|2009||The Winner In Me
|1997||"Men in Black" (with Will Smith)1||—||1||—||1||Men in Black: The Album|
|2006||"I Get Joy" (with Kirk Franklin)||—||—||20||—||Grateful|
|"Clap Your Hands"||—||—||—||—|
|"Endow Me" (with Fantasia, Faith Evans, and Lil' Mo)||—||—||—||—|
|2009||"Wait" (featuring Youthful Praise)||—||—||—||—||The Winner In Me|
|2010||"The Winner In Me"||—||—||—||—|
1U.S. Airplay charts
- Will Smith: "Men In Black (featuring Coko)" Men In Black Soundtrack (Columbia, 1997)
- LSG: "All The Times (featuring Faith Evans, Coko, & Missy Elliott)" (Elektra, 1997)
- Johnny Gill & Coko: "Fire and Desire" Booty Call Soundtrack (Jive, 1997)
- Coko: "He Be Back" Why Do Fools Fall In Love Soundtrack (Elektra, 1999)
- Tevin Campbell: "Everything You Are (featuring Coko)" (Qwest, 1999)
- Brent Jones & TP Mobb: "Midnite (featuring Coko)" (EMI Gospel, 2002)
- Coko: "Easy Lover" Urban Renewal: The Songs of Phil Collins (Atlantic, 2003)
- Youthful Praise: "Up There (featuring Coko)" (Evidence Gospel, 2003)
- Onitsha: "My Life" (featuring Mary Mary and Deborah Cox) (Stillwaters Records, 2007)
- Case & Coko: "Face To Face" Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns soundtrack (Atlanta Records, 2008)
- "Coko Debuts At #5 On Billboard Chart". GospelCity.com. 2006-11-08.
- Rosen, Craig (1999-07-21). "Coko Talks About SWV Breakup". Yahoo Music. Retrieved 2006-12-18.
- "Interview with Coko: A New Beginning". GospelFlava.com.
- Bonner, Gerald. "Grateful Album Review". GospelFlava.com.
- "STAR JONES, SHERRI SHEPHERD IN 'MONOLOGUES': New black version of 'Vagina Monologues' to begin tour next month.". EURweb. 2008-01-09.
- "The Black Shakespeare Chronicles — The Rebirth of Coko". GospelCity.com. 2007-01-23.
- "SWV returns to Toronto 2008 DJ Skimpy and Kid Kutts birthday". 2008-04-04.
- "Coko Clemons of SWV is Curvy and Fab in Glam Photo Shoot!". UrbLife.com. February 17, 2011.
- "Coko Chart History". Billboard.com.