Cheryl Pepsii Riley

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Cheryl Pepsii Riley
Born Cheryl Riley
(1968-10-18) October 18, 1968 (age 48)
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
  • Singer-songwriter
  • Actress
Years active 1985–present
Spouse(s) Mike Grace (m. 2003–09) (1 child)
Musical career
Associated acts Tamela Mann, D'atra Hicks, Michel'le, Keith Sweat, Babyface, Johnny Gill, Tyler Perry

Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley (born October 18, 1968) is an American R&B/Soul and Gospel singer and actress. She is best known for her 1988 ballad "Thanks for My Child." She also starred in Tyler Perry's stageplays including; Madea's Class Reunion (2003) and Why Did I Get Married? (2006).

Early life and career[edit]

Born Cheryl Ann Riley in Brooklyn, New York she worked as a nurse for handicapped children before beginning her singing career. She topped the US R&B chart and hit the Top 40 on the pop chart at #32 with the 1988 ballad, "Thanks for My Child," a song written by Full Force. It peaked at #75 in the UK Singles Chart in January 1989.[1] The genesis of "Thanks for My Child" began with Full Force member Bowlegged Lou's experience with the complications of his wife's first pregnancy.

As pivotal as "Thanks for My Child" was for Riley's career, it was not the first song Lou offered to her. She refused his offer to record "I Wonder If I Take You Home" because she did not want to spread herself too thin, but after it became a million-selling hit for Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam in 1985, she thought she had missed her big break. Lou then offered her "Thanks for My Child". Riley still had her nurse's job when the song went to number one on the R&B chart.

The title track single to her debut LP Me Myself and I made it to number 18 on the R&B charts in early 1989. Another single, "Every Little Thing About You," peaked at number 55 on the R&B charts later that year. Her second LP, Chapters, was issued and yielded the singles "How Can You Hurt the One You Love" and a cover of Aretha Franklin's 1968 hit "Ain't No Way". Her third album All That! was released by Reprise, and featured the singles "Gimme" and "Guess I'm in Love."

Later career[edit]

After a hiatus from the entertainment industry, Riley re-emerged in the late 90's by appearing on the songs "I Love It" and "Look Around" on The Beatnuts album A Musical Massacre. Riley also starred in a number of gospel plays for best-selling playwright Tyler Perry, including Madea's Class Reunion, Madea Goes to Jail, Why Did I Get Married?, Laugh to Keep from Crying, Madea's Big Happy Family and the most recent, A Madea Christmas. Riley also appeared in the film versions of Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea's Big Happy Family. She is also starred in Tyler Perry's Madea Gets A Job (2012) and Tyler Perry's Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned (2014). On June 27, 2006, she released her first album in fourteen years, called Let Me Be Me.

Personal life[edit]

In 2003, she married New York native Mike Grace and together they had a son named John Grace. In a recent interview with Lenny Green she mentioned that the couple had divorced.



  • 1988: Me, Myself & I (#128 Billboard 200, #9 R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)
  • 1991: Chapters (#62 R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)
  • 1993: All That!
  • 2006: Let Me Be Me
  • 2015: Still Believe


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 463. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.