Cheryl "Coko” Gamble
|Birth name||Cheryl Elizabeth Gamble|
|Also known as||Coko|
|Born||June 13, 1970|
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Origin||New York City, New York, U.S.|
Cheryl Elizabeth Gamble (formerly Clemons; born June 13, 1970), better known by her stage name Coko, is an American R&B recording artist and television personality. Gamble is best known as the lead singer of the American R&B vocal trio Sisters With Voices (SWV). Aside from her R&B career, Gamble also has a solo gospel career.
Early life and career
Gamble was born in The Bronx, New York as Cheryl Elizabeth Gamble to gospel singer Mother Lady "Clyde" Tibba Gamble, Gamble was raised in the South Bronx section. Gamble began singing at age 3, beginning her recording career as a choir member in Hezekiah Walker's Love Fellowship Crusade Choir.
Sisters With Voices (SWV)
From 1990 to 1998, Gamble sang with the platinum recording group, Sisters With Voices (SWV). Collectively the female trio released five albums - with their debut It's About Time (1992) selling over three million copies making SWV a big hit and earning the group numerous awards and accolades, including a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best New Artist at the 1994 Grammy Awards. After their 1997 Christmas album, SWV disbanded. To commemorate their tremendous success and huge contribution to the contemporary R&B genre in the early 1990s, six compilation albums were released compiling their best efforts. Gamble made the final decision to disband the group. In an interview, Gamble stated it was not a mutual decision, that many people tried to convince her to stay but it was inevitable. Gamble went on to say that she didn't feel appreciated, that there was no unity within the group and the communication was gone. Gamble did not speak to founding member Leanne "Lelee" Lyons for several years. SWV eventually reunited and released two albums in the 2010s.
After SWV disbanded, Gamble went on to work with other artists such as Will Smith. Gamble 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 Gamble once did with SWV. Meanwhile, Gamble 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. In 2001, Gamble 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. Gamble sang on the Brent Jones & TP Mobb single "Midnite" in 2002. Gamble 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 Gamble on lead vocals. Gamble 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. Gamble sang some of her solo hits "Sunshine", "Clap Your Hands", and the SWV song "Right Here/Human Nature".
Reuniting with SWV
Gamble 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, Gamble 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, Gamble posed for a shoot in Jackson, Mississippi with photographer Will Sterling. The photos were in fashionable gowns, set against the natural beauty of the Mississippi Delta.
Gamble has concentrated more on her family in later years, and eventually married gospel producer and drummer for Israel and New Breed, Mike "Big Mike" Clemons on October 19, 2006. They have a son, Jaylon Clemons. In February 2018, It was announced that after twelve years of marriage, Coko and Mike had legally filed for a divorce. Gamble has another son named Jazz Butler, better known by his professional name, Lil Tracy (b. 1995) Gamble currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|A Coko Christmas||
|The Winner in Me||
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|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"||—||—||29||—|
|2014||"At Your Feet"||—||—||21||—||TBA|
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, Missy Elliott: "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: "Got A Hold Over Me (Easy Lover)" Urban Renewal: The Songs of Phil Collins (Atlantic, 2001)
- Bishop Eric Mcdaniels "Somehow Someway" featuring Coko We Are Healed Butterfly (2003)
- Youthful Praise: "Up There (featuring Coko)" (Evidence Gospel, 2003)
- Onitsha: "My Life" (featuring Coko, Mary Mary and Deborah Cox) (Stillwaters Records, 2007)
- Case & Coko: "Face To Face" Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns soundtrack (Atlanta Records, 2008)
- Jon B., Coko and Jay-Z "Keep It Real" Hav Plenty soundtrack (Yab Yum, 550 Music, 1998)
- George Huff "Destiny" featuring Coko and Tasha Collins George Huff (Koch Records 2009)
- Keith Sweat My Valentine featuring Coko Til The Morning (KDS Entertainment Inc & Entertainment One Us 2011)
- Jeff Bradshaw So Thankful featuring Coko Bon Appetit Volume 1(Hidden Beach Records 2012)
- Donald Lawrence "Might God" featuring Coko Best For Last (Quietwater Entertainment 2013)
- MC Lyte "Last Time" Featuring Coko and Faith Evans Legend (2015)
- Inc, Nielsen Business Media (23 March 1996). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. – via Google Books.
- "Coko Debuts At #5 On Billboard Chart". GospelCity.com. 2006-11-08. Archived from the original on 2013-01-03.
- 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. Archived from the original on 2008-01-12.
- "The Black Shakespeare Chronicles — The Rebirth of Coko". GospelCity.com. 2007-01-23. Archived from the original on 2007-03-06.
- "SWV returns to Toronto 2008 DJ Skimpy and Kid Kutts birthday". 2008-04-04.
- "Coko Formerly of SWV". 1 October 2008.
- "Coko". WE tv.
- "Coko Chart History". Billboard.com.
- "Coko - Chart history (Billboard 200)". Billboard.com. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- "Coko - Chart history (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard.com. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- "Coko - Chart history (Independent Albums)". Billboard.com. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- "Coko - Chart history (Gospel Albums)". Billboard.com. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- "Coko - Chart history (Hot 100)". Billboard.com. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- "Coko - Chart history (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.com. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- "Coko - Chart history (Hot Gospel Songs)". Billboard.com. Retrieved February 15, 2015.