Cheryl Elizabeth Gamble (born June 13, 1970), better known by her stage name Coko is an American R&B/Gospel singer. Prior to her solo gospel career, Gamble is best known as the lead singer of the American R&B vocal trio Sisters With Voices (SWV).
Clemons began her recording career as a choir member in Hezekiah Walker's Love Fellowship Crusade Choir.
SWV - Sisters With Voices
From 1990 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 a big hit. After their 1998 Christmas album, SWV disbanded. To commemorate their tremendous success and huge contribution to the 1990s 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 wasn't a mutual decision, that a large number of 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 communication was gone. She didn't speak to founding member Leanne Lelee Lyons for several years.
After SWV disbanded, Coko went on to work with additional artists such as Will Smith. 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. Notwithstanding both the album and singles didn't 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 additional artists such as Jennifer Holliday, Patti Labelle, and Tramaine Hawkins. Clemons sang on the Brent Jones & TP Mobb single "Midnite" in 2002. She additionally 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 a few 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 throughout 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 additionally 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 a few 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 were in fashionable gowns, set against the natural beauty of the Mississippi Delta.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|A Coko Christmas||—||—||—||—|
|The Winner in Me||—||55||38||4|
|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: "Easy Lover" Urban Renewal: The Songs of Phil Collins (Atlantic, 2003)
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, 2009)
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)