News / Arts & Entertainment

Sisters With Voices, The Grammy Comeback Kids

Sisters With Voices
Sisters With Voices
Katherine Cole
At last year’s Grammy Awards, Adele was the big "comeback kid," triumphant after vocal cord surgery and a long recovery.  And while there is no such drama around the Grammys this weekend, there is a comeback to cheer for - the return of SWV, Sisters With Voices.

It’s been 20 years since we first heard from SWV. Originally a gospel group, the trio from New York City had a long string of R&B hits in the 1990s, including "I'm So Into You," "Right Here," "You’re The One," and "Weak."

But their chart success wasn’t enough to keep SWV happy, and the band called it quits in 1998.

"It was a tumultuous breakup, actually. We spent years not even talking," said SWV's Tamara Johnson George, or Taj.  "We all tried different projects and we realized we weren’t being as fulfilled as we were as a group together. So we put our differences aside and put this album together. And it is really and truly one of the best albums we’ve ever done."

Sisters With Voices, The Grammy Comeback Kids
Sisters With Voices, The Grammy Comeback Kidsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Taj isn’t the only one to feel that way about SWV’s first CD in 15 years. "I Missed Us" was released in April and debuted at number 6 on Billboard’s R&B chart. And at a time when "girl groups" don’t have many spots on the charts, a Grammy nomination for return of Taj, LeAnne "LeLee" Lyons and Cheryl "Coko" Clemmons is all the more amazing.

SWV is one of the five acts up for the Best Traditional R&B Performance trophy at the 55th Grammy Awards this Sunday in Los Angeles. Competition is fierce - the other nominees are: Anita Baker’s "Lately," Melanie Fiona’s "Wrong Side of a Love Song," "Real Good Hands" By Gregory Porter and "Love on Top" by Beyoncé. SWV’s nomination comes for their cover of Patti LaBelle’s 1984 hit "If Only You Knew."

When Taj was in the studio cutting this song, did she just know that it had "it"?

"As an artist, every time you record a song, you want to believe that it has 'it' And the only person who can tell you it doesn’t have it is God," she said. "So, yes, every song you record is 'it.'"

The group’s last Grammy nomination was in 1993, when they were up for Best New Artist and lost to Toni Braxton. In the two decades since, the music business has undergone dramatic changes and Taj says SWV had to change to keep up.  
    
"We came from an era where labels were dominant and they did everything. All you had to do was sing and they covered everything," she said. "Nowadays, you have to be active and involved in your career or else it will fail. You’ll disappear because no one is willing to do it for you anymore, you have to do it yourself. Do-it-yourself is so prominent in this industry. It was a big wake-up call for us! We were spoiled. In this new industry, you have to be well rounded. You just can’t be a pretty face and voice anymore. That no longer floats."
    
Taj has been spending the week taking care of last minute Grammy chores in between shuttling her son to karate and working with her non-profit organization VIP, Visions with Infinite Possibilities. She says the mission of the group is to support women and children who have suffered domestic abuse.

But this week, finding just the right outfit to wear to the Grammy Awards in Hollywood was high on her "to do" list.

"You want to make sure your outfit is perfect. You’re looking for the best outfit that is going to bring the most attention to you as possible," she said. "You want your hair to be perfect. Your makeup has to be perfect.  You have to learn how to walk down that red carpet and grab the media’s attention so that they want to catch you (and talk with you). Hence all of the 'naked outfits' that you see at the Grammy’s every year."

It’s a safe guess that photos of the outfits Taj, LeLee and Coko settled on will be up on their website, soon after they take their red-carpet walks Sunday. While you’re there, check out their international touring schedule and more tracks from their disc "I Missed Us."

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."