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Cherrelle Biography

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Cherrelle In-depth Biography

Cherrelle hit number one R&B with "Everything I Miss at Home" written and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Her other hits with the duo include "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On," "When I Look in Your Eyes," and a couple of debuts with Alexander O' Neal -- "Saturday Love" and "Never Knew Love Like This."

Born Cheryl Week Norton in 1958 in Los Angeles, CA, her cousin is singer Pebbles. When her family moved to Detroit, MI, she met bassist/singer Michael Henderson who had hits with Norman Conners ("Valentine Love," a number ten hit duet with Jean Carn and "You Are My Starship," a number four summer 1976 hit). In 1977, Henderson was recording his gold album In the Night-Time ("Take Me I'm Yours," "In the Night-Time") and invited Cheryl to the studio. She come there in the evenings after she'd finished working at the bank. She became Cherrelle because her boss would be stressed because she was always late for work. She'd yell, "Cher---relle, you're late!"

Cherrelle went on tour with Michael Henderson and Luther Vandross. Later, she recorded a demo that came to the attention of Tabu Records owner Clarence Avant. Her attorney father negotiated the recording contract with Avant's label that was distributed by A&M Records. Teamed with producers/songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who had hits with Tabu recording act the S.O.S. Band, Cherrelle began to have a steady stream of hits: Fragile from summer 1984 produced the singles "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" and the popular radio-aired "When I Look in Your Eyes"; High Priority had the number two R&B hit "Saturday Love," a duet with labelmate Alexander O' Neal.

Jam & Lewis decided to apply a concept LP format for Cherrelle's third album like they'd used for O'Neal's Hearsay album, Affair. The concept was the songs would be based around a romantic relationship that went bad. The LP's first single was another Cherrelle/O'Neal duet, "Never Knew Love Like This," which parked at number two R&B for two weeks on Billboard's charts in early 1988. The duo decided that "Everything I Miss at Home" should have a jazz piano lounge feel to it. It went to number one R&B in late 1988. Affair, which went to number 15 R&B in late 1988, also yielded "Affair," a number four R&B hit, in early 1989.

Her last charting LP, The Woman That I Am, with production by Narada Michael Walden, boasted "Never in My Life," "Tears of Joy," "Still in Love With You," and a cover of Carla Thomas' "Gee Whiz."

Cherrelle appears on LPs by Alexander O' Neal ("In the Middle"/"Your Precious Love" from his 1993 LPLove Makes No Sense and "Baby Come to Me" from 1997's Lovers Again) and Pebbles ("Always" from her gold Always album and on her 1995 Straight From My Heart album). Cherrelle resurfaced in 1999 with her The Right Time CD. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi

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