With a new single on the radio, a comeback album called I Missed Us scheduled for the spring and a reality show in the works, one wouldn’t think all of this would be from a group that hasn’t recorded in almost 15 years. But SWV was never your typical girl group, were they?
LeLee, Taj and Coko, better known as SWV (Sisters With Voices), first dominated the R&B world nearly two decades ago with their 1992 debut album It’s About Time, followed by 1996’s New Beginning and 1997’s Release Some Tension. Then in 1998, the trio disbanded. After time apart due to Coko’s solo career, each woman’s growing families and personal differences, the Sisters have squashed their beef and returned to show their loyal fans that they are back and stronger than ever. At a listening party in their hometown of New York City, SWV talked with Parlour about their reunion, what they’re bringing back to the music scene and their favorite tracks on I Missed Us.
Parlour: What was it like being back in the studio together after all these years?
Coko: It was good. It’s been 15 years since we been in the studio! It was a lot of fun and hard work.
What happened to the super long nails you used to rock?
Coko: (laughs) The doctors wouldn’t let me leave the hospital without cutting them after I gave birth to my first child.
What do think about R&B music of today?
Taj: You’re the one listening to it, I’ve been out of the scene. What do you think?
I think there hasn’t been a lot of R&B artists out in recent years, especially female groups.
Coko: You’re right, alot of R&B music today isn’t R&B anymore, it’s more pop. The music today is a lot of sex too. We’re here to bring R&B back, to bring groups back.
Listening to the tracks from your new LP I Missed Us, it sounds like classic SWV. Was that the intention?
LeLee: We wanted to remain classic SWV. I’m almost 40 years old, we’re not out here trying to be 20. We wanted to remain our age and show everyone we can be 40 and fly and that’s what we’re representing. We’re making music for our age group and if we get some new young fans, that’s cool too.
How was it balancing a hectic family life and recording another album?
Coko: Family comes first. We’re not leaving home until everyone’s taken care of.
Are you excited about doing the Essence Music Festival?
Taj: Yes! We’re so excited. I can’t wait. I don’t care which stage we perform on, I’m just happy to be there.
Many girl groups have suffered horrible breakups, what is SWV’s secret to reconnecting?
Coko: We fell out for awhile, but we realized that we needed each other. We grew up together, we put our feelings aside to make it work.
Coko, you came up with the album’s title, I Missed Us, why that name?
Coko: I love the song, it’s a song on the album. We missed each other, we missed the fans, we missed making the music, so what better title than, I Missed Us?
What is each of your favorite songs on the album?
LeLee: My favorite song is “All About You” because for four minutes you forget about all the problems you have, it makes you want to party.
Coko: My favorite song is “Everything I Love,” I dedicated that one to my husband.
Taj: “Best Years,” it makes me think of every dude that ever did me wrong and I give them the finger.
With new singles out from Monica, Brandy and now SWV, it’s easy to say the divas of the 90’s are making a strong comeback. And that’s great because we missed them! “I Missed Us” comes out on April 17, but you can check out the video to their debut single off the album, “Co-Sign,” here. In addition to the ESSENCE Music Festival, keep a look out for other upcoming tour dates with fellow New Jack Swing artists like New Edition, KC and Jojo and Keith Sweat.