Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Cheryl Lynn - bio and personal message

With an inimitable style that has equal parts sweetness & sass – oftentimes thick with rhythm, singer Cheryl Lynn (b. Lynda Cheryl Smith, March 11, 1957, Los Angeles) racked up an impressive 19 charted R&B singles in the period between 1978-1990. Known primarily for her two biggest hits – 1978’s “Got To Be Real” & 1984’s “Encore,” – both which hit the Number One position on the Billboard R&B chart, Lynn was a consistent presence on the R&B and Dance charts, usually choosing an uptempo song as her primary single from the nine lps she recorded, the bulk of which were on the Columbia label.

Despite her talent, the lady with an impressive five-octave vocal range did have other aspirations for her life’s career. Having enrolled in The University of Southern California, where she majored in Speech Pathology, Lynn was only a few credits away from completing her degree when she was lured by a boyfriend at the time to compete on a nationally syndicated t.v. show, the dubiously titled Gong Show, hosted by Chuck Barris. It was on that show that Lynn sang Billy Preston & Bruce Fisher’s “You Are So Beautiful,” easily beating the competition with a 30-point perfect score. However, it wasn’t until nearly three months later, when the show was aired for broadcast, that fate showed it had more sublime plans for the shy singer. During an interview with author Adam White, Lynn recalls: “I went down there one Thursday morning to do the show…We taped in June and the show did not air until Sept. 14th, so I had completely forgotten about it. In fact, I didn’t even see it.”

Lynn may have missed her performance, but the recording industry didn’t. The reaction to her t.v. show appearance was swift. Among those who were struck by the singer’s talent and range was Marty Paich, father of singer David Paich of the pop group Toto. A major-label bidding war ensued, with Lynn being wooed by Warner Bros., Atlantic, CBS & ABC Dunhill, label homes to major R&B/Pop female soul singers of the day such as Candi Staton, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack & Chaka Khan, among others. Lynn met with the different label executives and found herself most comfortable with Bruce Lundvall & Walter Yetnikoff of CBS.

For her first recording session, Columbia chose top studio musicians to work with the fledgling singer/songwriter. Session stars such as the aforementioned Paich, as well as Harvey Mason, James Gadson, Bernard Purdie and others were hired to help Lynn create her own personal sound. Further commenting on “Got To Be Real”, she notes during White’s interview: “I would sing what I felt, and that was the basis of my first album…the melody line and the lyrics were written by me.” She later adds: “All of the vocals on that first album were the first rundown. I sang while the musicians played in the studio. So the vocals were done live.” The collaboration evidently paid off, as Lynn had a Number One R&B hit right off the bat, with “Got To Be Real” eventually climbing into the upper register of the Billboard pop top 20. Other industry publications at the time such as Cashbox and Record World had Lynn solidly in the pop top 10. Her awards were numerous, on the strength of her debut alone, scoring such prestigious honors as #1 Top Female Vocalist (singles), #1 Top Female Disco Crossover, #2 Top Female Vocalist (albums), #3 Top Black Contemporary Female Crossover and #4 Top New Female Vocalist (pop singles) – all awards bestowed by just Cashbox Magazine! Record World honored Lynn with #3 Top New Female Vocalist, #8 Top Female Vocalist and #20 Top Solo Artist, all within the competitive pop category. Additionally, at the 3rd Annual R&B Awards, telecast in June, 1980, Cheryl was presented an award for Best New Female Vocalist.

The singer’s follow-up single “Star Love,” as well as choice lp cuts, were a showcase for Lynn’s mighty and awesome multi-octave vocal range. Favorably compared to the late Minnie Riperton and Chaka Khan by several periodical reviews and fan magazines, “Star Love” was a tour-de-force example of what the singer was capable of. In the liner notes for the singer’s 1996 Columbia/Legacy Got To Be Real: The Best Of Cheryl Lynn compilation, music editor and writer A. Scott Galloway notes: “…The song opens with a slow, scene-setting intro, gallops into a disco trot (and) then takes to the stars. ‘Take me in your arms and rock with me, yeah,’ Cheryl repeats with the fervor of a Buddhist chant, then tosses words aside for something that begins like a “soo-wee” hog call and ends like a rooster runnin’ out of gas!” During Lynn’s 1976 Gong Show stint, guest panelist judge Della Reese was awestruck by the singer’s range, calling it “unbelievable”.

Cheryl Lynn continued to have success on the r&b and club charts into the late 80’s with subsequent releases “Georgy Porgy” (a song she recorded with Toto); “You Saved My Day”; “I’ve Got Faith In You”; “Keep It Hot”; “Shake It Up Tonight”; “In The Night”; “Instant Love”; “If This World Were Mine”(her duet with Luther Vandross); “Encore”; “Fidelity”; “At Last You’re Mine” (from the movie soundtrack Heavenly Bodies); “New Dress”; “If You Were Mine”; “Everytime I Try To Say Goodbye” and “Whatever It Takes” – all the while working with top musicians and producers such as Ray Parker Jr., Luther Vandross & James “Jimmy Jam” Harris & Terry Lewis to provide different dimensions of the Cheryl Lynn sound. The artist has also produced herself on several occasions, which at the time was a rarity in the business.

In 1995, Ms. Lynn signed an exclusive deal with Japan’s Avex Records and released the critically acclaimed Good Time lp, which was produced by noted artists Teddy Riley & Jazzie B of Soul II Soul and Ms. Lynn. On the lp, Cheryl revisited her 1978 chart-topper with a funky updated sound. The album also featured a great selection of uptempo and ballad cuts showing that the singer’s pipes were undiminished. In addition, noted remixer and d.j. Junior Vasquez was commissioned to mix the title cut for single release. The album sold well in the targeted Asian market, however Lynn has since severed her ties with the label and is currently working on new projects. She continues to be a presence on the West Coast in her hometown of Los Angeles, frequenting musical & charitable events. She has also performed on several tv specials, appearing on HBO’s Sinbad's Summer Soul Jam 4 (1998), hosted by comedian/actor Sinbad, and more recently on ABC’s The Disco Ball...A 30-Year Celebration, which aired in January 2003. Her latest recording, "Sweet Kind Of Life" (2004), which was also written and produced by Jam & Lewis, was featured on the film soundtrack for the animated film Shark Tale.

On September 25, 2001, “Got To Be Real” was re-certified as a platinum seller, for sales in excess of one-million copies by the RIAA.

On September 19, 2005 Cheryl’s "Got To Be Real" was inducted into the Dance Music Hall Of Fame. Here's a picture of me with Cherly Lynn at this event:

I do have to say I am a little upset that Cheryl Lynn uses a FEW of my photos from the above event on her personal MySpace page and not only do I not get any credit for the images she took from my website, but she has the nerve to try to erase me out of the above picture as well. What's up with that?? Sorry I'm not Luther or James Brown. Don't see them getting erased out in her pictures.

My original webpage which Cheryl stole my pictures from: HERE

Bio from MySpace



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. [IMG][/IMG]