What Does SWV Stand For?

When many people look back on the music of the 1990s, R&B is often the first sound that comes to mind. Girl groups in particular such as SWV changed the landscape of music forever and redefined what it means to be in a girl group.

SWV was first discovered by Jermaine Dupri

The soulful SWV trio was first formed in New York City in the early 1990s. Cheryl “Coko” Clemons, Leanne “LeLee” Lyons, and Tamara “Taj” Johnson entered the music industry when R&B was in the midst of a makeover, as elements from other new sub-genres such as new jack swing began being incorporated into other kinds of music.

Jermaine Dupri was working as a record producer at the time when he first discovered SWV. He signed them to his So So Def record label almost immediately after, and the group would soon be launched into superstardom.

SWV became one of the hottest R&B groups of the ’90s

SWV released their debut album It’s About Time in 1992 and it immediately put them on the map. The album spawned seven singles and sold over 2 million copies in its first year. Songs such as “Right Here” and “I’m So Into You” made a splash in the music world, while the single “Weak” became a Billboard Hot 100 number one hit.

SWV released their second album New Beginning in 1996. It included hit singles such as “You’re the One” and “Use Your Heart”; the latter was the debut of superproducer duo The Neptunes, which included a young Pharrell Williams. The album was certified platinum with over 1 million copies sold.

Their third album Release Some Tension, released in 1997, had guest appearances from some of the biggest names in hip-hop at the time. Missy Elliott, Snoop Dogg, Puff Daddy, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, MC Lyte, Redman, and other talented artists contributed to the album.

However, the group disbanded less than a year later in 1998. Everyone went their separate ways and began to establish themselves as solo artists, with Coko releasing her debut solo album Hot Coko the following year.

SWV stands for Sisters With Voices

Group names are critical to ensuring that the musicians’ talents align with the image they project. For SWV, their name says everything you need to know about them: the acronym is short for Sisters With Voices.

SWV has continued to reunite over the years for performances, their WE TV docuseries SWV Reunited, and a Verzuz battle against fellow ’90s R&B icons Xscape.

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