Keyshia Cole (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Keyshia Cole (born October 15, 1981) is an American R&B singer-songwriter, actress and record producer. She gained nationwide acclaim when her 2005 debut album, The Way It Is, was certified platinum by the RIAA. Her sophomore album, Just Like You, went into production shortly after and was released in September 2007 and certified platinum four months later. Her third studio album, A Different Me, was released in December 2008 and has also been certified platinum. All three of these albums were supported by her record breaking reality/documentary series Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is which aired on BET from 2006-2008, giving viewers a closer look into Cole's career and family life with her biological mother and sister. After a two-year hiatus, she released her fourth studio album, Calling All Hearts, in December 2010. Her second reality show, Family First premiered on October 9, 2012 shortly before the release of her fifth studio album, Woman to Woman on November 19, 2012.
1981–2002: Early life and career beginnings
Keyshia Cole was born on October 15, 1981 in Oakland, California. She was born to Francine "Frankie" Lons and Sal, her now deceased father. She was later adopted at age two by family friends Leon and Yvonne Cole, changing her last name to Cole. Along with her brother Sean (also known as Nutt-So), Cole was first introduced into the music industry at age 12, when she met and recorded with MC Hammer. She later formed a friendship with Tupac Shakur, who promised to help her start her singing career, asking her to write a hook on his upcoming project, the night he died unexpectedly. Cole moved to Los Angeles at 18 to pursue a music career. During this time, Cole collaborated with artists from her native Bay Area, among them D'Wayne Wiggings of Tony Toni Tone and Messy Marv. In 2002, she was introduced to A&M Records A&R Ron Fair. After hearing an unfinished version of her single "Love", which would eventually become her first platinum single, he signed her and began mentoring her.
2003–2007: The Way It Is and Just Like You
Cole's debut single, "Never", featuring Eve, was released on March 23, 2004 to promote the soundtrack to the film Barbershop 2: Back in Business. The single failed to chart, but it eventually became the closing track on her debut album, The Way It Is. On November 9, 2004, Cole released her first single from The Way It Is entitled "I Changed My Mind" featuring Kanye West. The radio remix, featuring rapper Shyne reached #71 in the US. Her second single from the album, "(I Just Want It) To Be Over", was released on April 5, 2005 and reached #1 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 (#101). Cole completed her debut album in early 2005. In anticipation of her debut album, Cole and DJ Green Lantern released a mix tape entitled Team Invasion Presents Keyshia Cole in June 2005 featuring remixes of hip-hop instrumentals and snippets of songs from her album. It featured appearances by Remy Ma, Fat Joe, and Ghostface Killah. The Way It Is was released on June 21, 2005. It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200, selling 89,000 copies in the first week of release. It has since sold 1.5 million copies, receiving a platinum certification from the RIAA. The third single from the album, "I Should Have Cheated" was released on August 3, 2005, and reached #30 on the Hot 100. The fourth single, "Love was released on January 6, 2006 and reached #19 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. It has been certified platinum by the RIAA and is regarded as Cole's "breakthrough single".
In July 2006, Cole premiered her 6 episode docu-series entitled Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is on BET. With record breaking views, the show viewed Cole's life as an artist, daughter, and sister, performing, visiting her home town, and starting production on her next album.
Cole began work on the second album in early 2006. She was featured on the single "Last Night" by Diddy from his album Press Play which also ended up being on her second LP. The recording of the album was documented on the second season of her reality TV show Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is.
Cole released her sophomore album, Just Like You on September 25, 2007. Preceded by the #1 hit single "Let It Go" featuring Missy Elliott & Lil' Kim and top 10 US R&B/Hip-Hop Songs club banger "Shoulda Let You Go" introducing childhood friend, Amina, the album debuted at #2 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 281,000 copies in its first week. After four months of release, the album was certified platinum by the RIAA, just like her debut, and has gone to sell 1.7 million copies in the US alone. After being nominated for four Grammys, Best Contemporary R&B Album, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2008 Grammy Awards and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song at the 2009 Grammy Awards, the album spawned two more #1 singles, I Remember and Heaven Sent.
Cole was also featured on Jahiem's single "I've Changed", from his album The Makings of a Man and Keith Sweat's Love U Better, which was featured on his album Just Me and the soundtrack to Why Did I Get Married?
2008–2009: A Different Me and A Different Me Tour
In early to mid 2008, Cole made several guest appearances on songs such as "I Got a Thang for You" with rapper Trina, "Boyfriend/Girlfriend" with Atlanta hip-hop group C-Side, and "Game's Pain" with west-coast native The Game. Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is premiered on BET. The 10 episode season followed up the last season following Keyshia's family and giving a look into her third studio album, A Different Me. The series concluded on December 16, 2008.
Cole released A Different Me on December 16, 2008. It debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, selling 322,000 copies in its first week. The album has gone to sell over 1,020,000 copies in the US, and has received a platinum certification from the RIAA. The album was preceded by lead single "Playa Cardz Right", with a post-humorous feature from Oakland-native and past mentor, Tupac Shakur. It was released on October 28, 2008 and reached #63 on the Hot 100. The second single from the album, "You Complete Me", was released to radio in December 2008 and reached #62 on the Hot 100. Cole released the third and final single from the album, "Trust", a duet with Monica, on May 5, 2009 and reached #5 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
To promote the album and single, Cole embarked on her very first headlining tour, A Different Me Tour in summer 2009. Throughout this time, Cole was featured as the cover artist on several magazines such as the March 2009 issue of Vibe, WordUp!, the Summer 2009 final double-cover issue of King, and the June issue of Sister 2 Sister with her mother Yvonne Cole. With more collaborations along the way with Keri Hilson on her debut LP R. Kelly's single "Number One" along with T-Pain, and Gucci Mane on his on LP The State vs Radric Davis, she began work on her fourth studio album.
2010–2011: Motherhood, Calling All Hearts and Love Letter Tour
On March 2, 2010, Cole gave birth to her first child, Daniel Hiram Gibson Jr., with her fiancée, Daniel Gibson. Almost four months later, on June 27, 2010, she returned to the spotlight, filling in for Hayley Williams to sing the chorus to B.o.B's "Airplanes (Part II)", featuring Eminem during the 2010 BET Awards. Over a year after Cole announced the beginning production of her fourth studio album, she released her first single, "I Ain't Thru", featuring YMCMB (Young Money) female rap star, Nicki Minaj, on October 15, 2010, her birthday. Although not a big hit on the charts and later revealed as a regret as a single choice by Cole, fans loved the single and viewed it as a great comeback along with credits. Her fourth studio album, Calling All Hearts was released on December 21, 2010, featuring collaborations from Timbaland, Nicki Minaj, Tank, and Faith Evans. It also featured Cole's mother Dr. Yvonne Cole on a gospel track inspired by Faith as well. With opening sales of 128,000 copies, she released Imani Entertainment as her management, shortly after. She performed the promotional single, "Long Way Down" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Wendy Williams Show, and 106 and Park, in which a 30 minute concert by her was performed. In February 2011, Cole released her second single from Calling All Hearts, "Take Me Away", to urban radio as a fan choice. Cole performed the single on January 19, 2011 on Conan. The single's video, directed by Taj Stansberry, premiered on VEVO on April 18, 2011 and was also released on 106 and Park later that day. The song has since then peaked on the Billboard US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at #27.
On May 21, 2011, Cole and then fiancée, Daniel Gibson wed in a private ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada. In June 2011, Cole embarked on the Love Letter Tour, a tour with R. Kelly, for the second time in her career. Promoting Calling All Hearts, Cole went on the nationwide tour as an opening act, along with Marsha Ambrosius shortly before beginning production on her fifth studio album.
2011–present: Woman to Woman and "Keyshia & Daniel: Family First"
Cole started development on her fifth studio album shortly after she came out with her fourth album (Calling All Hearts). Cole began production on the project working first with writers Ester Dean and Betty Wright. She also collaborated with producers Boi-1da, Cool & Dre, Bangladesh, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Toxic, and Earl Powell. This is her first project to be released without A&R Executive Ron Fair. She stated that this is unlike any other album she has released and that it is her most evolved album yet.
In mid-July 2011, Cole tweeted that she, her husband Daniel, and James DeBose will be launching a new reality TV show, entitled "Keyshia & Daniel: Family First". Shooting of the show began during the Summer of 2011. During the 8 episode docu-series, Cole will be crafting her follow up to Calling All Hearts. "I just kind of lay out all my emotions then we start from there" says Cole. "I usually work with big name producers and stuff like once all from my heart and soul is out that I need to get out." Aside from a look into the making of her new album, currently titled Woman to Woman, Cole and her husband, Daniel, re-wed during taping. The first episode of the show aired on BET on October 9, 2012 with 2.9 million viewers.
The lead single from Woman to Woman , "Enough of No Love", featuring YMCMB rapper and past collaborator, Lil Wayne, was released to iTunes and radio on July 3, 2012 to very positive critical reception . A week after, the song debuted at #56 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart. It reached a peak at #7. The following single, "Trust and Believe" was released on October 22, 2012. Her fifth studio album, Woman to Woman was released on November 19, 2012.
Musical style and voice
Cole possesses the vocal range of a soprano.
Cole grew up listening to mentor Tupac Shakur along with R&B singers Faith Evans, Brandy, Monica. She cites Mary J. Blige and Brandy as her biggest inspirations. In an interview, Cole spoke about artists from the 1980s that influenced her. "Anita Baker, her voice is incredible and her lyrics are deep. Really listen to them." Cole proclaims. "Big Daddy Kane, the original? you can't think Brooklyn or door knockers and not think Big Daddy Kane, smooth operator: One of hip-hop's pioneers. LL Cool J, one of the first Mc's to really dissect lyrics and turn them inside out; and he made it sexy! MC Lyte, The female MC that rhymes in such a way that you don't care if she was male or female...her voice tone is crazy, and her lyrical game bananas. Queen Latifah, She represented the strong female MC, she showed us and taught us about flow and lyrical dexterity. Kid 'n Play, They showed you how to take your rap game to the next level...movies!"