Keyshia Cole

  • R&B singer and songwriter born Keyshia Johnson in 1981 in Oakland California.
  • With an absent father and an addict for a mother, Johnson was adopted by family friends at the age of two, and her last name was changed to Cole, the last name of her new parents. She loved music as a child, and she had aspirations as a singer. She made connections in the Bay area music industry, singing backup to MC Hammer when she was twelve years old. Still in her teens, she became of friend of Tupac Shakur, and Shakur promised to help launch her singing career – that was derailed when Shakur was murdered in a drive-by shooting. She participated in projects by Bay area rappers D’Wayne Wiggins and Messy Marv, and then moved to Los Angeles. In 2002, she met a talent manager at a record label, and after an audition, she was signed to a recording contract.
  • In 2004, her debut single was released. Never, featuring rapper Eve, was part of the soundtrack to the film Barbershop 2: Back In Business. It made the R&B charts, and it was included in Cole’s debut album released in 2005, The Way It Is. Four more singles from the album were released, and the later singles became hits – I Should Have Cheated reached #30 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and Love reached #19 and #3 respectively. These songs helped the album to achieve platinum status, and it remained on the Billboard 200 album chart for over a year. Cole co-wrote every song but one on the album.
  • In the summer of 2006, a reality docu-series about her life titled Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is was shown on BET. It was very popular, and it was renewed for two more seasons for a total of 33 episodes. She later had reality shows in 2012, 2015 and 2017, and in 2019 a documentary on BET aired titled Keyshia Cole: My New Life. These programs showed Cole as she dealt with the daily challenges of performing, recording, motherhood, marriage and divorce, and her mother’s addictions.
  • In 2006, she was the featured artist on Sean Paul’s single (When You Gonna) Give It Up To Me, which peaked at #3 on the Hot 100. The following year, she was the featured artist on Diddy’s Last Night, which reached #10 on the chart.
  • Her next two albums – Just Like You and A Different Me – were released in 2007 and 2008. Both were certified platinum, reaching #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Three singles from Just Like You topped the R&B Singles chart – Let It Go, I Remember and Heaven Sent. Let It Go became her most successful song on the pop chart, peaking at #7 on the Hot 100. She received four Grammy nominations for the album. A Different Me included top 10 R&B singles Playa Cardz Right, You Complete Me and Trust. Cole supported the album with her own headlining tour. Her earlier tours were in 2005 and 2007, as the opening act for Nelly, Kanye West and R. Kelly.
  • Cole released four studio albums from 2010 to 2017. They were less popular – the only single in the top 10 of the R&B chart was Enough of No Love, which reached #7 in 2012. She continued to be active in reality television and she focused on motherhood during the 10s. She also spent years trying to keep her biological mother sober, but ultimately her mother died of an overdose in 2021. A television film of her life, with Cole playing herself, is planned for June of 2023, to be shown on the Lifetime cable channel.
  • In 2021, she announced that she will release one more album and then retire from music. She said that she wants to own a coffee shop and a veterinarian hospital. I suspect that there will be more music in her though. Here is her video for her breakthrough single Love.

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