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In 1992, I did what all the other 12 year-old girls were doing. I taped songs off the radio and played them back in my bedroom, imagining that I could sing like a bird and win the heart of my (*sigh*) secret crush. There was one song, by a group of R&B ladies, that none of us could get out of our heads. You remember that song, don't you?

I get so weak in the knees
I can hardly speak
I lose all control
Something takes over me

SWV. Or, for those who aren't acronym-inclined, Sisters with Voices. I'm not making this up, I assure you. So there they are, three young African-American girls: Coko, Taj, and Lelee who, like many R&B singers, sang gospel in church choirs. They had no trouble finding a manager and getting signed to RCA in 1992. Soon the girls released It's About Time, a hip-pop album that included the hit singles "I'm So Into You," "It's About Time," and the chart-busting "Weak."

The music industry was in the midst of an incredible hiphop trend which had already produced Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, and many other groups. Still, the girls hadn't prepared for the popularity of their debut album and, like any group driven by a record label, they rode it out for as long as they could. By the time SWV had completely faded from the spotlight, they'd already been featured on 5 soundtracks and an album of remixes. It was 1996.

New Beginning was released in the spring of '96 and was almost exclusively promoted to the hiphop market. After one R&B hit with "You're the One," the girls went back to the studio for 1997's Release Some Tension, which barely sold a million copies, and a Christmas project, which didn't even sell that. The disappointment surrounding their follow-up LPs may have been what motivated SWV to break up in 1998. Since then RCA has used the girls on soundtracks, remixes, and a "Best Of" compilation.

Although SWV had great harmony and beautiful voices, they weren't able to adapt to the changing market. The three sisters with voices "reunited" in 2002, although for what reason no one is quite sure. They have yet to release a new album.

Need more information? Go visit swvonline.com.

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