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5 Questions with SWV on Reuniting, Girl Group Drama, and New Album

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It’s hard to believe that it's been 15 years since New Jack Swing R&B divas SWV last made an album. Members Coko, Lelee and Taj, better known as Sisters With Voices, recently announced that they would be reuniting to work on a new album, out in 2012.

ESSENCE.com sat down the ladies to talk about new material, why girl groups breakup, and maintaining an SWV sound after a decade away from the spotlight.

ESSENCE.com: Girl groups tend to break up more often. Why do you think that is?
TAJ: Girl groups eventually break up if there is an abundance of the three E's: too much Estrogen, Emotions and Egos!
LELEE:
Sometimes personal feelings transfer into business and they should not. A business decision should be just that. Sometimes we have to do things for business that we wouldn’t necessarily do in our personal lives.

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ESSENCE.com: You ladies were in your teens when you first got started. How is it different now, having families to think about?
COKO: Family is first. I make sure my children are straight before I even consider walking out the door. Sometimes an emergency may occur, but I have my husband and mother to help me out as well.
LELEE: I have a 23 and 21-year-old now, so my kids are grown. But, I still hate leaving them. I could be out chasing some man or chasing ball players trying to get that child support check, but I’m a provider and that’s how it has always been.

ESSENCE.com: Now that you're back together, do you ever think about your favorite SWV songs?
COKO: My favorite is "You Are My Love" off of our second album, "New Beginning."
TAJ: I have always loved our song “Mystery.”
LELEE: Wow…I actually have three for all different reasons, but I love “Anything,” “Weak” and “You Are My Love.”

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ESSENCE.com: What’s different about your music now compared to your last project “Release Some Tension”?
COKO: We’re trying to keep that same SWV sound that everyone loved. And I’m happy my voice has matured now and I don’t sound like a chipmunk anymore!
LELEE: Honestly, I hated that project. Our new music will be all about us, not a project featuring a whole bunch of other artists.
TAJ: It makes me feel great and extremely honored to hear younger artists reference our sound, but it also makes me feel old.

ESSENCE.com: What do you think of shows like “American Idol,” “X Factor” and “Sunday Best”? Is it easier to become famous now? Is singing ability really important anymore?
TAJ: It may seem easier, but in some cases it may be tougher for those artists. They're expected to be instantly perfect, which is impossible. Ability will always play a factor, but a pretty package will always supersede the mere ability to sing.
COKO: I feel like artists who get discovered on reality shows have it much easier than when we were trying to get out there. They don't have to work as hard for it. But it's good entertainment because I sure do watch.
LELEE: I don’t think anything is handed to them, but they have way more information than we did. I hate competitions because I think it’s all fixed. I also believe those shows send mixed messages especially when you have judges who have never sung a note. It’s not fair. Sometimes you have a Sade type singer compared to a Celine Dion type and those are two different lanes.

SWV's latest single, "Co-Sign" is available on iTunes.

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