15 October 1981, Oakland, California, USA. R&B vocalist Cole made a favourable impression with her 2005 debut The Way It Is, a rich reward after the singer had spent several years working behind the scenes as a session vocalist. Cole grew up in inner city Oakland and showed an interest in music from an early age. By the age of 12 she had already appeared on recordings with M.C. Hammer and in her late teens she worked with Tony! Toni! Toné! vocalist Dwayne Wiggins on the soundtrack to the movie Me & Mrs Jones. More session work followed after she relocated to Los Angeles and her burgeoning reputation ensured a solo recording contract was not long in following. A&M Records threw their promotional weight behind The Way It Is, a classy collection of urban soul that had many critics trumpeting Cole as the new Mary J. Blige. Rapper/producer Kanye West made a notable contribution to the lead-off single I Changed My Mind, while the album also included Never, the previous years hit collaboration with rapper Eve from the Barbershop 2 soundtrack. Cole was rewarded with a US Top 10 placing in the first week of release.
The singer subsequently appeared on US hit singles by Sean Paul (the Step Up soundtrack single (When You Gonna) Give It Up To Me), Diddy (Last Night) and Young Jeezy (Dreamin).
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.