(born Charlene Keys
, January 21, 1971) is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter.Early yearsThe youngest child of Tom and Shirley Keys, Tweet was born in Rochester, New York on January 21, 1971, and grew up singing in the church along with her parents and her four older siblings (three brothers, Tom, Cedric and Lonnie, and one sister, Sundra). Among them, the five children mastered instruments such as the piano, guitar, bass guitar, drums, and many more.As a young girl, Tweet was inspired not only by her family, but also by larger-than-life divas Janet Jackson, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston (whom she later worked with). Tweet's first steps into a career in the music industry first began when she enrolled in Rochester's School of the Arts. In 1990, at the age of nineteen, Tweet gave birth to her daughter, Tashawna. She is a gospel singer.
In the early nineties, Tweet joined the female trio Sugah, leaving her daughter with her parents in Panama City, Florida, while Tweet relocated to many places. Sugah was composed of Tweet, Susan Weems, and Rolita White, and was a part of Devante Swing's Swing Mob collective. While there, she met Timbaland, Magoo, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott (who at the time was a part of Sista), Playa, Ginuwine, and Renee Anderson who were also all a part of the Swing Mob collective. During her time with Sugah, Tweet formed a close friendship with Elliott.Around 1999 with Sugah going nowhere, no album to show, and many broken promises, Tweet returned to her parents' home in Panama City penniless and depressed. After Tweet fell into a deeper depression after a string of bad relationships and a number of jobs she had suicidal thoughts, but she received a phone call from Elliott, calling to ask if Tweet would contribute background vocals on her then-latest album Miss E… So Addictive
. Tweet felt she could tell Elliott about her situation and what she was going through. To this day she calls Elliott her "Guardian Angel".
Before Southern Hummingbird
In 2000, Tweet began recording vocals for Elliott's album and was also reunited with her old friends from the Swing Mob days, Timbaland, Magoo, Playa, and Ginuwine. She also recorded vocals for Timbaland and Magoo's follow-up to their platinum-selling 1997 debut album, Welcome to Our World
, and Timbaland's solo album, Tim's Bio: Life from da Bassment
. In 2001, Elliott released her platinum-selling third album, Miss E… So Addictive
, with Tweet contributing vocals to five tracks. 2001 also saw the release of Ja Rule's Pain Is Love
, Bubba Sparxxx's Dark Days, Bright Nights
, Petey Pablo's Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry
, and Timbaland and Magoo's Indecent Proposal
, on all of which Tweet contributed vocals.
Southern Hummingbird (2002)
In March 2002, Tweet entered the charts with her debut solo single, "Oops (Oh My)", a risqué song about self-loving and appreciation. The song was produced by Timbaland and featured guest vocals by Missy Elliott. The single hit number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and number seven on the Billboard
Hot 100, with the help of a remix featuring Fabolous. In April 2002, Tweet released her debut album Southern Hummingbird
to mostly strong reviews. The album featured production by Craig Brockman, Nisan Stewart, guitarist John "Jubu" Smith, Timbaland (who contributed four tracks) and Tweet herself. It also featured guest vocals by Elliott on "Oops (Oh My)", Bilal on "Best Friend", and BeatClub Records' Ms. Jade on "Sexual Healing (Oops Pt. 2)", and included a bonus track performed by Elliott, "Big Spender". The album was filled with soul-stirring vocals and lyrics taken from Tweet's own life experiences. The album spawned another two singles, Timbaland-produced "Call Me", and the radio single "Smoking Cigarettes", which had a video shot and directed by Little X but was never released. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard
200 chart.That year Tweet appeared as a guest vocalist on Trina's second single from her hit album Diamond Princess
. The song was called "No Panties" and was written and produced by Missy Elliott and Nisan Stewart. Tweet also appeared on Meshell Ndegeocello's Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape
, Karen Clark Sheard's 2nd Chance
, Ms. Jade's Girl Interrupted
, Whitney Houston's Just Whitney...
and Elliott's Under Construction
. Tweet appeared on four of the tracks and also made a cameo performance in both videos released from the album, "Work It" and "Gossip Folks". Tweet was nominated for a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award (among others) for Best New Artist but lost to Ashanti. However, that year Tweet was awarded the Key To The City for Rochester, New York. Along with Missy Elliott, Lil' Kim, DMX, Toni Braxton, Queen Latifah, Ananda Lewis, Playa, Jamie Foxx, Lil' Mo, AJ, Free (among others), Tweet appeared in Aaliyah's posthumous hit single, "Miss You".With 2003 came more guest vocals appearances: Madonna's American Life The Remixes Single
, Monica's After the Storm
, Mark Ronson's Here Comes the Fuzz
, and Angie Stone's Stone Love
on the 2004 Grammy Award-nominated song "U-Haul".Tweet turned to acting, having a cameo appearance in the film Honey
, directed by music video director Billie Woodruff and starring Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer, Lil' Romeo, Joy Bryant and Missy Elliott. Tweet's other acting credits include an episode of the comedy series The Parkers
in 2002, in which she performed "Oops (Oh My)" and "Smoking Cigarettes". Tweet also appeared on the Honey
soundtrack on the Elliott-produced "Thugman". Tweet also performed "Hypnotic" in the film, but it is not featured on the soundtrack.
It's Me Again (2005)
In 2004, Tweet appeared in another of Elliott's music videos, "I'm Really Hot", off of This Is Not a Test!
, but Tweet was absent from the album as a vocalist. Tweet also appeared on the posthumous unreleased Elliott-produced Aaliyah track "Where Could He Be". The song did enjoy slight radio success, but has not yet been released officially. Missy Elliott made her move from Elektra Entertainment Group to Atlantic Records, taking Tweet and The Goldmind Inc. with her.During 2003 and 2004, Tweet began recording songs for her follow-up to her Gold-certified album Southern Hummingbird
which was supposed to be released in early 2004, but due to the label changes, was pushed back. In late 2004, Tweet joined Cee-Lo Green and Teedra Moses on the 2004 Seagram's Gin Live Tour in promotion of her new single, "Turn da Lights Off" The song was produced by Missy Elliott and Kwamé, featured vocals from Elliott and contained a sample of Marvin Gaye's "If This World Were Mine" and Nat King Cole's "Lost April". While on tour, Tweet performed her old tracks, and premiered her new single and some of her newer tracks, including "My Man" and "Sports, Sex & Food".On March 22, 2005, Tweet released her second album It's Me Again
. The album featured production from Missy Elliott on seven of the tracks, Craig Brockman, Nisan Stewart, brothers Charlie Bereal and Kenny Bereal, Walter Milsap III, Kwamé, The Goldmind Inc.'s Soul Diggaz, Marty Cintron III, Madball Entertainment and, Timbaland and Tweet (who both only contributed producing credits on one track each). The album featured vocals from Tweet's 15-year-old daughter, Tashawna, on "Two of Us", Rell on "Could It Be", and Missy Elliott on "Turn da Lights Off" and "Things I Don't Mean". The album also featured the hidden bonus track "When I Need a Man" (theme song from the USA Network Original Series, Kojak, starring Ving Rhames). The album peaked at #17 on the Billboard album charts and then quickly fell off the charts due to lack of promotion and mis-management from Atlantic Records. There was talk to film a second video for either "Cab Ride" (which sampled the theme song from the TV show "Taxi,") or "Sports, Sex & Food", but this never happened. Tweet then broke away from her manager, Mona Scott, and Violator Management, and signed with Mathew Knowles of Music World, who managed the careers of Destiny's Child, Beyoncé Knowles, Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland, Solange Knowles, Sunshine Anderson, and Trin-i-tee 5:7. Tweet stills maintains a close friendship with Mona Scott and is still signed to The Goldmind Inc.Tweet also appeared on Elliott's sixth album release, The Cookbook
, contributing vocals to three tracks, including the single, "Teary Eyed".
Simply Tweet (2007–present)
In 2007, Tweet departed from Missy Elliott's Goldmind camp and signed to Jheryl Busby and Mike City's record label, Umbrella Recordings, whose acts included Patti LaBelle, Carl Thomas, among other well-known R&B chart climbers. There she began recording material for her third album, formerly titled, Love, Tweet
.The album was rumored to be led by the singles "My Dear", "Anymore" and "Real Lady", however all singles were scrapped due to internet leaks. In 2010, Tweet split from Umbrella Recordings due to lack of promotion and ongoing delays. In May 2012, Tweet signed to MC Lyte's record label, DuBose Music Group, and renamed her album Simply Tweet
.Tweet has recently confirmed that the first official single for the album has been chosen, details of the single are yet to be confirmed by Tweet and her record label. On June 5, 2012, Tweet posted a new song of her covering Aretha Franklin's "Day Dreaming" on her new website iamsimplytweet.com as a part of her weekly Soundcloud-hosted special, Tweet Tuesdays
.On February 26, 2013, Tweet released a five track EP Simply Tweet
recorded live with a full band. This marked her official return to the music industry. The release with preceded by the single "Enough". During late May 2013, Tweet performed two sold out concerts at London's Camden Jazz Café, her first time performing in the United Kingdom. Her as yet to be titled third album is slated for release September/October 2013.
Tweet currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.On December 2, 2006, two songs, "Whisper" and "See Ya", leaked onto a Tweet Myspace page, but were confirmed by Tweet to be songs rejected from past albums. Another song has been posted on her Myspace page called "Give It To Ya", along with a sneak peek of her next album."Boogie 2nite" (a song from the album Southern Hummingbird
) was covered by Booty Luv (vocalists Nadia and Cherise from the British act Big Brovaz) which reached number two on the UK Singles Chart on December 10, 2006, after three years of UK club success. However, there was no official single release of Tweet's original.Tweet performed with Timbaland, Eve, Keyshia Cole, Nelly Furtado, Fat Man Scoop and Ciara at the 4th annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors, honoring the work of Missy Elliott which aired on October 8, 2007.On April 26 and April 27, 2008, Joy Denalane, Bilal, Dwele and Tweet performed with The Dresden Soul Symphony in Dresden, Germany. The musicians reinterpreted soul hits and combined them with classical music. An album The Dresden Soul Symphony
and DVD were later released on October 24, 2008.Unrelated directly to music, Tweet starred on a MTV FYI type show, informing teenagers about STDs and to practice safe sex.