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The Journey of Tweet: From Sugah to Stardom


Charlene Keys, better known by her stage name Tweet, is an American singer-songwriter whose remarkable journey through the music industry is marked by resilience, talent, and a series of notable collaborations. Born on January 21, 1971, Tweet's career has been a fascinating blend of personal triumphs and professional achievements, making her a distinctive voice in the world of R&B.

In the early nineties, Tweet embarked on her musical journey by joining the female trio Sugah. This decision led her to leave her daughter with her parents in Panama City, Florida, and immerse herself in the Swing Mob collective under the guidance of Devante Swing. Sugah, composed of Tweet, Susan Weems, and Rolita White, became a foundational chapter in her career, and it was during this time that she formed a close friendship with Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott—a relationship that would prove to be instrumental in her later success.

Around 1999, Tweet returned to her parents' home in Panama City. However, her musical journey was far from over. In 2001, she was featured on Missy Elliott's platinum-selling third album, Miss E... So Addictive, contributing to several tracks. This exposure paved the way for Tweet to work with other prominent artists, providing background vocals for Ja Rule's Pain Is Love, Bubba Sparxxx's Dark Days, Bright Nights, Timbaland and Magoo's Indecent Proposal, and Petey Pablo's Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry.

March 2002 marked a significant milestone in Tweet's career with the release of her debut solo single, "Oops (Oh My)". Produced by Timbaland and featuring guest vocals by Missy Elliott, the single soared to number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. The success of "Oops (Oh My)" set the stage for the release of her debut album, Southern Hummingbird, in April 2002. With production from a team of notable producers and guest appearances from Elliott, Bilal, and Ms. Jade, the album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart. It also spawned two follow-up singles: "Call Me" and "Smoking Cigarettes".


Tweet's presence in the music industry continued to grow as she lent her voice to various projects. In 2002, she featured on Trina's second single "No Panties" and contributed background vocals to Meshell Ndegeocello's Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape, Karen Clark Sheard's 2nd Chance, and Whitney Houston's Just Whitney.... Her collaboration with Missy Elliott on Under Construction saw her appear on four tracks and make cameo appearances in two music videos.


Despite a nomination for a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for Best New Artist, which she lost to Ashanti, 2002 was a pivotal year for Tweet as she was awarded the Key to the City of Rochester, New York. Over the next few years, she continued to make significant contributions to the music industry, providing background vocals on 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, which was nominated for a Grammy Award.


Tweet's second album, It's Me Again, was released on March 22, 2005. Featuring production from Missy Elliott and collaborations with her daughter Tashawna, Rell, and Elliott herself, the album peaked at number 17 on the Billboard album charts. However, it soon fell off the charts, prompting Tweet to change management and sign with Mathew Knowles of Music World.

In 2007, Tweet's performance at the 4th annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors, honoring Missy Elliott, and her subsequent signing to Jheryl Busby and Mike City's Umbrella Recordings, marked another chapter in her career. Although her third album faced delays and challenges, Tweet's passion for music remained undiminished. She participated in The Dresden Soul Symphony project in 2008, further showcasing her versatility and commitment to her craft.


After parting ways with Umbrella in 2010, Tweet signed with MC Lyte's DuBose Music Group and released the Simply Tweet EP in 2013. This five-track set, recorded live with a full band, demonstrated her enduring talent and reached the top thirty on the US Billboard Independent Albums and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.


In July 2015, Tweet confirmed her signing with the independent eOne Music label. Her third studio album, Charlene, featuring production from Missy Elliott, was released on January 22, 2016. In an interview with Billboard, Tweet expressed her excitement about reuniting with Timbaland and Missy Elliott and described the album as a significant growing experience.


Tweet's journey from Sugah to stardom is a testament to her resilience, talent, and the enduring power of authentic artistry. Her contributions to the music industry continue to resonate, making her a beloved figure in R&B and a source of inspiration for aspiring artists.

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