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Keyshia Cole

Keyshia Cole American R&B singer-songwriter and record producer

American R&B singer-songwriter and record producer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American R&B singer-songwriter and record producer
Is Musician Singer Composer Actor Record producer Songwriter
From United States of America
Type Business Film, Television, Stage and Radio Music
Gender female
Birth 15 October 1981, Oakland
Age: 38 years
The details

Keyshia Cole (born October 15, 1981) is an American singer–songwriter, record producer, businesswoman, and television personality. She was born in Oakland, California, and her career began when she met MC Hammer at the age of twelve and later met rapper Tupac Shakur. At the age of eighteen she moved to Los Angeles and was later introduced to A&M Records. She released her debut album, The Way It Is (2005), which spawned five singles: "Never", "I Changed My Mind", "(I Just Want It) To Be Over", "I Should Have Cheated", and "Love". It was certified gold within 17 weeks, and then platinum just eight weeks later. The album stayed on the charts for over a year, eventually selling over 1.6 million copies.
Cole released her second album Just like You (2007), the album debuted and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200. It was nominated for Best Contemporary R&B Album at the 50th Grammy Awards. The album has been certified platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America, and has sold 1.7 million copies in the U.S. A Different Me is Cole's third album, released in 2008. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 322,000, the highest of Cole's career. The album has been certified platinum by the RIAA.
Calling All Hearts is Cole's fourth album, released on December 21, 2010 in the United States by Geffen Records. The album debuted and peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200, with first week sales of 129,000. The album has sold 400,000 copies in the U.S. as of November 2012. Cole's fifth album Woman to Woman (2012) debuted at number ten on the Billboard 200, with first week sales of 96,000, lower than her last effort. The album has sold 329,000 copies in the U.S. as of September 2013. Cole's sixth album Point of No Return (2014) was released on October 7, 2014, and had unsuccessful sales, selling less than 45,000 copies and being Cole's lowest-selling album to date.
Along with her music, Cole has ventured into reality television. She signed to a reality/documentary series Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is which aired on BET from 2006 until 2008, giving viewers a closer look into Cole's career and family life with her biological mother and sister. Her second reality show, Family First premiered on October 9, 2012. Her third reality show Keyshia Cole: All In premiered on February 24, 2015.

Early life

Keyshia Cole is the biological daughter of Francine "Frankie" Lons and boxing trainer Virgil Hunter. Cole and Hunter would meet for the first time in 2016 after a paternity test confirmed their connection. She was later adopted at age two by family friends Leon and Yvonne Cole, changing her last name to Cole. At age twelve Cole was introduced into the music industry, along with her brother Sean (also known as Nutt-So), when she met and recorded with MC Hammer. She later formed a friendship with Tupac Shakur, who promised to help her start her singing career asking her to write a hook on his upcoming project the night he died unexpectedly. Cole moved to Los Angeles at 18 to pursue a music career. During this time, Cole collaborated with artists from her native Bay Area, among them D'Wayne Wiggings of Tony Toni Tone and Messy Marv. In 2002, she was introduced to A&M Records A&R Ron Fair. After hearing an unfinished version of her single "Love", which would eventually become her first platinum single, he signed her and began mentoring her.


2004–2006: The Way It Is

Cole's debut single, "Never", featuring Eve, was released on March 23, 2004 to promote the soundtrack to the film Barbershop 2: Back in Business. The single failed to chart, but it eventually became the closing track on her debut album, The Way It Is. On November 9, 2004, Cole released her first single from The Way It Is entitled "I Changed My Mind" featuring Kanye West. The radio remix, featuring rapper Shyne reached #71 in the US. Her second single from the album, "(I Just Want It) To Be Over", was released on April 5, 2005 and reached number one on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 (101). Cole completed her debut album in early 2005. In anticipation of her debut album, Cole and DJ Green Lantern released a mix tape entitled Team Invasion Presents Keyshia Cole in June 2005 featuring remixes of hip-hop instrumentals and snippets of songs from her album. It featured appearances by Remy Ma, Fat Joe, and Ghostface Killah. The Way It Is was released on June 21, 2005. It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200, selling 89,000 copies in the first week of release. It has since sold 1,600,000 copies, receiving a platinum certification from the RIAA. The third single from the album, "I Should Have Cheated" was released on August 3, 2005, and reached number thirty on the Hot 100. The fourth single, "Love was released on January 6, 2006 and reached nineteen on the Hot 100 and number three on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. It has been certified platinum by the RIAA and is regarded as Cole's "breakthrough single".

2007–2009: Just Like You and A Different Me

Cole began work on the second album in early 2006. She was featured on the single "Last Night" by Diddy from his album Press Play which also ended up being on her second LP. The recording of the album was documented on the second season of her reality TV show Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is. Cole released her second album, Just Like You on September 25, 2007. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 281,000 copies in its first week. After four months of release, the album was certified platinum by the RIAA, just like her debut, and has gone to sell 1.7 million copies in the US alone. Preceded by the number one hit single "Let It Go" featuring Missy Elliott & Lil' Kim, "Let It Go" has sold over one million copies in the U.S. and has been certified platinum by the RIAA. The second single "Shoulda Let You Go" featuring Amina Harris, fared well on charts peaking at number seven on the US R&B/Hip-Hop Songs The album's final single Heaven Sent, followed in the previous singles success. "Heaven Sent" is Cole's third number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs from Just Like You. It peaked at number one for nine consecutive weeks. It charted on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart for 55 weeks. On the Billboard Hot 100, it has peaked at number 28. The album's third single I Remember, reached number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. Cole received a variety of nominations for the album including four Grammys, Best Contemporary R&B Album, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2008 Grammy Awards and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song at the 2009 Grammy Awards.

Cole was also featured on Jahiem's single "I've Changed", from his album The Makings of a Man and Keith Sweat's Love You Better, which was featured on his album Just Me and the soundtrack to Why Did I Get Married?. Additionally, Cole was scheduled to make a cameo on Missy Elliott's upcoming album, Block Party. In early to mid-2008, Cole made several guest appearances on songs such as "I Got a Thang for You" with rapper Trina, "Boyfriend/Girlfriend" with Atlanta hip-hop group C-Side, and "Game's Pain" with west-coast native The Game. The third season of Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is premiered in October 2008 on BET. The 10 episode season followed up the last season following Keyshia's family and giving a look into her third studio album, A Different Me. The series concluded on December 16, 2008.

Cole released A Different Me on December 16, 2008. It debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, selling 322,000 copies in its first week. The album has gone to sell over 1,020,000 copies in the US, and has received a platinum certification from the RIAA. The album was preceded by lead single "Playa Cardz Right", with a posthumous feature from Oakland-native and past mentor, Tupac Shakur. It was released on October 28, 2008 and reached #63 on the Hot 100. The second single from the album, "You Complete Me", was released to radio in December 2008 and reached #62 on the Hot 100. Cole released the third and final single from the album, "Trust", a duet with Monica, on May 5, 2009 and reached #5 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. To promote the album and single, Cole embarked on her very first headlining tour, A Different Me Tour in summer 2009. Throughout this time, Cole was featured as the cover artist on several magazines such as the March 2009 issue of Vibe, WordUp!, the Summer 2009 final double-cover issue of King, and the June issue of Sister 2 Sister with her mother Yvonne Cole. With more collaborations along the way with Keri Hilson on her debut LP R. Kelly's single "Number One" along with T-Pain, and Gucci Mane on his own LP The State vs Radric Davis, she began work on her fourth studio album.

2010–2013: Calling All Hearts and Woman to Woman

Three months after the birth of her son, on June 27, 2010, she returned to the music industry, filling in for Hayley Williams to sing the chorus to B.o.B's "Airplanes (Part II)", featuring Eminem during the 2010 BET Awards. Over a year after Cole announced the beginning production of her fourth studio album, she released her first single, "I Ain't Thru", featuring YMCMB (Young Money) rap star, Nicki Minaj, on October 15, 2010, her birthday. Although not a big hit on the charts and later revealed as a regret as a single choice by Cole, fans loved the single and viewed it as a great comeback along with credits. Her fourth studio album, Calling All Hearts was released on December 21, 2010, featuring collaborations from Timbaland, Nicki Minaj, Tank, and Faith Evans. It also featured Cole's mother Dr. Yvonne Cole on a gospel track inspired by Faith as well. With opening sales of 128,000 copies, she released Imani Entertainment as her management, shortly after. She performed the promotional single, "Long Way Down" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Wendy Williams Show, and 106 & Park, in which a 30-minute concert by her was performed. In February 2011, Cole released her third single from Calling All Hearts, "Take Me Away", to urban radio as a fan choice, which was released a first on December 21, 2010. Cole performed the single on January 19, 2011 on Conan. The single's video, directed by Taj Stansberry, premiered on VEVO on April 18, 2011 and was also released on 106 & Park later that day. The song has since then peaked on the Billboard US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at #27.

On January 17, 2011, Cole tweeted "Would like for u guys to know that Manny Halley is no longer my management." followed by "Someone said if the people around u won't change, change the people around you." This happened shortly after the decline of opening week sales of Cole's album Calling All Hearts. She also disclosed that recent business disagreements also played part in their departure. This is Cole's first album to be released without Halley, as he was with her at the beginning of her career.

Cole started development on her fifth studio album shortly after she came out with her fourth album (Calling All Hearts). Cole began production on the project working first with writers Ester Dean and Betty Wright. She also collaborated with producers Boi-1da, Cool & Dre, Bangladesh, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Toxic, Mave, and Earl Powell. This is her first project to be released without A&R Executive Ron Fair. Her fifth studio album, Woman to Woman was released on November 19, 2012. The album debuted at number ten on the Billboard 200 selling 96,000 copies in its first week in the United States, becoming Cole's fifth consecutive top ten album. In its second week, the album rose to number three, where it sold 37,100 copies. In its third week, the album fell two spots to number five, selling 28,600 copies. The lead single from Woman to Woman , "Enough of No Love", featuring YMCMB rapper and past collaborator, Lil Wayne was sent to radio and released for digital download on July 3, 2012. The song was written by Redd Stylez and Cole, and was produced by Harmony with a mid-tempo R&B production. It peaked at number seven on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart. On August 9, 2012, the song debuted at number 94 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it ultimately peaked at number 84. The second single, "Trust and Believe" was released for digital download on October 22, 2012 and again on November 13, 2012. On October 24, it was ranked the number one added song to Urban radio of the week. "I Choose You" was released as the third single during August 2013. Cole embarked on her third headlining concert tour, in support of her fifth studio album, Woman to Woman. Visiting North America and Europe the tour will have 27 total dates. Singer Chrisette Michele was the supporting act for the North American leg.

2014–present: Point of No Return and It Is What It Is

In September 2013, Cole returned to the studio and began recording her sixth studio album. On October 2, 2013 it was confirmed that Keyshia Cole & her former manager Manny Halley had resolved their differences & Halley is currently managing Keyshia Cole again. The lead single from Cole's sixth studio album, "Next Time (Won't Give My Heart Away)" was released as a digital download, on March 31, 2014, and officially impacted U.S. Rhyhtmic radio on April 1, 2014. In March 2014, Cole revealed the title of her sixth studio album to be Point of No Return. "Rick James", featuring rapper Juicy J, was released alongside "Next Time (Won't Give My Heart Away)" as a digital download in March 2014, while "She" followed as the third single from the album on July 8, 2014. The album was released on October 7, 2014.

In February 2015, Cole revealed to Rap-Up TV that following the release of Point of No Return, she was contractually free from Interscope and was intending on moving forward as an independent recording artist. She also confirmed work on her seventh studio album It Is What It Is, confirming she was halfway done with ten tracks so far, stating: "I don’t know which direction I wanna go in. I don’t know if I want it to be more fun, I don’t know if I want it to be more heartfelt or if I want it upbeat, medium to slow. I’m just recording and recording and recording and recording and recording and recording and recording." In October 2016, She released a new single titled "Don't Waste My Time".

Other ventures

Reality television

In July 2006, Cole premiered her 6 episode docu-series, titled Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is, on BET. With record breaking views, the show viewed Cole's life as an artist, daughter, and sister, performing, visiting her home town, and starting production on her next album.

In mid-July 2011, Cole tweeted that she, her husband Daniel, and James DeBose will be launching a new reality TV show, entitled "Keyshia & Daniel: Family First". Shooting of the show began during the summer of 2011. During the 8 episode docu-series, Cole will be crafting her follow-up to Calling All Hearts. "I just kind of lay out all my emotions then we start from there" says Cole. "I usually work with big name producers and stuff like once all from my heart and soul is out that I need to get out." Aside from a look into the making of her new album, currently titled Woman to Woman, Cole and her husband, Daniel, re-wed during taping. The first episode of the show aired on BET on October 9, 2012 with 2.9 million viewers. In November 2014, BET confirmed that Keyshia Cole is back with her third reality TV show Keyshia Cole: All In; which was originally slated to premiere during Fall 2014, but aired on February 24, 2015. the second season of All In will premiere around Thanksgiving.

Shoe line with Steve Madden

Cole announced that she was teaming up with fashion designer Steve Madden to create her own shoe collection, specifically high heels, wedges, and boots. "I am super excited to collaborate with Steve Madden.", stated Cole. "It's something I've wanted to do for a long time. I love his style and I think we came up with an amazing vibrant collection. We have something for every fashion diva!"


Cole's voice has been described as having a "flexible range of R&B, the muscular punch of soul and the hard character of hip hop" and contains a "smoky flavor, and a husky texture." Cole's musical themes and lyrics touch upon the topics of empowering, reflection, heartache and love. Coles fifth studio album "Woman to Woman" (2012) was described by Ben Ratliff of The New York Times as a R&B almanac of shaky romance, with nearly every song a first-person narrative with gnarled details, endlessly recombining data about suspicion, jealousy, pride, punishment, self-respect, the led-up, the aftermath." The album's lyrics revolved around "emotionally painful romantic issues."


Cole grew up listening to her mentor Tupac Shakur. Cole cites Mary J. Blige as one of her biggest musical inspirations, she also cites R&B singers Brandy and Monica. In an interview, Cole spoke about artists from the 1980s that influenced her. "Anita Baker, her voice is incredible and her lyrics are deep. Really listen to them." Cole proclaims. "Big Daddy Kane, the original… you can't think Brooklyn or door knockers and not think Big Daddy Kane, smooth operator: One of hip-hop's pioneers. LL Cool J, one of the first Mc's to really dissect lyrics and turn them inside out; and he made it sexy! MC Lyte, The female MC that rhymes in such a way that you don’t care if she was male or female...her voice tone is crazy, and her lyrical game bananas.Queen Latifah, She represented the strong female MC, she showed us and taught us about flow and lyrical dexterity. Kid 'n Play, They showed you how to take your rap game to the next level...movies!"

Personal life

In May 2009, Cole began dating former NBA player Daniel Gibson. They were engaged on January 1, 2010. On March 2, 2010, they welcomed their first child, Daniel Hiram Gibson, Jr. (DJ), into the world. They were married on May 21, 2011. They renewed their vows in September 2011 in Hawaii. "My husband wanted me to have my dream wedding so he flew all of our family members here. He's giving me something I will never forget! Amazing," Cole said. The entire wedding weekend was filmed and aired on their new BET reality TV series Keyshia and Daniel: Family First, on October 9 and 16, 2012. On March 21, 2014 during an interview Keyshia Cole announced and confirmed that she and her husband NBA player Daniel Gibson had broken up, but they have not yet divorced each other.

In May 2016, she met her biological father, Virgil Hunter, who is a well known boxing trainer. She spent time with her father.


  • The Way It Is (2005)
  • Just Like You (2007)
  • A Different Me (2008)
  • Calling All Hearts (2010)
  • Woman to Woman (2012)
  • Point of No Return (2014)


  • A Different Me Tour (2009)
  • Woman to Woman Tour (2013)
  • Point of No Return Tour (2014)
  • It Is What It Is Tour (2017)
  • Sweatsuit Tour (supporting Nelly) (2005)
  • Touch the Sky Tour (supporting Kanye West) (2005)
  • Double Up Tour (supporting R. Kelly) (2007)
  • I Am Music Tour (supporting Lil Wayne) (2008)
  • Love Letter Tour (supporting R. Kelly) (2011)



Year Title
2005 All of Us (Guest appearance)
The Shop (Guest appearance)
2006–2008 Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is
2007 Snoop Dogg's Father Hood (Guest appearance)
2008 Paris Hilton's My New BFF (Guest appearance)
2012 Keyshia & Daniel: Family First
2015–present Keyshia Cole: All In


  • How She Move (2008) – Herself

Awards and nominations

Year Ceremony Category Nominated work Result
2005 Vibe Award Next Award (Tied with Young Jeezy) Won
R&B Voice of the Year N/A Nominated
Vibe Vixen Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Best New Artist Nominated
2006 BET Awards Best Female R&B Artist Nominated
Viewer's Choice Nominated
Soul Train Awards 'Best Female R&B/Soul Single Nominated
Best Female R&B/Soul Album Nominated
American Music Awards Favorite Female Artist Nominated
2007 Soul Train Music Awards Best Female R&B/Soul Single Nominated
Urban Music Awards Best Collaboration 2007 Nominated
BET Awards Best Collaboration Nominated
ASCAP R&B/Hip Hop Song "Love" Won
2008 BMI Urban Award Award Winning Songs "Let It Go" Won
Grammy Awards Best Rap/Sung Collaboration "Let It Go" Nominated
Best Contemporary R&B Album Just Like You Nominated
BET Awards Best Female R&B Artist N/A Nominated
Best Collaboration "Let It Go" Nominated
Viewer's Choice Award N/A Nominated
Early Entertainment Awards Video of The Week Heaven Sent Won
2009 Grammy Awards Best R&B Song Heaven Sent Nominated
Grammy Awards Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Heaven Sent Nominated
BET Awards Best Female R&B Artist N/A Nominated
American Music Award Favorite Female R&B/Soul Artist N/A Nominated
Soul Train Music Award Best Collaboration Trust feat. Monica Nominated
2011 Mp3 Music Awards The JSB Award Take Me Away Won
2012 Soul Train Music Award Best R&B/Soul Female Artist N/A Nominated

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