Born and Raised:
Real name: Charlene Keys.
Born: March 4, 1971 in Rochchester, NY.
Charlene "Tweet" Keys was the youngest child of Tom and Shirley Keys. She grew up singing in the church along with her parents, three brothers (Tom, Cedric and Lonnie) and sister, Sundra. The five children mastered various instruments, and Tweet herself learned the guitar. Her first steps into a career in the music industry began when she enrolled in a performing arts school. In 1990, when she was 19, Tweet gave birth to a daughter, Tashawna.
In the early nineties Tweet joined the female quintet Sugah and relocated to Virginia, leaving her daughter with her parents in Florida. While in Virginia, she met many artists who would go on to have successful music careers, including producer/rapper Timbaland, the rapper Magoo, Missy Elliott and singer Ginuwine. Tweet wound up becomg good friends with Missy.
The Turning Point:
When the group Sistah went nowhere, Tweet eventually returned to her parents' Florida home and fell into a state of depression due to a lack of personal and professional success. Suicidal, she one day received a call out of the blue from Missy Elliott, asking her to sing background vocals on an album she was working on. Tweet accepted and Elliott helped bring her out of her depressed state as well as get a recording contract.
Career Ups and Downs:
To date, Tweet has released two successful solo albums, 2002's Southern Hummingbird and 2005's It's Me Again. In late 2007, Tweet said in a series of interviews that due to record label politics, she had given serious thought to quitting the music business. Most of the problems were due to record label mergers during the recording of her second album, she said. Eventually, Tweet was released from her recording contract with Elektra/Atlantic Records.
Eventually, Tweet signed with the independent label Umbrella Records and her third album, Love, Tweet
, was scheduled for release in December 2008. However, the release date came and went without an album. Eventually she and the label parted ways and Tweet found herself signed to DuBose Music Group in 2012. After this, she issued a string of previously unreleased songs on her SoundCloud page before finally releasing a five track EP called Simply Tweet
in February 2013.
"I've been Tweet since I was a little girl. It's a nickname. Everybody in my family now wants to claim that they named me that. No one knows why. It's been Tweet forever though." -- Charlene "Tweet" Keys, to MTV News, on her nickname.