By Tammy Reese | Wednesday, September 27, 2023 | 9:27 AM ET
In the realm of music legends, Cheryl Cooley and KLYMAXX stand tall as an unconventional force behind unstoppable funk. Cooley’s electric passion and creative spirit have carved a path that will forever be remembered in the music industry. From their groundbreaking hits songs like “Meeting in the Ladies Room” and “The Men All Pause” resonated with audiences, empowering women and challenging societal norms. Cooley’s unmatched talent as a guitarist and KLYMAXX’s impact continues to inspire and shape the future of music. Cheryl Cooley and her bandmates have left an enduring legacy of funky beats that will forever captivate and energize audiences worldwide.
Can you share an experience where your creativity played a significant role in shaping a KLYMAXX song or album?
Cheryl: By infusing electric passion into the rhythmic beats. My passion and creativity carved the unique sound into the spirit of KLYMAXX. As an guitarist, vocalist, composer, arranger, and gifted performer, I crafted the unique funky beat. Bold words like “the men all pause when I walk into the room”, “there’s a meeting in the Ladies’ room” and “don’t slap me cause I’m not in the mood” set KLYMAXX in a position of power in the industry and blew open doors in a male-dominated industry. The contagious funky beat set new standards climbing Billboard Charts over and over.
KLYMAXX and I continue to ignite diverse audiences of all demographics across the globe. I also continue to drop new music and detonate audiences into the joy of the funk.
How do you define the unique sound and spirit of KLYMAXX?
Cheryl: Kymaxx is a self-contained all-female band; this means we play every instrument live with arrangements. There are still a lot of people that have not seen an all-female band ‘till this day and I hope to keep changing that with our performance tours. Quiet as it is kept, KLYMAXX paved the way for many of the more prominent female artists of this current generation , such as Beyoncè, Lizzo, and Fantasia to have all — female bands.
What challenges did you face as a female artist in the music industry during the mid-eighties?
Cheryl: Woman can do so many incredible things, such as giving birth to a human, why would anyone think we could not be killing musicians as well? Many of times during my sound checks, I have to deal with men who size us up, and secretly stand on the sideline wondering if we really are good enough, but Baby you should see their faces after I get off stage or finish one of my guitar solos, lol. And, I deal with this present day, even with having as many accolades as I am blessed to have…so there’s a lot of growth that needs to be done. But, yeah, anyone who starts an all -female band, know I am proud of you, and feel free to reach out for strategies on how to overcome some of the obstacles.
As a gifted performer, what advice would you have to new singers and performers to ensure that their live performances captivate and engage the audience?
Cheryl: Learn everything you can about your craft. How to properly perform your instrument. Like if you are a vocalist, learn how to breathe properly when singing. If you’re an instrumentalist, how to hold and play your instrument properly. How to read music. How to read contracts. Maintain your health. And the most important, I always tell aspiring artists… SAVE MONEY, PUT MONEY ASIDE. Because there are going to come those times when the music productions and gigs will slow down and you want to have enough to sustain yourself now and even later in life without the stress of not having enough.
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Owner of Visionary Minds Public Relations and Media, Tammy Reese is an award-winning writer and journalist best known for landing major interviews with Angela Bassett, Sharon Stone, Sigourney Weaver, Laurence Fishburne, Geena Davis, Billy Porter, Morris Chestnut, Nelly, Mona Scott Young, Giancarlo Esposito, Luke Evans, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jennifer Connelly, Joseph Sikora, Meagan Good, Leon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Phylicia Rashad, Omar Epps, Courtney Kemp, Vivica A Fox, Ryan Coogler, and so many more. She is a proud member of ForbesBLK as well as New York Women in Film and Television.