Cheryl Lynn

Cheryl Lynn (born March 11, 1957) is an American soul-funk singer who released six albums on Columbia between 1978 and 1985, scoring big with the post-disco/boogie evergreen “Got to Be Real.”

She was born Lynda Cheryl Smith on March 11, 1957, in Los Angeles. As a child, she sang in her church choir. In early 1976, she performed Joe Cocker‘s “You Are So Beautiful” for a taping of The Gong Show, on which she scored a perfect 30. Soon thereafter, she got her first professional singing gig in the musical drama The Wiz, where she played the role of Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West.

That fall, her Gong Show segment aired on NBC, arousing interest from executives with Atlantic and Columbia. Atlantic’s attempts to contact her were unsuccessful but Columbia secured her for an intended one-off single. The resulting “Got to Be Real,” recorded in April 1978, was co-written between Lynn, producer David Foster, and Toto musician David Paich. With its descending bass groove (reminiscent of “Best of My Love” by The Emotions) and distinct, blaring chorus line, the song shot up the Billboard charts (Pop #12, R&B #1), prompting a full album.


  • Cheryl Lynn (1978)
  • In Love (1979)
  • In the Night (1981)
  • Instant Love (1982)
  • Preppie (1983)
  • It’s Gonna Be Right (1985)
  • Start Over (1987)
  • Whatever It Takes (1989)


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