Zulema Cusseaux (Jan. 3, 1947 — Sept. 30, 2013), known professionally as Zulema, was an American soul singer and songwriter who started in soul-trio The Lovelles, which morphed into Faith, Hope & Charity in 1970.

After one album with FHC, she departed for a solo career, releasing a pair of 1972/73 albums on Sussex, gaining notoriety with the single-mother anthem “This Child of Mine.” Between 1974 and 1978, she released four albums on RCA Victor. In 1982, she resurfaced in the soul-funk duo Zalmac.

Zulema Cusseaux was born on January 3, 1947, in Tampa, Fla., where she attended Howard W. Blake High School with friend Brenda Hilliard. They first joined local girl group The 5 Crystals, then formed soul-pop trio The Lovelles with Albert Bailey. They soon got a residency at the Pink Pussy Cat, a popular haunt in Atlanta.

In 1967, The Lovelles  issued two Motown influenced sides on the Brent label: the uptempo Zulema co-write “Here Come the Heartaches” (b/w the organ-driven “My Time to Cry”). Both songs display alto counterpoint between Cusseaux and Hilliard, who breaks with Bailey into non-lexical harmonies on each Zulema-led chorus. In 1969, they linked with producers Dave Crawford and Roy Lee Johnson in Muscle Shoals for one Stax-tinged ATCO single: the bluesy “I’m Comin’ Today” (b/w the ballad “Pretending Dear”), both featuring prominent sax and refined vocal arrangements.

In 1970, The Lovelles moved to New York, where they teamed with producer Van McCoy and changed their name to Faith, Hope & Charity. That year, they charted with two singles on soul-press Maxwell, written and produced by McCoy and partner Joe Cobb: the brassy “Baby Don’t Take Your Love” (b/w the emotive ballad “Make Love to Me”) and the string-heralded ballad “Let’s Try It Over” (a group original, b/w with the jubilant “So Much Love” ). All four sides appear on their self-titled debut album along with five other songs, including two further group-writes (“I’m Gonna Love You,” “That Lonely Feeling”), a Beatles cover (“Something“), and the eight-minute McCoy/Cobb uptune “The Wings of Love.”

Zulema left the group in 1971, shortly after their switch to Buddah-subsidiary Sussex, where she optioned a solo deal. Despite her absence, she’s credited with two songs (“I Was There” and “Who Made You Go”) on the 1972 Faith, Hope & Charity release Heavy Love, which also lists her on the group-written “Who Could Love You More Than I.” Singer Diane Destry took Zulema’s place in the group.

In 1972, Zulema released her self-titled debut solo album on Sussex (US) and A&M (Japan, Oceania).

(More to come…)


  • Zulema (1972)
  • Ms. Z (1974)
  • R.S.V.P. (1975)
  • Zulema (1975)
  • Suddenly There Was You (1976)
  • Z-licious (1978)


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