The stepdaughter of jazz trailblazer Don Cherry, vocalist Neneh Cherry was born Neneh Mariann Karlssson on March 10, 1964, in Stockholm, Sweden, the daughter of West African percussionist Amadu Jah and artist Moki Cherry. Raised by her mother and her trumpeter stepfather in both Stockholm and New York City, Cherry dropped out of school at age 14, and in 1980 she relocated to London to sing with the punk group the Cherries.
During a brief fling with the Slits she encountered Adrian Sherwood who was also working with them at the time. During her teenage On-U Sound flirtation she joined the merry band of New Age Steppers and put in a vocal appearance for their "Action Battlefield" LP (ON-U LP3) on the track "My Love".
With fellow 'Steppers Bruce Smith (also formerly from the Pop Group, and to whom she was briefly married) and Sean Oliver she then joined the experimental funk outfit Rip Rig & Panic, and appeared on the group's albums "God" (1981), "I Am Cold" (1982) and "Attitude" (1983). When the band broke up, Cherry remained with one of the short lived spin-off groups, Float Up CP. She then began rapping in a London club, where she earned the attention of a talent scout who signed her to a solo contract.
She subsequently became romantically and professionally involved with composer and musician Cameron McVey, who, under the alias Booga Bear, wrote much of the material that would comprise Cherry's 1989 debut LP "Raw Like Sushi" - her big time breakthrough that was an eclectic fusion of pop smarts and hip-hop energy. It spawned the singles "Manchild", "Kisses On The Wind" and "Buffalo Stance". Following some health problems she returned in 1992 with her "Homebrew" album.
Cherry returned briefly to the charts in 1994 duetting with Youssou N'Dour on the global hit "Seven Seconds". After another lengthy layoff spent raising her children, she resurfaced with the atmospheric "Man" LP in 1996 and remains quietly active in the music business to this day.
(Adapted and supplemented from Jason Ankeny's entry in the All Music Guide formally found on www.vh1.com)