The Oakland native's singing debut came at age 12 on an MC Hammer recording. She has released two albums of smooth, soulful R&B that led critics to throw her in with the neo-soul songstress crowd: Brandy, Monica and Beyonce. Cole's signature, though, is an urban grit that adds a rough edge to the studio shimmer and acrobatic vocalizing. If this were the "60s, Cole would be the Shangri-La's to Beyonce's Supremes, weighting buoyant, soulful pop with inner-city sadness.
At this point, it seems little can stop her ascent to true divahood. She's appeared on tracks with Diddy and R. Kelly, guested on Snoop Dogg's Father Hood and played herself in the 2007 teen movie How She Move. Diddy showed up as a guest as did the rappers T.I., Too $hort and a host of others on her 2007 sophomore album, Just Like You, which debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's pop charts and No. 1 on the R&B charts. Cole currently is recording a project with the working title The Love Album for release in the fall.