Cheryl Lynn (born Lynda Cheryl Smith on March 11, 1957, in Los Angeles) is an African-American disco, R&B and soul singer, who scored fame in the late-1970s and throughout the 1980s.
Lynn's singing career began when she was a young girl in her church choir. But her professional singing career started in 1976 when she landed a job as a background singer in the national touring company play, The Wiz, before landing the role of Wicked Witch of the West.
Probably the most famous contestant to appear on the maligned The Gong Show, she won the competition in 1976 while singing Joe Cocker's You Are So Beautiful. Lynn later told Dick Clark during her appearance on American Bandstand that record industry executives were calling about her soon after the win.
After signing with Columbia Records, Lynn released her self-titled debut album, Cheryl Lynn. The LP featured her first and biggest hit, Got To Be Real, which has since been called one of the defining moments in disco. The song peaked at #12 on the pop singles chart and #1 on the R&B chart. Lynn would score subsequent successes with such songs as 1979's Star Love, 1981's Shake It Up Tonight, If This World Were Mine, a 1982 duet with Luther Vandross that covered a Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell song, and 1984's Encore, which was written and produced by the Minneapolis funk duo, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
She also provided the female backing vocal on the single, Georgy Porgy, by the pop-rock band Toto, from their 1979 debut album. Although the band charted more then a dozen pop hits throughout the years, it was Cheryl's vocal on Georgy Porgy that aided the group in charting their one and only R&B (#18) and Dance (#80) hit on Billboard.
Lynn released her last album to date in 1996. Entitled Good Time, it was released in Japan, the UK and later in the United States as an imported CD. That same year, she released Got To Be Real-The Best Of Cheryl Lynn. She has since kept herself active in music, touring Japan and doing the occasional gig in the U.S., performing in charity events in her hometown of Los Angeles. She has also performed on several TV specials, appearing on HBO's Sinbad's Summer Soul Jam 4 (1998), hosted by comedian/actor Sinbad, and more recently on ABC's The Disco Ball...A 30-Year Celebration, which aired in January 2003. Her latest single, Sweet Kind Of Life (2004), which was also written and produced by Jam & Lewis, was featured on the movie soundtrack for the animated film Shark Tale.
On September 19, 2005, Cheryl's classic anthem, Got To Be Real, was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame. She is considered an influence on some of today's R&B female singers, including Mary J. Blige, who, along with Will Smith, covered Lynn's signature song (Got to Be Real), also for the soundtrack of the animated film Shark Tale.