These are a few words that come to mind when asked to explain Lil’ Mo. The power of this self-appointed Godmother of Hip-Hop and R&B will take you by surprise. At first glance, her down to earth style, unassuming manner and petite 4-foot-11 inch frame gives the impression that she’s just along for the ride. But after spending a little time with her, the truth becomes unmistakably clear, Lil’ Mo is not a passenger—she lives life in the driver’s seat!
Having grown up in a fairly idyllic and stable home, she’s no stranger to being misjudged. While many artists spin tales of the hard-knock childhood, her family was often ridiculed for being the “fake Cosbys”. “I was a church girl.” But this natural smooth-talker quickly learned to use her New York upbringing to garner respect as she moved around the country with her military family.
Born Cynthia Loving, Lil’ Mo emerged in 1988, when her father was deployed in Korea for a year. For the first time, her family was left to fend for itself in the rough neighborhoods of Atlanta. She rebelled by listening to what her parents considered “worldly” music. “I would lock myself up in my closet and rap others’ songs…that’s when I knew that (music) is what I wanted to do.” After high school, she moved to New York City and began to frequent open mic contests at local clubs, including the famed Nell’s. Lil’ Mo’s big break came when Hip Hop group Gangstarr needed a lead singer for their Jazzmatazz world tour.
A talented songwriter, she secured a production deal with Flavahood Entertainment (Elektra Records), but before the ink on the deal could dry, Missy Elliott selected one of Lil’ Mo’s tracks for her album, Da Real World. Before long her list of writing and appearance credits read like a “Who’s Who of Hip-Hop and R&B”. In 2001, Lil’ Mo released her debut album, Based On a True Story (Elektra Records) which featured the hit single, Superwoman (Part II). Her sophomore album Meet the Girl Next Door was released in 2003 and yielded the smash collaboration 4Ever which again featured longtime friend, rapper Fabolous.
In 2007, she released Pain and Paper, a no-holds-barred lyrical journey into the experiences that transformed her into a woman…on which she openly shares her personal struggles in an effort to inspire others.
Flawlessly achieving that elusive work-life balance so coveted by the ambitious, in 2008 Lil’ Mo welcomed the birth of her third child. In 2009 she married her mentor and music director, Phillip Bryant…and in Spring 2011 this talented entertainer joined the cast of Tony nominated The Color Purple at National Theater in D.C.
What’s in the future for Lil’ Mo is her foundation…her music. P.S. I Love Me, her sixth studio album, is set to be released this year. Superwoman got stripes!