Neneh Marianne Karlsson (born 10 March 1964) and known as Neneh Cherry is a two-time Grammy Award-nominated and MTV Europe Music Award-winning singer-songwriter and rapper. Cherry is also an occasional DJ and broadcaster. Cherry blends hip hop with other influences, and experienced some moderate mainstream success with several of her recordings.
Cherry was born Neneh Marianne Karlsson, to a Sierra Leonean father, drummer Amahdu Jah and a Swedish painter/textile artist mother, Monica Karlsson, known as Moki Cherry. Her siblings include the singers Titiyo Jah and Eagle-Eye Cherry. Her step-father Don Cherry helped raise her since birth so Neneh took his surname. Cherry lived the first years of her life in the small English town Pudsey.
“My mother is Swedish and she’s an artist. She’s an amazing lady. When I was a baby and she was going to design school, she used to take me along in a basket!”
Soon Moki met Don and the family accompanied him on his tours through Europe and North America. In the early 1970s the Cherry family nestled into a small apartment on East 9th Street in New York City. Moki still lives in New York, either in Garden City, New York, or in a loft in Queens, New York just across the East River from East 60th Street. Moki has exhibitions in major museums and galleries in New York and Stockholm.
Cherry married drummer Bruce Smith in 1983 and their daughter Naima was also born that year. They divorced in 1984. In 1987 she met producer Cameron McVey at Heathrow Airport. Cherry and Cameron were en route to Japan as fashion models as part of London designer Ray Petri’s Buffalo Posse. Cherry proposed, and the two married in 1990. Together they have daughters Tyson (1989) and Mabel (1996). Their relationship is also work-related, as McVey produced and co-wrote Raw Like Sushi; together they have supported a variety of heavyweight British acts; and they are in the group cirKus together.
In 2004, Cherry became a grandmother when her 19-year-old daughter Naima had son Louis Clyde Flynn Love.
The Cherry-McVeys have lived throughout Europe. In 1993 they moved to Spain, and lived there until 1999. In 1995, they briefly attempted to live in New York. They bought a home in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York. Soon after moving in, the couple was held up at gunpoint and robbed by a teenage bandit. The entire family packed up again and headed back to London’s Primrose Hill. They next returned to Cherry’s childhood home in Sweden; living in the same schoolhouse-turned-home (featured in Homebrew album artwork ) that Cherry grew up in. Currently, they split time between their country house near Birmingham and Wolverhampton and London.