First appearing on the TV talent contest 'The Gong Show', Cheryl Lynn scored the disco classic 'Got to Be Real' in 1978 and went on to lend her powerful, soaring vocals to a variety of soul-pop projects over the years. Born Lynda Cheryl Smith in Los Angeles, her mother was musical director of the local church and she grew up singing in gospel choirs, before studying speech pathology at university. She had no real intention of pursuing a career in music until her friend Delbert Langston became her manager and sent her to audition for the stage show 'The Wiz'. With the touring musical she worked her way up from a backing singer to starring as the Wicked Witch of the West, and around the same time Langston also convinced her to change her name and to try out for the new NBC programme 'The Gong Show'. Her stunning, show-stealing performance of 'You Are So Beautiful' by Billy Preston had host Chuck Barris declaring her "an all-time great" and record companies were soon falling at her feet. Signing to Columbia Records, Toto members David and Marty Paitch produced her self-titled debut album and her single 'Got to Be Real' became a swaggering disco-soul crossover hit that reached number 12 in the US charts in 1978 selling more than 1.5 million copies. 'Star Love' and 'Shake It Up' also became popular nightclub favourites and Luther Vandross produced her swooning, romantic 1982 album 'Instant Love', which included the pair duetting on Marvin Gaye's schmaltzy, soul ballad 'If This World Were Mine'. Later albums 'It's Gonna Be Right' and 'Start Over' failed to recreate the same levels of success, but Lynn continued to tour regularly and worked as a session singer before teaming up with producer Teddy Riley to create an updated, new jack swing sound on 'Good Time' in 1995. She was also a favourite of DJ Frankie Knuckles and her singing was often used as the soundtrack to the burgeoning Chicago House music scene in the 1980s. Into the 2000s, 'Got to Be Real' was covered by Will Smith and Mary J Blige for the animated movie 'Shark Tale'.