Cheryl 'Cherrelle' Norton was born in 1958 in Los Angeles, California. She is the cousin of Perri 'Pebbles' Reid and got her start in the industry after being discovered by Tabu Records founder Clarence Avant. Cherrelle's attorney father negotiated her recording contract with Avant's label and Cherrelle found herself teamed up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

In 1984, Cherrelle's debut album, Fragile was released. The album was supported by the single 'I Didn't Mean To Turn You On,' and performed reasonably well.

High Priority, Cherrelle's sophomore effort, was released in 1986 and featured the hit single 'Saturday Love' which reached #2 on the R&B charts.

For her third effort, Jam and Lewis decided to craft a concept album similar to their efforts on Alexander O'Neal's Hearsay album. Their efforts came out in the album Affair, which was released in 1988. The album centered around a relationship gone bad and scored several hits. 'Never Knew Love Like This' reached #2 on the charts and was a duet with O'Neal, while 'Everything I Miss At Home,' topped the R&B charts. The album's final single, the title track, continued the album's success, reaching #4 on the R&B charts.

The Woman I Am, Cherrelle's fourth album, was released in 1991 and did not include the usual Jam & Lewis production. The album scored minor hits with 'Tears Of Joy' and 'Never In My Life' but neither single was able to match her previous efforts.

Eight years later, Cherrelle came back with her fifth album, The Right Time.