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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Deniece Williams

Collection of Deniece Williams

Deniece Williams grew up singing in a Pentecostal church, which was strict on the congregation listening only to gospel music. During the late '60s, she was a candy striper in a Chicago hospital. Outside of wanting a 1959 Thunderbird, she had no serious ambitions. Nontheless, she still had interest in listening to music. Her favorites were Carmen McRae for her diction and Nancy Wilson, who, for Williams, exemplified class and elegance. However, her mother, also a singer, was her idol. The Gary, IN, native was also fond of Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Minnie Riperton, and Patti LaBelle. (The latter two she tried to emulate before her introduction into the music industry.)

In need of employment and with college on the back burner, the fledgling singer was introduced to Wonder by John Harris, her cousin from Detroit, who happened to be on tour as a valet for Wonder (and was also his childhood friend). Her cousin arranged for Williams to meet Wonder backstage at a concert. Six months later, the gifted vocalist was flown into Detroit by Wonder for an audition. Among the 26 who auditioned, Williams, who sang "Teach Me Tonight," was only one of three who was hired by Wonder. The three became known as Wonderlove.

Williams being hired by Wonder was a big surprise. Soon after the audition, she toured with Wonder, who was the opening act for the Rolling Stones at the time. Her touring with Wonder lasted for several years. Though her stint with Wonder was a great experience and opportunity, it was also difficult considering Williams had to make many adjustments professionally and personally (she had two sons prior to taking the gig: one 4 months old, the other 18 months).

Williams left Wonderlove in 1975 and teamed up with producer Maurice White, the leader of Earth, Wind & Fire. Under White's direction, Williams learned the business of music and was able to unwind and express herself musically. Under the Columbia banner, Williams released her first album entitled This Is Niecey. It featured the Billboard R&B number two single "Free," which also sealed the Top 25 on the pop charts. The song was personal to Williams, who felt restricted while with Wonderlove. The album also featured "Cause You Love Me Baby" and "That's What Friends Are For."

In 1977 the album Song Bird was released, and it featured the number 13 single "Baby, Baby My Love's All for You." The following year the dynamic singer scored her first number one song on both the R&B and pop charts with "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late," which was a duet with the legendary Johnny Mathis. The follow-up single, "You're All Need to Get By," was also recorded with Mathis and it was a Top Ten single.

Still under White's tutelage, Williams moved over to White's American Recording Company (ARC) and stumbled a few times with several releases before scoring the smash hit "Silly." Written by Williams and produced by famed producer Thom Bell, she sang this song from her own personal experience as well. The single became a Top Ten gem. In 1982 Bell returned the sweet songstress to number one with the single "It's Gonna Take a Miracle."

Always writing from her own experience, Williams wrote the Top Ten single "Do What You Feel" based on the ordeals of someone else. (A believer in the song at the time, she no longer employs those beliefs.) In 1984 Williams recorded the number one hit "Let's Hear It for the Boy." Featured on the Footloose soundtrack, the single was produced by music virtuoso George Duke, who initially thought the song was too pop-ish and would not work. However, Duke's production savvy proved to be as paramount as Williams' vocals.

In 1984 the sensational singer recorded "Black Butterfly." From a African-American perspective, Williams immediately bonded with the song. The song would become a prelude to the uplifting gospel material Williams would record a few years later. With her label, Columbia, uninterested, Williams released the gospel album From the Beginning on Sparrow Records. The album featured the Grammy Award-winning single "They Say." The same year she also won a Grammy for "I Surrender" and another for "I Believe in You" in 1987.

Album: This Is Niecy (1976)

01. It's Important To Me
02. That's What Friends Are For
03. How'd I Know That Love Would Slip Away
04. Cause You Love Me Baby
05. Free
06. Watching Over
07. If You Don't Believe
08. Free

Album: Song Bird (1977)

01. Time
02. The Boy I Left Behind
03. We Have Love For You
04. God Is Amazing
05. Baby, Baby, My Love's All For You
06. Season
07. Be Good To Me
08. The Paper

Album: (with Johnny Mathis) That's What Friends Are For (1978)

01. You're All I Need to Get By
02. Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)
03. You're a Special Part of My Life
04. Ready or Not
05. Me for You, You for Me
06. Heaven Must Have Sent You
07. Just the Way You Are
08. That's What Friends Are For
09. I Just Can't Get Over You
10. Touching Me With Love
11. Emotion
12. Too Much, Too Little, Too Late
13. Love Won't Let Me Wait
14. Without Us

Album: When Love Comes Calling (1979)

01. I Found Love
02. Are You Thinking_
03. My Prayer
04. I've Got the Next Dance
05. Touch Me Again
06. When Love Comes Calling
07. God Knows
08. Like Magic
09. Turn Around
10. Why Can't We Fall in Love

Album: My Melody (1981)

01. My Melody
02. It's Your Conscience
03. Silly
04. Strangers
05. What Two Can Do
06. You're All That Matters
07. Suspicious
08. Sweet Surrender

Album: Niecy (1982)

01. Waiting
02. It's Gonna Take A Miracle
03. Love Notes
04. I Believe In Miracles
05. How Does It Feel
06. Waiting By The Hotline
07. Now Is The Time For Love
08. Part Of Love

Album: I'm So Proud (1983)

01. Do What You Feel
02. I'm So Proud
03. So Deep in Love (With Johnny Mathis)
04. I'm Glad It's You
05. Heaven in Your Eyes
06. They Say (With Phillip Bailey)
07. Love, Peace & Unity
08. It's Okay

Album: Let's Hear It for the Boy (1984)

01. Let's Hear It For the Boy
02. I Want You
03. Start Picking Up the Pieces
04. Black Butterfly
05. Causing a Commotion
06. Haunting Me
07. Don't Tell Me We Have Nothing
08. My Baby
09. Wrapped Up (In Your Love)
10. Jesus, I Want You

Album: Hot On The Trail (1986)

01. Wiser And Weaker
02. Hot On The Trail
03. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
04. Video
05. We're Together
06. Straight From The Heart
07. Healing
08. I Feel The Night

Album: As Good as It Gets (1988)

01. I Can't Wait
02. This Is as Good as It Gets
03. We Are Here to Change the World
04. All I Need
05. Memories
06. There Is No Other
07. I Am Sure
08. It's You I'm After
09. Don't Stop the Love
10. Hold Me Tight

Album: Special Love (1989)

01. Special Love
02. Fire Inside My Soul
03. Healing
04. I'm Free
05. Every Moment
06. Who's Who
07. His Eye Is On The Sparrow
08. Give It All To You
09. Somebody Loves You
10. We Sing Praises
11. Do You Hear What I Hear

Album: Gonna Take A Miracle -The Best Of Deniece Williams (1996)

01. Free
02. I Found Love
03. Cause You Love Me, Baby
04. That's What Friends Are For
05. God Is Amazing
06. Baby, Baby, My Love's All For You
07. When Love Comes Calling
08. If You Don't Believe
09. Silly
10. It's Gonna Take A Miracle
11. Waiting
12. Do What You Feel
13. I'm So Proud
14. Too Much, Too Little, Too Late (Duet with Johnny Mathis)
15. Black Butterfly
16. Let's Hear It For The Boy

Album: Love Niecy Style (2007)

01. That's How Heartaches Are Made
02. Love's Holiday
03. This Time I'll Be Sweeter
04. If You Really Love Me
05. Someday We'll All Be Free
06. Cherish
07. Lady Love Me (One More Time)
08. The Only Thing Missing Is You
09. Never Too Much
10. Cause You Love Me, Baby



Harajuku Ken said...

thank you for the deniece williams...

Anonymous said...

thank u , but the Album: My Melody (1981)is missing

Anonymous said...

thanks for the hookup! She's truly a one in a million.

Anonymous said...

Awesome blog! The Best of Deniece Williams is missing :-(

Anonymous said...

Any link to Deniece Williams album title - From the beginning ,Thanks all.

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