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Deniece WilliamsDeniece Williams is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and record producer who achieved success in the 1970s and 1980s. Ms. Williams, whose music has been influenced by soul and funk, is known for her hits such as “Free”, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy”, “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle”, and for her many vocal duets with Johnny Mathis.

The single “Free” reached #2 on the Black Singles chart, #25 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on the British Singles chart. She also shared a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with pop singer Johnny Mathis in 1978 with the duet “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late”. The duet also topped the Black Singles and Adult Contemporary charts. Williams also topped the dance charts with her disco single “I’ve Got the Next Dance”. Mathis and Williams also recorded the popular theme to the 1980s sitcom Family Ties, “Without Us”.

Williams moved on to the American Recording Company (ARC) in the early 1980s where she scored the top ten R&B smash hit “Silly” in 1981. The following year, yet another famed producer, Thom Bell, helped Williams score another #1 R&B chart-topper with her remake of The Royalettes’ “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle,” which became a Top 10 pop hit as well, reaching #10.

In 1984, Deniece released the album Let’s Hear It for the Boy, in which the title track reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was featured on the soundtrack to Footloose. The song would prove to be the biggest pop hit of her career. She continued releasing albums during the 1980s such as Hot On The Trail (1986), Water Under The Bridge (1987), and As Good As It Gets (1988), which featured her last Top Ten hit to date, “I Can’t Wait”, written by Skylark.

Although Deniece had recorded one inspirational song on almost each of her albums, it was in 1980 that her musical career path began change toward one of her favorite things, Gospel music. She joined with friend Phillip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire fame) in 1983 to record “They Say.” Deniece later recorded the song with Christian artist Sandi Patti and won a Grammy for it. In 1986, she would release her first full-length gospel album, So Glad I Know which brought her two Grammy awards.

Deniece would continue to write, record and release Gospel music for the next several years. In 1999 she recorded the Gospel album This Is My Song, which brought her another Grammy award for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.

Deniece continues to work on countless projects and has an incredible four-octave range and distinctive soprano voice. Her vocal range was also pointed out by The New York Times, “Miss Williams mounted a spectacular vocal display in which her penetrating, feline soprano soared effortlessly to E flat above high C, and she worked various vowel sounds into prolonged feats of vocal gymnastics.”


Rachelle Ferrell makes her audience feel at home
Published:March 4, 2012, 12:00 AM
Buffalo News Review


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