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  Deniece Williams  
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Click below for a Deniece Williams sample: 

Watching Over



 

Deniece Williams owns of the sweetest voices in soul music, and she utilized that voice on a series of hits in the 70s and 80s.  With a range comparable to Minnie Riperton, Williams scored repeatedly with singles that charted on the soul, pop, and adult contemporary charts.  She was also one of the relatively few female artists to maintain creative control of her output, writing and producing much of her material.

 

She began her career in the late 1960s with a single, “Love Is Tears,” but received a big boost when she was selected as one of the members of Wonderlove, Stevie Wonder’s backing singers, in 1972.  With Wonder, she was part of his legendary tour with the Rolling Stones, and was able to establish new contacts that would prove beneficial to her solo career.

 

Upon leaving Wonder in 1975, she affiliated herself with Maurice White, then looking to establish a stable of artists under his direction.   The result was the 1976 album This Is Niecy, which featured the mellow classic “Free,” a top five single and British number one.   The album also contained the spiritually-oriented  “Watching Over,” a reflection of her gospel roots.  The album also featured "Cause You Love Me Baby" and "That's What Friends Are For."


Her sophomore album Songbird was titled after her nickname, and was home to another hit in “Baby, Baby My Love's All for You."

During this period, she also formed a successful partnership with Johnny Mathis, teaming up with the legend for her first chart-topping crossover smash, “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.”   Their album That’s What Friends Are For went gold and contained a further top 10 cut with their remake “You’re All I Need To Get By.”  Williams and Mathis would connect again in the 80s for the theme to Family Ties.

 

In 1979, Williams notched a club hit in “I’ve Got The Next Dance,” but the album from which it came, When Love Comes Calling, had disappointing sales.

This situation was remedied with My Melody, perhaps her finest hour. Produced by Williams and architect of Philly soul Thom Bell, this record included great numbers like “Do What You Feel” and “Silly.”  It is often cited as one of the best soul albums of the decade.   Bell and Williams combined for the following year’s number one single "It's Gonna Take A Miracle" as well.


Williams reached the pinnacle of her mainstream popularity when her contribution to the Footloose soundtrack, "Let's Hear It for the Boy," was one of the biggest hits of 1984.     The record of the same name also had the uplifting paen to black pride "Black Butterfly.”


Her contract with Columbia ended in 1986 and Williams began recording gospel exclusively.  Her debut for Sparrow, So Glad I Know, was produced by Maurice White and won the first of many awards she would receive for her gospel recordings.  She returned to secular music with an album of covers in 2007.


Deniece Williams' Deepest Grooves


This Is Niecy
(Columbia, 1976)


Songbird (Columbia, 1977)


That's What Friends Are For
(Columbia, 1978)


When Love Comes Calling (Columbia, 1979)


My Melody
(Columbia, 1981)


Niecy (Columbia, 1982)


I'm So Proud
(Columbia, 1983)


Let's Hear It for the Boy (Columbia, 1984)


Hot on the Trail (Columbia, 1986)


So Glad I Know  (Sparrow, 1986)


Water Under the Bridge (Columbia, 1987)


As Good as It Gets (Columbia, 1988)


Lullabies to Dreamland (Word, 1991)


Greatest Gospel Hits (Sparrow, 1994)


Best of Deniece Williams: Gonna Take a Miracle (Columbia, 1996)


This Is My Song (Harmony, 1998)


Love, Niecy Style (Shanachie, 2007)


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