Deniece Williams

Deniece Williams is an American soul singer and songwriter with a musical career that dates back to the early 1970s. Between 1976 and 1984, she released seven albums on Columbia/CBS. Distinguished by her high-octave quiver, she scored international hits with “Free,” “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle,” and “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.”

Williams was born June Deniece Chandler on June 3, 1951, and raised in Gary, Ind. She initially enrolled in a nursing program at Morgan State University in Baltimore, but dropped out when her attention turned to music. She got her first singing gig at the Casino Royal and decided to pursue this full time.

Between 1968 and 1970, she released six singles as Deniece Chandler: three on Chicago small-press Toddlin’ Town Records and three on subsidiary Lock Records. A brief stint in soulsters The Lovelites yielded the track “I’m Not Like the Others,” which went unreleased until 1999. In the early ’70s, she married ex-classmate Kendrick Williams and moved to California.

Williams became a vocalist in Wonderlove, the backing band of Stevie Wonder, appearing on the albums Talking Book, Fulfillingness’ First Finale, and Songs in the Key of Life. In 1974, she appeared on albums by Minnie Riperton (Perfect Angel), Syreeta Wright (Stevie Wonder Presents: Syreeta), Esther Phillips (Performance), and Kenny Rankin (Silver Morning). Amid further performances on 1975 albums by Roberta Flack (Feel Like Makin’ Love) and Linda Lewis (Not a Little Girl Anymore), Williams signed a solo deal with Columbia Records.



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