Where Are They Now: Deniece Williams

Deniece Williams is an American Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, and producer. Williams’ success comes from a phenomenal four-octave range and her distinct soprano voice. Her style is known to be influenced by funk and soul music.

Williams’ success in music came quickly when she became the backup vocalist for Stevie Wonder in the 1970’s as a part of “Wonderlove.” She stuck with Stevie Wonder for five years until 1975 when she was signed to Columbia Records. In 1976 she released her debut album, This is Niecy. Her single, “Free”, hit number two on the Black singles chart, number one on the British Singles chart, and number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1978 Deneice received another number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart while working with the singer Johnny Mathis with their song “Too Much, Too Little.” Deniece also topped the dance charts when she released her first disco single, “I’ve Got the Next Dance.” In the 1980’s Williams changed labels yet again to the American Recording Company.

She released her well known hit “Silly” which became a top ten R&B hit. She received another number one R&B hit with her remake of The Royalettes’ “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle.” This ended up becoming a Top 10 pop hit as well, when it hit number ten on the charts.Williams would get her biggest pop hit of her career when she released her album Let’s Hear It for the Boy. Her title track reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and it was even featured on Footloose! In the 1980s, Deniece continued to release albums. She released Hot On The Trail, Water Under The Bridge, and As Good As It Gets. Her album As Good As It Gets released in 1988 featured her last Top 10 hit, “I Can’t Wait.” In the 1980s much of the music Deniece created was gospel.

Eventually Williams crossed over to a career in Christian music. She joined with Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, and Philip Bailey on a show called “Jesus At the Roxy.” In 1983 Deniece recorded “They Say” with Philip Bailey.

She later re-recorded it with Christian singer Sandi Patti and won a Grammy for her work. Deniece received two more Grammy awards in 1986 when she released her first full length gospel album, So Glad I Know. She also recorded a Gospel album in 1999 called This Is My Song. This gave her another Grammy to add to the list for her Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album. More recently in 2007, after taking more then a decade off from her music career Deniece released a new R&B album called, Love, Niecy Style. Her album hit 41 on the Billboard R&B and Hip Hop album charts. Williams returned to her Gospel routes in 2007 when she released her single, “Grateful- The Redication.” It ended up reaching number 40 on the Billboard Adult R&B Singles chart. Deniece still performs on and off today. She is definitely a legend and will leave her mark on music for years to come.

Listen to the Secret Spot Boston’s home for R&B, soul, and slow jams every weekend from eight to midnight to hear more of the music from the artist we highlight on our Where Are They Now? feature.

By Samantha Wagner

If you liked this, check out:
Where Are They Now: Charlie Wilson
Where Are They Now: The Temptations

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