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Deniece Williams

One of the most distinctive vocalists who arrived during the soul era, Deniece Williams is known for soaring, four-octave soprano voice, late-'70s and early-'80s R&B classics such as "Free" and "Silly," and the 1984 number one pop hit "Let's Hear It for the Boy." Born June Deniece Chandler in Gary, Indiana, she grew up singing in a Pentecostal church, which forbid the congregation to listen to anything but gospel music. Outside of wanting a 1959 Thunderbird, she had no serious ambitions but was deeply interested in music. Her favorite singers were Carmen McRae (for her diction) and Nancy Wilson, who, for Williams, exemplified class and elegance. However, her she also looked up to her parents, both of whom sang. From 1968 through 1970, Williams recorded a handful of singles for the Chicago-based Lock and Toddlin' Town labels as Deniece (or Denise) Chandler. None of them charted, but "I'm Walking Away" and "Mama, I Wish I Stayed Home" became Northern soul cult classics.

In need of employment and with college on the back burner, the fledgling singer was introduced to personal hero Stevie 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, Williams was flown into Detroit by Wonder for an audition. Among the 26 who auditioned, Williams, who sang "Teach Me Tonight," was one of three hired by Wonder. The three became known as Wonderlove. Her touring with Wonder lasted for several years, a period in which she recorded background vocals for Talking Book, Fulfillingness' First Finale, and Songs in the Key of Life, Wonder-produced Syreeta and Minnie Riperton sessions, and other releases by the likes of Esther Phillips and Roberta Flack.

Williams' solo career gained serious momentum after she left Wonderlove and teamed up with 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. Signed to major-label Columbia, Williams released her first album, This Is Niecy, in 1976. Co-produced by White and Charles Stepney, it featured the Billboard R&B number two single "Free," which also crossed over to number 25 on the Hot 100. "Cause You Love Me Baby" and "That's What Friends Are For" also charted.

In 1977, the follow-up Song Bird was released, and it featured the number 13 single "Baby, Baby My Love's All for You." The following year the singer scored her first number one song on both the R&B and Hot 100 charts with "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late," a duet with the legendary Johnny Mathis. The next single, "You're All Need to Get By," was also recorded with Mathis and went Top Ten. Still working with White, Williams scored another smash hit in 1981 with "Silly," co-written and co-produced by Williams with help from famed Philly soul figure Thom Bell. The single became a Top Ten gem. The following year, Williams and Bell returned to number one with another sweet ballad, "It's Gonna Take a Miracle."

Williams' biggest hit of all came two years later with "Let's Hear It for the Boy." Featured on the Footloose soundtrack, it introduced her to a new audience. The single was produced by music virtuoso George Duke, who initially thought the song was too pop and would not work. However, Duke's production savvy proved to be as paramount as Williams' vocals. Three months after the release of Footloose, "Let's Hear It for the Boy" became the title track of Williams' seventh proper solo album, which also featured the stunning "Black Butterfly," a prelude to the uplifting contemporary gospel material Williams recorded for the Sparrow label. During the latter half of the '80s, she won Grammy awards in the categories of Best Female Soul Gospel Performance (for "I Surrender All"), Best Duo or Group Gospel Performance (for the Sandi Patti duet "They Say"), and Best Female Gospel Performance (for "I Believe in You").

Throughout the following decades, Williams recorded every few years. She released three full-lengths on as many labels during the '90s. During the 2000s, she recorded only Love, Niecy Style, an album of covers produced by Bobby Eli that featured appearances from old friends Stevie Wonder, Philip Bailey, and George Duke. Each one of her '70s and '80s solo albums was reissued by a handful of labels, most prominently the U.K.'s BBR, which also assembled the extensive Black Butterfly: The Essential Niecy in 2016. ~ Craig Lytle
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: My Melody (Expanded)

1. My Melody

2. It's Your Conscience

3. Silly

4. Strangers

5. What Two Can Do

6. You're All That Matters

7. Suspicious

8. Sweet Surrender

9. It's Your Conscience (Single Version)

10. Silly (Single Version)

x

Track List: Let's Hear It For The Boy (Expanded)

1. Let's Hear It For The Boy

2. I Want You

3. Picking Up The Pieces

4. Black Butterfly

5. Next Love

6. Haunting Me

7. Don't Tell Me We Have Nothing

8. Blind Dating

9. Wrapped Up

10. Whiter Than Snow

11. Let's Hear It For The Boy (Extended Version)

12. Next Love (12" Version)

13. Let's Hear It For The Boy (12" Instrumental Version)

14. Next Love (12" Instrumental Version)

x

Track List: Niecy (Expanded)

1. Waiting By The Hotline

2. It's Gonna Take A Miracle

3. Love Notes

4. I Believe In Miracles

5. How Does It Feel (Extended Version)

6. Waiting

7. Now Is The Time For Love

8. A Part Of Love

9. It's Gonna Take A Miracle (Single Version)

10. Waiting (Single Version)

11. How Does It Feel

x

Track List: When Love Comes Calling (Expanded)

1. I Found Love

2. Are You Thinking?

3. My Prayer

4. I've Got the Next Dance

5. Touch Me Again

6. When Love Comes Calling

7. God Knows

8. Like Magic

9. Turn Around

10. Why Can't We Fall In Love?

11. I've Got the Next Dance (Single Mix)

12. I Found Love (12" Disco Mix)

13. I've Got the Next Dance (12" Disco Mix)

x

Track List: Hot on the Trail (Bonus Track Version)

1. Wiser and Weaker

2. Hot on the Trail

3. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

4. Video

5. I Feel the Night

6. We're Together

7. Straight from the Heart

8. Healing

9. The Wiser Get Weaker (12")

10. The Wiser Get Weaker (Instrumental)

11. Never Say Never (12")

12. I Confess (12" Dance Mix)

x

Track List: I'm So Proud (Bonus Track Version)

1. Do What You Feel

2. I'm So Proud

3. So Deep In Love

4. I'm Glad It's You

5. Heaven In Your Eyes

6. They Say

7. Love, Peace And Unity

8. It's Okay

9. Heaven In Your Eyes (Extended Mix)

10. Do What You Feel (Edit)

11. It's Okay (Edit)

x

Track List: When Love Comes Calling

1. I Found Love

2. Are You Thinking?

3. My Prayer

4. I've Got The Next Dance

5. Touch Me Again

6. When Love Comes Calling

7. God Knows

8. Like Magic

9. Turn Around

10. Why Can't We Fall In Love?

x

Track List: Song Bird

1. Time

2. The Boy I Left Behind

3. We Have Love For You

4. God Is Amazing

5. Baby, Baby My Love's All For You

6. Season

7. Be Good To Me

8. The Paper

x

Track List: Love, Niecy Style

1. That's How Heartaches Are Made

2. Love's Holiday

3. This Time I'll Be Sweeter

4. If You Really Love Me

5. Someday We'll All Be Free

6. Cherish

7. Lady Love Me

8. The Only Thing Missing

9. Never Too Much

10. Cause You Love Me Baby

x

Track List: Love Songs

1. What Two Can Do

2. You're All That Matters

3. Silly

4. It's Gonna Take A Miracle (Single Version)

5. My Melody

6. Now Is The Time For Love

7. Waiting

8. Too Much, Too Little, Too Late

9. When Love Comes Calling

10. I'm So Proud

11. Free

12. Baby, Baby My Love's All For You

13. Why Can't We Fall In Love?

14. I Found Love (12" Disco Mix)

x

Track List: Gonna Take A Miracle: The Best Of Deniece Williams

1. Free

2. I Found Love

3. Cause You Love Me Baby

4. That's What Friends Are For

5. God Is Amazing

6. Baby, Baby My Love's All For You

7. When Love Comes Calling

8. If You Don't Believe

9. 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

15. Black Butterfly

16. Let's Hear It For The Boy

x

Track List: As Good As It Gets

1. I Can't Wait

2. This Is As Good As It Gets

3. We Are Here To Change The World

4. All I Need

5. Memories

6. There's No Other

7. I Am Sure

8. It's You I'm After

9. Don't Stop The Love

10. Hold Me Tight

x

Track List: Water Under The Bridge

1. I Confess

2. Never Say Never

3. Water Under The Bridge

4. Love Finds You

5. Not By Chance

6. One Less Lonely Heart

7. I Believe In You

8. Someone For Someone

9. Baby This Is Love

10. Don't Blame It On My Heart

x

Track List: Let's Hear It For The Boy

1. Let's Hear It For The Boy

2. I Want You

3. Picking Up The Pieces

4. Black Butterfly

5. Next Love

6. Haunting Me

7. Don't Tell Me We Have Nothing

8. Blind Dating

9. Wrapped Up

10. Whiter Than Snow

x

Track List: My Melody

1. My Melody

2. It's Your Conscience

3. Silly

4. Strangers

5. What Two Can Do

6. You're All That Matters

7. Suspicious

8. Sweet Surrender

x

Track List: This Is Niecy

1. It's Important To Me

2. That's What Friends Are For

3. How'd I Know That Love Would Slip Away

4. Cause You Love Me Baby

5. Free

6. Watching Over

7. If You Don't Believe

Comments

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~~Silly~~by Deniece Williams #classicSOUL
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Remembering you on this special day. 3/9/17. God came to you and said no more suffering and pain. I think of you every second of my life and missing you tremendously . Till we meet again soon my love!!!!
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Ur gone 2 B with God miss u so much u took my love but U also took my soul love u Ruben #13#02
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤❤
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����
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
Bady what went wrong with us talk to me bady Frenchie ❤️❤️⚔️��⚔️��
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How blessed you were Ms. Deniece! and you in return, blessed all with your beautiful voice!!
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Love this song❤
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sherenity4li f e
I won't stop believing in myself and in you, some others are in question : )!
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very nice song. great vocal quality like Mariah, but far more class and distinction! Deniece is a real gem.
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cleopatra195 8 5 0
Yes I'm feeling this one
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It's been A little over 2 years but seems like yesterday miss u love 13.
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eagles.tra1
One of the greatest voices of our time. Timeless!
Report as inappropriate
This beautiful song!!!!
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Wow beautiful
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Big momma again. Here i am babe. Listen good brothers.
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Ladies don't do it
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Songbird
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this is old school
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If only you were here with me....but it would take a miracle cuz your in a beautiful place now it's eight months today !!!!!11/9/16 M i s s i n g you so much!!!!
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atringale4
Voice of an angel...now she sings with them.
Report as inappropriate
I was confused as to how is it that Beyonce Knowles and Michelle Willams were listed as song writers of this song when they were not even born yet, how is that?
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joylupenga
I love this song.
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AMAZING
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Alrighty Then.
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bjwwilsn2
Cleaning and jamming. That's my life right now
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mrholloway71
Damn this song bring back memories
Report as inappropriate
I lived in Calumet City, Ill and use to work at Youngstown sheet and tube steel mill. This music brings back memories, her voice is so great. Denise, hope you read this, your the best.
Report as inappropriate
Oh yes I am, I so proud, I played the lines off this, I was happy I had a strong man . I was so in love, oh well, that my life.
Report as inappropriate
~SILLY~ one of my favorite songs by Ms. Deniece Williams~~~
Report as inappropriate
Love this
Report as inappropriate
justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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Lovee This Song ��
Report as inappropriate
What a voice range Deniece possesses. Absolutely stunning!
Report as inappropriate
Reminds me when we use to go to the concerts Arco the oldies but goodies
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grandmother1 9 5 6
A beautiful song bird
Report as inappropriate
I remember some of her songs stuck deep I remember.
Report as inappropriate
It's going to take a miracle to love someone new!!!!!! I only have love for you my love !!!
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dropper14
This was a really good video in the early days of MTV...You know...when they aired music video's
Report as inappropriate
krhsmith
LUV ❤️❤️
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msilvermerli n
when I hear Lets hear it for the boy I can't help laughing, because this is the song Kevin Bacon teaches Chris Penn to dance with in Footloose
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love it!
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Beautiful music
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Inspiring and wonderful to listen to her, lasting talent
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Beautiful and angelic. So full of love.
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nancyweissbe i n
Yes! It's going to take a miracle! Nice song ❤️
Report as inappropriate
Ayeee
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LUV IT
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amazing and beautiful... . . .
Show more

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