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Deniece Williams Biography

Home > Music > W > Williams, Deniece > Biography

Birth Name: June Deniece Chandler
Born: 1951/06/03
Birth Place: Gary, Indiana, U.S.
Years Active: 1970–present
Genres: Soul, Funk, Gospel

Deniece Williams was born on June 3, 1950 in Gary, Indiana and is a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and record producer. Williams never set out to be a singer, but possessed a powerful voice and loved to sing. She started her career path studying to be a nurse in college but soon dropped out. By 1970 she had picked up a job singing backup for Stevie Wonder. As a result of her work with Wonder a record contract came her way in 1975 from Columbia Records as a solo artist.

Williams' debut album, “This Is Niecy,” arrived in 1976, with the first single off the album, “Free,” peaking at #2 on the Billboard Black Singles chart, #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, and #1 on the U.K. Singles chart. The album also produced the song, “That's What Friends Are For,” which crossed over and charted on Billboard's R&B chart. Williams also found success with a number of duets with Johnny Mathis, of note is their 1978 #1 hit single, “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.”

By the early 1980s, Williams had signed with the American Recording Company and scored a hit almost instantly with, “Silly,” in 1981. In 1984 Williams released one of her most successful albums to date, “Let's Hear It for the Boy,” with the title track appearing in the hit film “Footloose” and peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Williams continued releasing albums during the 1980s and attained moderate success, however, her mainstream popularity began to fade as the music climate began to change and her label put less effort into promoting her music.

As the 1990s came around, Williams' musical direction began to shift more towards gospel music as she spent the next ten years collaborating with fellow gospel singers. As another decade passed, Williams reemerged with a new R&B album, “Love, Niecy Style” in 2007 on Shanachie Records. The album peaked at #41 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.