Steppers Song Of The Day] It's Gonna Take A Miracle by
Deniece Williams #stepperssongoftheday
the late '60s, Deniece Williams was a candy striper in a Chicago
hospital. Outside of wanting a 1959 Thunderbird, she had no serious
ambitions. Nonetheless, she still had interest in listening to music.
Her favorites were Carmen McRae for her diction and Nancy Wilson, who,
for Williams, exemplified class and elegance. However, her mother, also
a singer, was her idol. The Gary, IN, native was also fond of Stevie
Wonder, Earth, Wind
& Fire, Minnie
Riperton, and Patti LaBelle. (The latter two she tried to
emulate before her introduction into the music industry.)
In need of employment and with college on the back burner, the fledgling
singer was introduced to 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, the gifted vocalist was flown
into Detroit by Wonder for an audition. Among the 26 who auditioned,
Williams, who sang "Teach Me Tonight," was only one of three who
was hired by Wonder. The three became known as Wonderlove.
Williams being hired by Wonder was a big surprise. Soon after the
audition, she toured with Wonder, who was the opening act for the
Rolling Stones at the time. Her touring with Wonder lasted for
several years. Though her stint with Wonder was a great experience and
opportunity, it was also difficult considering Williams had to make many
adjustments professionally and personally (she had two sons prior to
taking the gig: one 4 months old, the other 18 months).
Williams left Wonderlove in 1975 and teamed up with producer
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. Under the Columbia banner,
Williams released her first album entitled This Is Niecey. It
featured the Billboard R&B number two single "Free," which also
sealed the Top 25 on the pop charts. The song was personal to Williams,
who felt restricted while with Wonderlove. The album also
featured "Cause You Love Me Baby" and "That's What Friends Are
For." More Below
In 1977 the album Song Bird was released, and it featured the
number 13 single "Baby, Baby My Love's All for You." The
following year the dynamic singer scored her first number one song on
both the R&B and pop charts with "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late,"
which was a duet with the legendary Johnny Mathis. The follow-up
single, "You're All Need to Get By," was also recorded with
Mathis and it was a Top Ten single.
Still under White's tutelage, Williams moved over to White's American
Recording Company (ARC) and stumbled a few times with several releases
before scoring the smash hit "Silly." Written by Williams and
produced by famed producer Thom Bell, she sang this song from her own
personal experience as well. The single became a Top Ten gem. In 1982
Bell returned the sweet songstress to number one with the single "It's
Gonna Take a Miracle."
Always writing from her own experience, Williams wrote the Top Ten
single "Do What You Feel" based on the ordeals of someone else.
(A believer in the song at the time, she no longer employs those
beliefs.) In 1984 Williams recorded the number one hit "Let's Hear It
for the Boy." Featured on the Footloose soundtrack, the single was
produced by music virtuoso George Duke, who initially thought the song
was too pop-ish and would not work. However, Duke's production savvy
proved to be as paramount as Williams' vocals.
In 1984 the sensational singer recorded "Black Butterfly." From a
African-American perspective, Williams immediately bonded with the song.
The song would become a prelude to the uplifting gospel material
Williams would record a few years later. With her label, Columbia,
uninterested, Williams released the gospel album From the Beginning
on Sparrow Records. The album featured the Grammy Award-winning single "They
Say." The same year she also won a Grammy for "I Surrender"
and another for "I Believe in You" in 1987.
In August 2008, a new song/video entitled "One Kiss" was posted
on YouTube. The song is produced by the Haven Media Group and the video
directed by director Dabling Harward (Idlewild, When We Were Kings).
Also posted on same date was an inspirational Barack Obama anthem
entitled '"A Change We Can Believe In"'. In June 2011 Williams
was featured on Unsung, TV One's signature music biography series which
sheds a deserving light on some of the most influential, talented and
yet, somehow forgotten R&B, Soul and Gospel artists of the last 30
Deniece Williams - Black Butterfly
Deniece Williams - Cause You Love Me Baby
Deniece Williams - Free
Deniece Williams - If You Don't Believe
Deniece Williams - That's What Friends Are For
Deniece Williams Featuring Philip Bailey - They Say (Jesus) and
Sources: Steppers Music Group, Freebase (Craig Lytle), IMDB, Wikipedia
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