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Black Butterfly: The Story

Iconic four-time Grammy Award winner and 12-time nominee, Deniece Williams has transformed R&B/Pop/Gospel music over an amazing and versatile five-decade career that has produced both stellar #1 Pop and R&B singles with powerful messages of self-empowerment to fun disco hits. Now the legendary songbird, with a spectacular, four-octave range is set to do it again with the launch of her new single, “When You Love Somebody,” from her forthcoming album, Gemini. Gemini features esteemed producers Harvey Mason Jr., Emile Ghantous, Greg Manning and a special guest performance by Grammy Award Winner saxophonist, Gerald Albright.


Williams' exceptional ability to bring messages of sheer positivity and self-liberation transformed R&B songs to Pop hits, from the exuberant vocal performance many  #1 international hit singles.


This legendary songbird ,with a spectacular, four-octave range voice as heard in her multi-platinum hit songs, “Let’s Hear It for The Boy,” “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle,” “Free,” “Black Butterfly” “I’ve Got The Next Dance,” "I Surrender All,” "They Say,” I Believe In You" and "This Is My Song"  is an American treasure that paved the way for many of today’s superlative singers.


In fact, during the recent Black Lives Matter Protests, "Black Butterfly" was selected as one of the Top 10 Black Empowerment Songs of All Time by veteran music writer Chuck Arnold of The New York Post. Williams music spans generations and recognized along with music idols Beyonce, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson & more visit:


A Gary, Indiana, native, Williams was weaned on the soul stylings of the late, great Minnie Riperton, who would later become a trusted mentor and friend to Williams.


Williams took a circuitous route to musical stardom. She attended Morgan State University in Baltimore to become a registered a registered nurse and also worked as a ward clerk at Mercy Hospital in Chicago and at a telephone company while singing part-time in clubs.


“It was when I landed a part-time job singing at a club at the Casino Royal, that I realized how much I enjoyed singing and performing, this was the pivotal moment in my life and where my music career began, explains Deniece Williams.


Williams' immense vocal talent and love of performing was undeniable, and she soon set out to make music her profession. As Deniece Chandler, she recorded for The Toddlin’ Town group of record labels. One of her early songs, ‘I’m Walking Away,’ released on Toddlin’ Town’s ‘Lock Records’ subsidiary in the late 60s, became a favorite within the soul scene Northern England.


Soon buzz began to build and Williams was a sought-after back-up vocalist for Stevie Wonder as part of Wonderlove. Williams performed vocals on Stevie’s all-time great albums, Talking Book, Fulfillingness' First Finale and Songs in the Key of Life. Williams continued to perform vocals on the albums of revered artists including Syreeta Wright's album Stevie Wonder Presents: SyreetaMinnie Riperton's album Perfect Angel and Roberta Flack's hit, “Feel Like Makin' Love.”


Williams' career trajectory continued to soar, she was signed as a solo artist to Columbia Records releasing her 1976 debut album, This Is Niecy, produced by Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire and legendary Charles Stepney. Together they introduced her singular artistry to the world with the powerful songs "Free,” "The Vivacious,” “It's Important to Me" and the smooth "Cause You Love Me Baby." The album made an immediate impact and “Free” became a # 2 hit on the Black Singles chart, # 25 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and  # 1 on the British Singles chart.


A fruitful partnership formed with famed singer-songwriter Johnny Mathis resulted in many popular songs including the 1978 #1 smash, "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late." Mathis and Williams also recorded “Without Us, ” the theme to the popular 1980s sitcom "Family Ties." She then topped the Dance Charts in 1979 with her disco single, “I’ve Got the Next Dance”.


In 1984, Williams released her pivotal pop album, "Let’s Hear It for the Boy," whose title track skyrocketed to #1 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart and was featured on the multi-platinum soundtrack, Footloose. The song would prove to be the biggest pop hit of her career and broke all barriers and stereotypes for a black female artist.


Williams game-changing contributions to the 80’s music scene included the #1 R&B single, "It's Gonna Take a Miracle," Top 10 R&B singles "Never Say Never" and "I Can't Wait," and the powerful albums "Hot On The Trail," "Water Under the Bridge" and "As Good As It Gets."


Further showcasing her vocal versatility, Williams in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s became a top Gospel singer and multi-Grammy Award winner in the genre. Her love of spiritual music was already evident - Williams had recorded an inspirational song on almost all of her albums. A turning point came in 1980 when she joined Phillip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire), Billy Davis and Marilyn McCoo to present a gospel show in Los Angeles.  Williams said the concert had a transformative impact. “God did something miraculous. Over 300 people were saved,” she said in an interview with Gospel Today Magazine. Following the show Williams and Bailey both decided to branch out into Christian music.


Williams whose been nominated for 12 Grammys over the course of her career won four most recently for Best Female Soul Gospel Performance for "I Surrender All" and the Best Duo Gospel Performance for "They Say" (with Sandi Patti), Best Female Gospel Performance for "I Believe In You,” and in 1999 scored another Grammy for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album with This Is My Song.


From 1996 to 2004, Williams presented her own BBC radio show in Great Britain, showcasing her gospel and inspirational music. Her influence and impact of that show further cements her international legacy of a musical icon with the timelessness of her songs and longevity of her illustrious musical career.


The most prestigious publications and influential figures continue to praise Williams outstanding voice. The New York Times recognized her as having a "spectacular vocal display in which her penetrating, feline soprano soared effortlessly to E flat above high C, and she worked various vowel sounds into prolonged feats of vocal gymnastics.”

Mark Anthony Deal, the highly respected Professor of Black Popular Culture at Duke University, in referencing R&B great Jill Scott’s agility in displaying vocal acrobatics, stated, “Scott draws on her upper register recalling the artistry of the late Minnie Riperton and “songbird” Deniece Williams."


Monica Haynes of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gushed, “Williams has the kind of range that would make Mariah Carey quiver!”


Deniece Williams continues to be a trailblazer as she engages LIVE with her 200,000+ followers on her Facebook page @Niecyofficial and Instagram @niecyofficial. There is no stopping Niecey!

Be sure to follow Deniece Williams on Instagram @nieceyofficial + Facebook @Niecyofficial

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For interviews and for more information please contact: or 201.503.1333

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