b. Deniece Chandler, 3 June 1951, Gary, Indiana, USA. Williams is a gospel/soul singer whose successes span the '70s and '80s. As a child she sang in a gospel choir and made her first recordings in the late '60s for the Chicago-based Toddlin’ Town label. After training as a nurse, she was hired by Stevie Wonder to join his Wonderlove vocal backing group. She contributed to four of his albums before leaving Wonder to pursue a solo career. Produced by Maurice White of Earth, Wind And Fire, her first album included the UK hits That's What Friends Are For and the number 1 Free which was revived in 1990 by British group BEF for their MUSIC OF QUALITY & DISTINCTION VOL II album of cover versions. In 1978, Williams joined Johnny Mathis for the immensely popular ballad Too Much Too Little Too Late This was followed by an album of duets by the couple, THAT'S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR. Returning to a solo career, Williams moved to Maurice White's own label, ARC but her next two albums made little impact. However, a revival of the 1965 song It's Gonna Take A Miracle, produced by Thom Bell, returned her to the US Top 10 in 1982. This was a prelude to the release of Williams’ most well-known song, Let's Hear It For The Boy. Originally made for the soundtrack of the 1984 film FOOTLOOSE, it was issued as a single the following year and headed the US charts. Later records had no pop success although Deniece remained popular in the R&B audience and in 1988 she made her first gospel album for Sparrow. Williams is a prolific songwriter and her compositions have been recorded by Merry Clayton, the Emotions, the Whispers, Frankie Valli and others.
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