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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

Deniece Williams

Updated: Mar 4


June Deniece Williams (née Chandler; born June 3, 1951) is an American R&B singer. She has been described as "one of the great soul voices" by the BBC. She is best known for the songs "Free," "It's Gonna Take a Miracle," "Silly" and two Billboard number one hits "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" (with Johnny Mathis) and "Let's Hear It For The Boy" (from the motion picture Footloose) in the 1970s and 1980s. Williams and Mathis are also best known for singing the 1980s television theme song from Family Ties called "Without Us."


At the start of her career in 1976, Williams would include one gospel song on each of her mainstream albums. It was in 1980 that her musical career path began to change favoring Gospel music. Williams joined with friends Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind and Fire, Leon Patillo and Syreeta Wright to present a Gospel show at The Roxy, a popular club in Los Angeles, California called "Jesus at the Roxy." In 1985, at the 27th Grammy Awards, Williams performed her 1977 composition "God Is Amazing" rather than her number one hit "Let's Hear It For The Boy," much to her record company's disdain.


In 1986, Williams formed her own production company, Gateway Music, and married her business partner Brad Westering (it was her third marriage, and she had already raised her two sons from her first marriage as a single mother). Their marriage would last until the early 1990s when they divorced. That same year she moved overtly into Christian music and would release two albums for Sparrow Records: So Glad I Know (1986) and Special Love (1989).


Like Philip Bailey, Donna Summer, B.J. Thomas and other Christian performers who did not renounce their ties to secular music, Williams continued to be criticized by conservative Christians for continuing to record for the general market at the same time she was making albums for the CCM market. Williams said at one point: "There are people in the church who will tell you to quit driving the city bus and start driving a Sunday School bus, but our responsibility is to seek God where He has us." Williams, in a January 1987 cover story of CCM Magazine, said at the time "I really don't think that I'm living in two separate worlds or that my Columbia (her secular label) and Sparrow (her Christian label) albums say two different things." Williams would later say "I know that there are a lot of Christians that don't understand what I do or what Amy Grant does, but I've got one judge and He doesn't look anything like them."


More information on Deniece Williams at Wikipedia:


Discography


This is Niecy (1976)

Song Bird (1977)

That's What Friends Are For (duet album with Johnny Mathis) (1978)

When Love Comes Calling (1979)

My Melody (1981)

Niecy (1982)

I'm So Proud (1983)

Change the World (1990) (compilation album)

Lullabyes to Dreamland (1991)

Greatest Gospel Hits (1994) (compilation album)

Love Solves It All (1996)

Gonna Take a Miracle: The Best of Deniece Williams (1996) (compilation album)

This is My Song (1998)

Love, Niecy Style (2007)

Gemini (EP) (2021)

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