Deniece Williams

This is Niecy

One of the most distinctive vocalists who arrived during the soul era, Deniece Williams is known for soaring, four-octave soprano voice, late-'70s and early-'80s R&B classics such as "Free" and "Silly," and the 1984 number one pop hit "Let's Hear It for the Boy." Born June Deniece Chandler in Gary, Indiana, she grew up singing in a Pentecostal church, which forbid the congregation to listen to anything but gospel music.

Williams' solo career gained serious momentum after she left Wonderlove and teamed up with 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. Signed to major-label Columbia, Williams released her first album, This Is Niecy, in 1976. Co-produced by White and Charles Stepney, it featured the Billboard R&B number two single "Free," which also crossed over to number 25 on the Hot 100. "Cause You Love Me Baby" and "That's What Friends Are For" also charted.

Deniece WIlliams released This is Niecy in 1976 though Columbia Records.