Dionne Warwick Biography

PHOTO: Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick was born to parents Mancel Warrick, who began his career as a porter, chef, a gospel record promoter and later a Certified Public Accountant, and Lee Drinkard Warrick, manager of a renowned family gospel group and RCA recording artists The Drinkard Singers.

Dionne's career started when she sang in the all-girl group, The Gospelaires, with her sister Dee Dee and her Aunt Cissy. The Gospelaires enjoyed some success and recorded some material.

Her big break came, however, when her sweet, rich vocals came to be heard by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, who recognised in her the perfect performer for their beautifully crafted pop music.

The song-writing duo placed her as a solo artist with the Sceptre record label, and her performances of Bacharach and David songs proved to be the most memorable performances of her career. The delicacy of her vocal on 'Do You Know the Way to San Jose?' and the emotion conveyed in her rendering of 'Anyone Who Had a Heart', beautifully demonstrate her versatility as a singer.

Thirty-three of her hit records were Bacharach and David Songs. When their song writing partnership began to fall apart in the early seventies Dionne's career had to find a new direction.

She achieved her first number 1 record without Bacharach and David, singing with The Spinners in 1974 on the record, 'There Came You'.

Other collaborations followed; Dionne released an album in 1977 entitled 'A Man and A Woman', coupling her voice with that of Isaac Hayes.

She continued to release albums and singles when she signed with Arista records in the late seventies.

The following decade she found success on television as a co-host on the programme, 'Solid Gold'. She also released a single to raise money for AIDS charities. Entitled 'That’s What Friends Are For', she recorded it with her friends, including Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Gladys Knight.

In the nineties she was reunited in the recording studio with her old friend Burt Bacharach. Friends Can Be Lovers (1993), produced in part by Ian Devaney and Lisa Stansfield, featured a tune called "Sunny Weather Lover", which was the first song that Bacharach and Hal David had written together in exactly twenty years from the song's release.

In 2006, Warwick signed with Concord Records after a 15-year tenure at Arista and released My Friends and Me, a duets album on which she sang with various female singing stars including Gloria Estefan and Olivia Newton-John, on thirteen of her old hits. The album was produced by her son, Damon Elliott.

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