Lenny Williams Legendary Soul Music Icon
The ultimate soul crooner, Oakland, California native Lenny Williams possesses one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music. With his rich, passionate vocal style, he is rightfully regarded as one of R & B’s most influential soul men. Williams began his musical career making records that have subsequently become R & B and Pop classics, tunes like the mega-hit “Cause I Love You” (recorded on his solo album) and “So Very Hard To Go,” which he recorded as the lead singer for Tower of Power. Lenny Williams' style has transcended into the new millennium, influencing many of today’s newest R & B and Pop vocalists. After winning several local talent contests, Williams signed his first record deal with Fantasy Records. He cut two singles for the label, including “Lisa’s Gone,” now regarded as an R & B classic among British soul music lovers, and “Feelin Blue,” written by John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Lenny then spent a brief time with Atlantic Records, before deciding to put his solo career on hold in 1972, when he joined the emerging funk band Tower of Power. A string of hits ensued, including “So Very Hard To Go,” and “Don’t Change Horses (In The Middle of The Stream),” written by Lenny Williams and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. During his two years with the group, Lenny participated in three milestone albums, the Gold LP Tower Of Power, Back To Oakland, and Urban Renewal, while touring non-stop throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. At the end of 1975, Lenny returned to his solo projects. Initially signing with Motown in 1972, he later moved to ABC Records in 1977 (which was then purchased by MCA Records in 1979). Over the next four years, Lenny scored ten charted hits, including “Shoo Doo Fu Fu Ooh,” “Choosing You,” “You Got Me Running,” “Love Hurt Me Love Healed Me,” and “Midnight Girl.” Lenny recorded four more albums from 1977 to 1980-- Choosing You, his first gold LP, Spark of Love, Love Current, and Let’s Do It Today. These albums established a solid and loyal following for Lenny, and the impact of his music can still be felt, particularly the mega-hit “Cause I Love You”, from Spark Of Love. This song crosses generational boundaries, and has frequently been used on “old school” and “slow jam” compilations throughout the years. In 1986, Lenny was invited to sing vocals on “Don’t Make Me Wait For Love,” a track from superstar sax man Kenny G’s multimillion selling album Duo Tones. When released as a single in 1987, the song became a Top 20 Pop and R & B hit. Now...Over the past few years, Lenny has continued his solo career, touring the US, Europe and South Africa. In 2004 and 2005, Lenny and Kanye West were honored recipients of the BMI Songwriters Award for the song “Over Night Celebrity,” recorded by rapper Twista. In the Summer of 2018, Lenny's smooth tones were on display in the song “I Love My Momma,” a collaboration with superstar rapper Snoop Dogg, featured on the popular HBO miniseries Sharp Objects. Over the years, he has shared stages with Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, K-Jon, Anthony Hamilton, The Whispers, Rick James, Boney James, Bobby Womack, The Ohio Players, Al Green, Usher and Frankie Beverly and Maze. Lenny has also expanded his multi-dimensional career to include acting, starring in several popular stage plays. As an icon of the past and the present, Lenny Williams continues to expand his musical prowess and flex his newly-found acting skills. He is sure to continue wowing his fans in the United States and beyond for decades to come. Now a Doctor, since receiving his honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from California State University, Lenny Williams has the right musical prescription to soothe real music lovers.