Her recordings of songs like ‘A House Is Not A home,’ ‘Alfie,’ ‘(Theme From) The Valley Of The Dolls,’ and ‘The April Fools’ made Dionne Warwick a pioneer as one of the first female artists to popularize classic movie themes.
In recent years, Dionne’s pioneering efforts have focused on leading the music industry in the fight against AIDS. Her Grammy-winning, chart topping, single ‘That’s What Friends Are For,’ lead the way by raising, literally, millions of dollars for AIDS research. On October 16, 2002 she was named a global Ambassador for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), based in Rome, Italy.
Dionne began singing during her childhood years in East Orange, New Jersey, initially in church. Occasionally she sang as a soloist and fill-in voice for the renowned Drinkard Singers, a group comprised of her mother Lee along with her aunts and uncles. It was while visiting the Drinkard Singers at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem that Dionne was asked to sing backup during a session for saxophonist Sam ‘The Man’ Taylor.
In all, Dionne racked up thirty hit singles, and close to twenty best-selling albums, during their first decade together. Songs like ‘Do You Know The Way To San Jose,’ ‘Message To Michael,’ ‘This Girl’s In Love With You,’ ‘I’ll Never Fall In Love Again,’ and ‘Reach Out For Me,’ established Dionne Warwick as a consummate artist, and performer. Known as the artist, who ‘bridged the gap,’ Dionne’s soulful blend of pop, gospel and R&B music transcended race, culture, and musical boundaries.
In 1970, Dionne received her second Grammy Award for the best-selling album I’ll Never Fall In Love Again and she began her second decade of hits by signing with Warner Brothers Records. In 1974 she hit the top of the charts for the first time with ‘Then Came You,’ a million-selling duet with The Spinners.
In 1976, fresh from earning a Master’s Degree in Music from her alma mater (The Hartt College of Music), Dionne signed with Arista Records, beginning a third decade of hit-making. Label-mate Barry Manilow produced her first Platinum-selling album, Dionne. The album included these back-to-back hits; ‘I’ll Never Love This Way Again,’ and ‘D_j_ Vu.’ Both recordings earned Grammy Awards, making Dionne the first female artist, to win the Best Female Pop, and Best Female R&B Performance, Award. Hot on the heels of her phenomenal success, Dionne began her first stint as host for the highly successful television show ‘Solid Gold.’
Further milestones marked Dionne’s tenure with Arista. Her 1982 album, Heartbreaker, co-produced by Barry Gibb and The Bee Gees, became an international chart-topper. In 1985, Dionne reunited with producer Burt Bacharach, and longtime friends Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John to record the classic ‘That’s What Friends Are For.’ Profits from the sale of that song were donated to the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR).
In addition to co-hosting and helping to launch ‘The Soul Train Music Awards’, she also starred in her own show, ‘Dionne And Friends.’ She was co-executive producer of ‘Celebrate The Soul Of American Music’ which honored and recognized many of her fellow musical pioneers. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, Dionne toured extensively with Burt Bacharach. The show won rave reviews from fans and press alike for reinforcing the timeless musical legacy of the Bacharach, David and Warwick team. Her recent musical achievements have included performances as part of the ‘National Symphony With The Divas,’ and, in Tokyo, performances with The National Opera Company of Japan; yes, Dionne even sings classical music.
Dionne’s status as a musical icon and humanitarian is legendary. With her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she continues to work tirelessly with various organizations dedicated to empowering and inspiring others. In 1997 she was awarded the ‘Luminary Award’ by the American Society of Young Musicians.
In the year of 2010 she has recorded a cd of Sammy Cahn standards soon to be released and has written her memoir ‘My Life as I See It’ now available in all book stores… Dionne is entering her 50th year in show business and plans to celebrate in a BIG way.