“These Are The Sweet Things” is a 2023 album release by the illustrious soul/jazz singer and songwriter, Paulette McWilliams.
With a career spanning several decades and collaborations with legendary artists, Paulette McWilliams continues to captivate audiences with her extraordinary talent and undeniable charisma.
Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Paulette McWilliams discovered her passion for singing at a tender age. Influenced by the likes of Sarah Vaughan, Aretha Franklin, and Ella Fitzgerald, she developed a deep appreciation for live music through attending shows at local clubs and outdoor block parties alongside her older sisters.
Her musical journey took flight when she made her first public appearance on the television show “Little Stars” at the age of 11, performing alongside the iconic Sammy Davis Jr. This early exposure set the stage for a remarkable career that would leave an indelible mark on the music industry. She joined Rufus, becoming their primary female lead vocalist before finding them Chaka Khan when she left to have her daughter.
Paulette lent her powerful vocals to over 600 radio and television jingles such as Folgers, McDonalds, Diet Pepsi with Britney Spears, Cadillac, Cover Girl, American Express, leaving an indelible mark on the advertising industry. Recognising her extraordinary talent, producer Quincy Jones later invited her to join his Body Heat promotional tour, where she showcased her remarkable backing and lead vocals. Her collaboration with Jones extended to his album “Mellow Madness,” further solidifying her reputation as a sought-after vocalist.
In 1977, Paulette McWilliams released her debut solo album, “Feel Good All Over,” under Fantasy Records.
Although the album did not achieve commercial success, it served as a testament to McWilliams’ artistry and marked the beginning of her solo career. She continued to flourish as a duet partner with the legendary Johnny Mathis and appeared on Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking album “Off the Wall.” Additionally, her collaboration with Bette Midler’s backing group, the Harlettes, led to a remarkable eight-week Broadway run and a transformative meeting with the incomparable Luther Vandross. In the early days of working with Luther, she recalls “I was not as tall as Lisa Fisher and Ava Cherry, both around 5’ 8”. I at 5’ 3” was shorter and so Luther asked me to sing, from the pit, with the band and ‘hold down a lot of the vocals’, so as not to upset the on-stage aesthetics”. Fortunately that soon changed along with the personnel. Their partnership would span two decades, with McWilliams lending her vocal talents to every album Vandross recorded during this period.
“These Are The Sweet Things” is a masterpiece that showcases her soulful blend of jazz and captivating storytelling. The album promises to take listeners on an immersive musical journey, highlighting McWilliams’ incomparable vocal abilities and profound artistry. The album is a collaboration with her former husband, Ivan Hampden Jr”, a drummer in the Luther Vandross touring band of whom she says is a perfect creative partner.