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Vanessa Williams

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From Wikipedia

Vanessa Lynn Williams (born March 18, 1963) is a Grammy and Tony Award nominated American R&B/Pop/theatrical singer and actress. In 1983, Williams made history when she became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America. Her reign as Miss America came to an early and abrupt end when she resigned her title in scandal. However, she has since gone on to a successful entertainment career. In her current project she plays Wilhelmina Slater on the award-winning comedy, Ugly Betty.

Williams was born in Millwood, New York; she and her brother grew up in a middle-class suburban area. Prophetically, her parents put "Here she is: Miss America" on her birth announcement. [Entertainment Tonight, December 11 2005] Her parents, Milton and Helen Williams, were both music teachers; they are both half African-American and Caucasian.

She studied piano and French horn growing up, but was most interested in singing. She received a scholarship and attended Syracuse University as a theatre arts major, but later dropped out of college to pursue a career in entertainment.

After time out of the spotlight, Williams secured a record deal, and released her debut album, The Right Stuff in 1988. The first single, "The Right Stuff," was successful on the R&B charts and the third single, "Dreamin'", was a chart success becoming Williams' first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and her first number one single in the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs - chart. The album reached gold status and earned her three Grammy Award nominations, including one for Best New Artist

Her sophomore album "The Comfort Zone" became the biggest success in her music career. The lead single "Running Back to You" became another chart topper for her, reaching the top position of Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs - chart in October 5, 1991. Other singles included "The Comfort Zone", "Just for Tonight", "Work to Do" and the club hit "Freedom Dance (Get Free!).

Vanessa Williams' second album.

Vanessa Williams' second album.

However, the most successful single of the album and still her biggest hit to date is "Save the Best for Last", which became across-the-board hit in the spring 1992, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks and reaching #1 on charts in countries all over the world, including Australia, the Netherlands, and Canada and in the top 5 in Japan and the United Kingdom. The album went three times platinum and earned her four Grammy Award nominations.

In addition to Vanessa Williams' first two albums, her most notable chart successes have included the songs, "Love Is", "The Sweetest Days", "Colors of the Wind", and "Oh How The Years Go By". In total, Williams has sold six million records and received fifteen Grammy Award nominations.

In 2005, Williams released her eighth studio album, Everlasting Love, a collection of covers of her favorite 1970s songs.

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