onnie Williams, a 24 year old vocalist from Livermore California and an American Idol top finalist, spent his formative years in Baton Rouge Louisiana.
His greatest influences are his mother, Gladys Williams who is a professional R&B and Blues singer and his older brother Mitchell Williams, who Donnie practiced singing with as a boy growing up. His favorite recording artists during his formative years were Donnie Hathaway, Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston.
Even though Donnie has his own unique style, you can easily hear the influences of his favorite artists in his overall sound. In 2005, Donnie met and joined forces with bandleader and record producer Paul Tillman Smith and began performing with the band Park Place. The decision was made that Park Place would become Donnie’s Band and from that situation Donnie’s 14 track Just Like Magic CD was born.
Donnie characterizes his music as “Music of the Soul”. Donnie has performed with Norman Connors, Jean Carn and Randy Crawford and has been a featured guest artistsfor Tony Tone Toni, and E-40 already. Also several songs from Donnie’s "Just Like Magic" CD are featured in the not yet released movie “Tears of a Clown” which was nominated for the best feature film of the year at the Pan African Film Festival. Produced by Tony Spires, the film features BET comedian D.C. Curry. Donnie says one of his most memorable performance outside his shows on American idol, was singing the national anthem at an NBA Warriors game.
Norman Connors, who co-produced four songs on the "Just Like Magic" CD, has called Donnie one of those rare vocalists who comes along maybe every thirty years. Bassist Nelson Braxton of the “Braxton Brothers”, who co-produced eight of the Park Place songs, calls Donnie the LeBron James of R&B”. The CD also features more bright talent from his immediate musical family, Donnie’s eighteen-year-old sister Terrell Williams who has been compared to a young Denise Williams, and Donnie’s nineteen-year-old sister Aleesha are also in the group Park Place.
Other special guests include vocalist Latoya London, who Donnie met while on the 2004 American Idol TV Show where he was one of the top 32 finalist, and vocalist Avis Nixon who was discovered by Norman Connors.
Donnie’s other supporting cast on the new CD reads like a Who’s Who from the annals of R&B and Pop lore: Vocalists Rosie Gaines and Bonnie Boyer from Prince; Keyboardists Michael Stanton, Rodney Franklin, and Herman Jackson, musical director of Jessica Simpson, Stevie Wonder, the Isley Brothers and Marvin Gaye; Donald Tavi from Lakeside; Eric Daniels, musical director for Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson; and Saundra Manning from Ledisi; Sax men Scott Mayo from Earth, Wind and Fire, and Vince Lars from Tony Toni Tone; Guitarists Tommy Oregon from Janet Jackson, Carl Lockett from Chuck Mangione, and Charlie Spikes from the Toni’s; plus the Oak Town Horns, consisting of some of the Bay Area’s finest horn players.
Donnie also has a four song Maxi Single entitled “Higher Power” which features legendary tenor saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, vocalist Freddie Hughes and Ahmad Jamal Guitarist Calvin Keys. The CD is dedicated to long time Prince vocalist and pianist Bonnie Boyer who died while making the Park Place CD.
Most who have heard Donnie’s CD are calling it a record for the ages. With his phenomenal supporting cast of musical artists one would think why not?
All that is left is to let the masses hear the music of Donnie Williams and Park Place. Enjoy it yourself.
Chump Change Records: http://www.chumpchange.com
Phone / Fax: 1-925-952-4585 or 1-510-653-8151