Turn on Gospel Radio and you’re sure to hear Melvin Williams, one of Gospel music’s most distinctive voices in the music industry. Over 40 years with the world renowned Williams Brothers, Melvin Williams releases his fourth & fifth solo albums simultaneously “Crazy Like Love” and “Love Like Crazy.” With over 6 Grammy Award nominations and a host of Stellar & Dove Awards with The Williams Brothers, Williams delivers his best solo albums unlike anything you’ve ever heard from him or The Williams Brothers before.
Melvin Williams, born July 21, 1953 in Smithdale, MS, is an accomplished Gospel singer, songwriter, producer, guitarist and occasional stage play actor. Singing since age of 6, Williams and younger siblings imitated their older brothers of the famed gospel quartet, The Jackson Southernnaires. In 1960, his father Leon “Pop” Williams organized the younger siblings to form the group as we know them today, The Williams Brothers. Whether traveling by station wagon or 15-passenger van, his father kept the boys on the road visiting every church that would allow them to minister in song.
In 1973, Melvin Williams and his brothers recorded their first album “Holding On”. Williams has been writing and arranging most of his own music since 1979. As a result, various Gospel and mainstream artists recorded some of our favorite songs including “Cooling Water” with multi-Stellar award winner, Lee Williams, “True Love” by Ollie Woodson of the Temptations and “Living Testimony” by the Mighty Clouds of Joy. In 1988, his first solo album “Back to the Cross” released on Light Records and garnered his first Stellar Award and Grammy Award nomination as a solo artist. Three years later, in 1991, Williams and his brothers started their own label, Blackberry Records - the first black independent record label to receive major distribution in the State of Mississippi. The first release on the label, “This is Your Night” was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Soul Gospel Album and won a Stellar Award for Best Performance Group or Duo.
In 1992, Melvin released his sophomore solo album “In Living Color”, a major success, spurred by the single “So Good” which reached the Top 20 on Billboard. In 1997, the song titled “Too Close” featuring Stevie Wonder remained on the Billboard gospel charts for over 12 months. “Never Seen Your Face” (1998) reached single digit positions on Billboard’s Gospel Charts and received Stellar & Dove Awards. The single “Never Seen Your Face” featured a duet with Marvin Winans of the famed Winans family. Not long after in 2001, Williams’ duet with gospel great Lee Williams on “Cooling Water” – recorded for the “Duets” album – burned up the Billboard charts for over 100 weeks and remains one of the most popular requested songs by audiences nationwide. In 2004, the album “Still Here” won 3 Stellar Awards and the sixth Grammy Award nomination for The Williams Brothers.
Melvin Williams and his brothers have shared the stage with such talented artists as Juanita Bynum, Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Denise Williams, Mighty Cloud of Joy,Vickie Winans, Luther Vandeross, Philip Bailey, Fred Hammond, The Mississippi Mass Choir, Maurice White, Andrae’ Crouch, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Shirley Caesar, James Cleveland, Al Green, Kool and the Gang, The Winans, Patti LaBelle, The Hawkins Family, The Clark Sisters, Clifton Davis, Shirley Murdock, Sound of Blackness, Amy Grant, Steve Winwood, Peabo Bryson, Chaka Khan, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder and the list goes on.
Always bridging the gap between traditional and contemporary Gospel music, Melvin Williams infuses a blend of gospel, soul, jazz, hip-hop, mainstream and classical selections. His high-level energy and emotion filled performances is guaranteed to bring audiences to their feet. Williams is known to jump off the stage, go into the audience, stand on chairs at festivals, and summon the audience to join him for a praise party. “Neighbor, may I have this dance?” - and the holy ghost party begins!
Between the years 2004 and 2005, Williams’ distinctive, raspy vocal tone established him as one of the most recognized and sought-after artist featured in over seven or more songs by various traditional and contemporary artists. Anytime of the day or night, you were guaranteed to hear Melvin Williams on the radio singing with Dorothy Norwood, Shirley Caesar, Marvin Winans, Tracy Worth, Neal Roberson, The Williams Brothers, Pastor Paul Morton, Pastor James Dixon, The Texas Boyz, Harvey Watkins, Jr., and Paul Porter of The Christiannaires to name a few.
Meanwhile, as a stage actor, Williams appeared in several stage plays, “Lord, I’m Coming Home” starring Todd Bridges, a Tyler Perry directed play written by Lisa Sweat. Williams continues to support area stage plays that focus on inspiring youth and family communication. His non-profit organization, “Crazy Like Love Foundation” recently partnered with Teaching Academics for Life Learning 1 Outreach Ministries (TALL1-OM) of North Carolina for the June 2007 debut of the stage play “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child” created by Mildred Summerville and Regina McCrary of Tyler Perry’s stage play “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child” is currently used as a cultural arts curriculum for at risk youth and minority health disparities. Other independent stage play writers Williams supports include Garrett and Gregory Ward.
An activist for Sickle Cell Anemia Disease, Williams co-wrote the charity single “Crazy Like Love” with his brother Doug Williams, to raise funds and increase awareness of the disease that has personally touched his daughter for the past 25 years. Williams is the proud father of two children, LaTonya and Paige Williams.
Very diverse in his role, Williams reflects his pride of community through the Crazy Like Love Foundation that supports a portfolio of programs for youth and families with minority health disparities. In addition, Williams participated in Atlanta’s historic 2006 voter’s registration marched alongside Jesse Jackson, Willie Nelson, Maxine Waters, and shared the stage with Harry Belafonte, Stevie Wonder and John Legend.
Williams’ long career and constant touring has brought him a permanent audience. With over 40 weeks on the road, The Williams Brothers for the past 10 years earned the title as the “hardest working brothers in Gospel music.” More than a performer, Williams minister songs that speak to the challenges and everyday situations of people like you and me.
In 2005, Melvin Williams and the Williams Brothers expanded their international audience while on tour with Swedish musical superstar, Carola. With well over 8000 people in attendance, the Stockholm audience were on their feet for The Brothers cover song of the O’Jays classic hit “Love Train” – recorded for “The Williams Brothers and their Superstar Friends” album. In addition, they captivated the audience with their accapella rendition of “Amazing Grace”. While touring continues to be Melvin Williams’ primary occupation, the Williams Brothers came off the road at the end of 2005 to focus on producing other Blackberry Records recording artist and to begin work on Melvin Williams’ two solo albums.
In January 2007, Melvin Williams releases his highly anticipated fourth & fifth solo albums simultaneously, “Crazy Like Love” and “Love Like Crazy”. The first single is a tribute cover song of the classic Lionel Richie hit, “Jesus Is Love”.
Williams’ eclectic choice of material for this latest project encompasses original traditional and contemporary gospel, classical, hip-hop, jazz, spoken word, and classic mainstream cover songs from Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield and James Brown. Special guest include producers and artists Fred Hammond, Walter Hawkins, the late ballad crooner, Gerald Levert, jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum, Doug Williams, and Lee Williams to name a few.
Determined to bring out the most soulful, fiery traits, the musicians – keyboardist, Derrick Horne, organist, Ralph Lofton, bassist & drummer, Joel Smith, drummer & producer, Stan Jones and lead guitarists, Eric Brice, Castro Coleman and Spanky Alford – provide a superb instrumental accompaniment to Williams’ emotional, heart-wrenching vocals. The project includes live horns, harmonica, bass & guitar licks infused by percussions, organ and live strings delivering well-laid, uplifting yet soothing melodies.
For fans that waited almost 10 years for a new Melvin Williams solo album, the wait is over. “Crazy Like Love” and “Love Like Crazy” – you can’t have one without the other!