Marie Dionne Warwick was born on December 12, 1940, in East Orange, New Jersey, as a teenager, Warwick started up her group, the Gospelaires, with her sister, Dee Dee, and aunt Cissy Houston. After finishing high school in 1959, Warwick pursued her passion at the Hartt College of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. She also landed some work with her group singing backing vocals for recording sessions in New York City.
Warwick released her first single, ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ in 1962, which became a hit. More hits, including many written by Bacharach and David, followed as the 1960s progressed. “
Message to Michael” made the Top 10 in 1966, and her version of “I Say A Little Prayer” climbed as high as the No. 4 spot the following year. Warwick also found great success with her contributions to movie soundtracks.
She became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health. According to the July 14, 1967 Time magazine article, after “Don’t Make Me Over” hit in 1962, she answered the call of her manager (“C’mon, baby, you gotta go”), left school and went on a tour of France, where critics crowned her “Paris’ Black Pearl,” having been introduced on stage at Paris Olympia that year by Marlene Dietrich.
Rhapsodized Jean Monteaux in Arts: “The play of this voice makes you think sometimes of an eel, of a storm, of a cradle, a knot of seaweed, a dagger. Warwick was named the Bestselling Female Vocalist in the Cash Box Magazine Poll in 1964, with six chart hits in that year.
Cash Box named her the Top Female Vocalist in 1969, 1970 and 1971. In the 1967 Cash Box Poll, she was second to Petula Clark and in 1968’s poll second to Aretha Franklin.
In 1971, Dionne Warwick left the family atmosphere of Scepter Records for Warner Bros. Records, for a $5 million contract, the most lucrative recording contract ever given to a female vocalist up to that time, according to Variety.
Warwick’s last LP for Scepter was the aforementioned soundtrack for the motion picture The Love Machine (in which she appeared in an unaccredited cameo), released in July 1971. The following decade she found success on television as a co-host on the programme, ‘Solid Gold’.
She also released a single to raise money for AIDS charities. Entitled ‘That’s what Friends are for’, she recorded it with her friends, including Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Gladys Knight. In 2006, Warwick signed with Concord Records after 15-year tenure at Arista and released My Friends and Me, a duets album on which she sang with various female singing stars including Gloria Estefan and Olivia Newton-John, on thirteen of her old hits.
She and her cousin Whitney Houston were both inducted into the 2013 New Jersey Hall of Fame for their services to arts and entertainment.
She was considered the voice of Burt Bacharach/Hal David compositions, and the rest is here, in her first autobiography. Dionne tells the stories of her life from her childhood in East Orange, New Jersey, in a two-family home with her parents, brother, and sister, to now, as she celebrates her fiftieth year in show business.