Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Paulette McWilliams
Paulette McWilliams is best known for her deep, sultry, silky, liquid velvet tones, her melodic interpretation, as well as her wide vocal range. Hers is one of the iconic voices behind Michael Jackson”s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” — Michael’s biggest hit! Aretha Franklin’s “Jump To It,” Billy Idol’s No. 1 hit “Mony Mony,” Luther Vandross’s many hits including “Stop To Love,”” “Wait For Love,” “Bad Boy/Having A Party,” and Power of Love. She has a beautifully long and extensive music history. A discography with far too many to mention them all here.
Hailed from Chicago, Paulette became the lead singer with Ask Rufus and was solely responsible for introducing the group to her dearest friend, Chaka Khan. For a period of time, Paulette and Chaka shared the lead in Ask Rufus until Paulette left. Moving from gig to gig, Paulette worked feverishly and then, thanks to a recording produced by Donny Hathaway and Phil Upchurch, she was “introduced” to Quincy Jones.
Upchurch, the world-famous jazz guitarist, sent a studio recording to Quincy. Shortly thereafter, Paulette became solo/lead singer with Quincy during his “Body Heat” tour and he featured her on his Mellow Madness album – the title song co-written by Paulette. Next, they toured Japan where one of Paulette’s dreams came true: singing a duet live with the legendary Sarah Vaughan while Quincy conducted the orchestra. After moving to New York City, Paulette also toured and sang live with Luther Vandross and recorded with Luther on every album he recorded from “Forever For Always For Love”.
Paulette and Luther met when she was a Harlette with Bette Midler and became fast friends because Luther loved Paulette’s voice and said she and he had the most incredible blend. Paulette performed all of the Tammi Terrell duets with Marvin Gaye on his last tour which was recorded live. She has worked with some of the best artists, performers and producers in the business, such as Quincy Jones, Luther Vandross, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Joan Osborne, Billy Idol, David Bowie, Keith Emerson, The Brecker Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Lauryn Hill, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston,Jennifer Lopez, Patty LaBelle, Deborah Cox, Michael Jackson, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Herbie Hancock, Anastacia, Teri Lynne Carrington. She also recorded duets with Johnny Mathis and sang a solo Noel Pointer’s last CD as well as arranged the background vocals and sang on them for Noel Pointer. Paulette has performed at jazz festivals /clubs in London, Japan, Monterey, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Trinidad, Milan, Amsterdam, Moscow and Bern, Switzerland, including Ronnie Scotts in London and the Blue Note in Milan and Tokyo. Recently at the Blue Note in Beijing,China asked back for the second time.
Paulette performed at the International Jazz Festival in The Netherlands and Thailand, and was introduced to the Dutch Ambassador who loved her work!! She then recorded a “Live” CD with the fabulous Beets Brothers in Europe which is being played on jazz tations throughout the world! It is also very important to note that Paulette has sung solo/ group on numerous TV commercials such as for Folgers Coffee, Kellogg, McDonalds, Coca Cola, Diet Pepsi (with Britney Spears), Cadillac, Cover Girl, American Express, Celebrex, MasterCard, United Airlines, Budweiser Beer, Coors, eBay, and Mercedes. Recently she sang on the Nike spot and appeared on tv in the spot with Kobe Bryant for his last game!! She has also sung on feature film soundtracks, TV theme songs etc. Recently Paulette sang at LACMA where her third return increased by thousands She performed songs from her new album as a sneak peek.. Paulette received a beautiful standing ovation and was heard live on K-Jazz FM -88 in Los Angeles.
Currently Paulette is compled her new album titled appropriately “A Woman’s Story” with two time Grammy Award winning producer Kamau Kenyatta ( Gregory Porter). Kamau and Paulette collectively have come up with an incredible project that has taken 3 years to complete. . With Kamau’s awesome arrangements of both original and cover songs paying special tributes to Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, and Luther Vandross. Great artists that Paulette shares the joy through her choices of working with these innovative artists.
Find our Podcasts on these outlets