Vanessa Williams Biography
Vanessa Lynn Williams (born March 18, 1963) is an 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.
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.
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.
Williams began competing in beauty pageants in the early 80s; she was interested in pursuing an entertainment career, as well as the scholarships pageants bestowed on winners.
After time out of the spotlight, Williams secured a record deal, and released her debut album, The Right Stuff. The first single, "Dreamin'", was a chart success, and the album reached gold status and earned her three Grammy Award nominations, including one for Best New Artist.
In addition to "Dreamin'", her most notable chart successes have included the songs "Running Back To You", "Love Is", "The Sweetest Days", "Colors of the Wind", "The Comfort Zone", "Just For Tonight" and "Oh How The Years Go By". Williams' biggest hit to date is "Save the Best For Last", which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks from March 21 to April 18, 1992. 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.
While she pursued her career in music, Williams also cultivated a parallel career as an actress.