(December 1, 1957 – September 22, 2011)
Mary Vesta Williams was an R&B singer born in Coshocton, Ohio, known for her four-octave vocal range and often compared to Chaka Khan. Originally credited as Vesta Williams, she was sometimes simply billed as Vesta beginning in the 1990s. Although Williams never had any albums certified gold nor any Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, she scored six Top 10 hits on the US Billboard R&B chart from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s. Williams was known for the hits "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," "Sweet Sweet Love," "Special", and her 1989 #1 Hit song, "Congratulations".
Williams portrayed a saloon singer in the 1993 film Posse, directed by Mario Van Peebles. During this time period she had a hit with the SWV song, "Rain", recorded alongside smooth jazz musician, Norman Brown. Williams had a recurring role as "Monica", Jackee Harry's best friend, in the television series Sister, Sister in the 1994-95 season. In 2000, Polygram released a compilation album, featuring songs from Williams and Polygram artist, CeCe Peniston. By 2002, Williams became a radio personality and was co-hosting a morning show on KRNB, a radio station based in Dallas/Fort Worth. In recent years, Williams lost 100 pounds, going from size 26 to a size 6. It was at this time that Williams became an advocate for the prevention of childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes.
In 2007, Williams released an album of R&B songs on Shanachie Records entitled Distant Lover. Produced by Chris "Big Dog" Davis, Distant Lover was a cover album featuring songs originally recorded by Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Sade, and Deniece Williams. Her last recording was the song "Dedicated," released on December 7, 2010 on Stimuli Music. Her final performance was on September 17, 2011 in Portsmouth, Virginia, performing at the Autumn Jazz Explosion.
Our condolences reach out to the family of Vesta. We have lost another powerful and gifted voice. For her full bio, discography and more info, log on to VestaWilliams.com.