Today is the birthday of one of jazz’s most elegant female vocalist. She’s been labeled as a”consummate actress”, a “complete entertainer,” as well as “The Girl with the Honey-Coated Voice.” We’re talking about none other than Nancy Wilson
She was born in Chillicothe, Ohio in 1937. She was one of six children. Her father would buy records and play them at home. There, Wilson was exposed to singers such as Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, and Jimmy Scott. And at the local juke joint which was around the corner from her house, she got a chance to listen to the records of Ruth Brown, Little Ester, and Dinah Washington. While in high school she won a talent contest which allowed her to be on local TV. From there, she performed in local nightclubs.
She attended Central State College at Wilberforce, Ohio for a while, but she got her big break when she met Julian “Cannonball” Adderley while singing in Columbus Ohio, who encouraged her to go to New York to perform. She got a job as a secretary in the Big Apple. But four weeks later, she got a job filling in for Irene Reid at the Blue Morocco and the rest is history.
Nancy sang jazz, R&B, and is known for such hits as “Sometimes I’m Happy,” “Save Your Love For Me, “Face It Girl, It’s Over, as well as one of her all-time classic hits, ” Guess Who I Saw Today.”
Though she recently retired, she won’t be forgotten. She’s recorded over 70 albums, and has won three Grammy Awards. Let’s wish Nancy Wilson a Happy Birthday!