About Dionne Warwick
Marie Dionne Warwick is an American singer, actress, television host, and former Goodwill Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Warwick ranks among the 40 biggest hit makers between 1955 and 1999, based on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Charts. She is one of the most-charted female vocalists of all time, with 56 of her singles making the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998, and 80 singles making all Billboard charts combined.
Marie Dionne Warrick, later Warwick, was born in Orange, New Jersey to Lee Drinkard and Mancel Warrick. Her mother was manager of the Drinkard Singers, and her father was a Pullman porter, chef, record promoter and CPA. Dionne was named after her aunt on her mother's side. She had a sister, Delia , who died in 2008, and a brother, Mancel Jr., who was killed in an accident in 1968 at age 21. Her parents were both African American, and she also has Native American, Brazilian and Dutch ancestry.
She was raised in East Orange, New Jersey and was a Girl Scout for a time. After finishing East Orange High School in 1959, Warwick pursued her passion at the Hartt College of Music in West Hartford, Connecticut. She landed some work with her group singing backing vocals for recording sessions in New York City. During one session, Warwick met Burt Bacharach, who hired her to record demos featuring songs written by him and lyricist Hal David. She later landed her own record deal.
Many of Warwick's family were members of the Drinkard Singers, a renowned family gospel group and RCA recording artists who frequently performed throughout the New York metropolitan area. The original group, known as the Drinkard Jubilairs, consisted of Cissy, Anne, Larry, and Nicky, and later included Warwick's grandparents, Nicholas and Delia Drinkard, and their children: William, Lee and Hansom.
Marie instructed the group, and they were managed by Lee. As they became more successful, Lee and Marie began performing with the group, and they were augmented by pop/R&B singer Judy Clay, whom Lee had unofficially adopted. Elvis Presley eventually expressed an interest in having them join his touring entourage. Dionne began singing gospel as a child at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey.
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