Lenny Williams possesses one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music.
Leonard Charles “Lenny” Williams was born February 16, 1945 in Little Rock, Arkansas. At a young age he moved to Oakland, California.
His interest in music was initially fueled when he learned to play the trumpet in elementary school, and his skills as a vocalist were nurtured by singing in gospel choirs and groups around the Bay Area. Lenny participated in numerous talent contests and after winning several, he signed his first recording contract with Fantasy Records. He cut two singles for the label including “Lisa’s Gone” and “Feelin’ Blue.”
In 1972, Lenny joined the emerging funk band Tower of Power. A string of hits followed. During his time with Tower of Power the group also recorded three albums: Back To Oakland, Urban Renewal and the gold LP Tower Of Power. Lenny and Tower of Power toured throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
At the end of 1975, Lenny returned to his solo projects. Initially signing with Motown Records, he later moved to ABC Records in 1977 (later purchased by MCA Records). Over the next four years he scored ten chart hits, including “Shoo Doo FuFu Ooh,” “Choosing You,” “You Got Me Running,” “Love Hurt Me Love Healed Me,” and “Midnight Girl”. Lenny recorded four more albums from 1977 to 1980: Choosing You, his first gold LP; Spark Of Love; Love Current; and Let’s Do It Today.
Over the past few years, Lenny has continued his solo career, touring the US, Europe and South Africa. Lenny Williams’ style has transcended into the new millennium, influencing many of today’s newest R & B and Pop vocalists. He has recently shared stages with such notables as Aretha Franklin, The Whispers, Rick James, Boney James, Bobby Womack, Ohio Players, Al Green, Usher, K-Ci & JoJo, Alicia Keys, Anthony Hamilton and Frankie Beverly and Maze. Lenny has also expanded his multidimensional career to include acting, starring in several stages plays including “Love On Lay Away,” “What Men Don’t Tell” and “When A Woman’s Fed Up.”
He continues making music today. In 2012 he was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. To learn more about Lenny Willams and other inductees, visit the exhibit at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. That museum is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.