Movie Song May Boost Dee Dee Warwick, Too
Dee Dee Warwick took the risky step five years ago of leaving a money-making backup group to try and become a solo singer – with another Warwick already making it solo.
Now Dee Dee, whose sister, Dionne Warwick, sang the title tune to the movie, ‘Alfie’, has a movie title tune of her own, ‘Ring Of Bright Water’.
Dee Dee hopes that the exposure of the song, through radio play, sales and the Cinerama movie, will lead to more movie songs and some better personal appearances.
“I’m hoping the college circuit will open up. It might this year. I’m doing some universities in California – so maybe”. Currently, she’s doing a lot of one-nighters.
Dionne and Dee Dee (childhood nickname for Delia) got their start in a teen-age gospel group, the Gospel-Airs. Then they started a backup singing group for recording. When Dionne embarked on a solo career, Dee Dee became ‘contractor’ for the group, then called ‘Dee Dee’s Girls’.
“We used to do Dionne’s records and everything that came out of Atlantic and all of Aretha’s work at Columbia. We’d sing from 2 in the afternoon until 5 or 6 in the morning, going from session to session to session. They had me doing demo records as well, so I’d be in there at 11 in the morning. Can you imagine what that does to you ?”
“I think it was because I was so tired that I started blowing dates and I don’t like to do that. Once I had half of the group at one place and half at another doing two different dates I had booked for the same time. It came out all right. I was with one and Cissy Houston was with the other, but I decided to give it up rather than mess it up, you know.”
After Dee Dee left the group, her aunt, Cissy Houston, took it over and named it The Sweet Inspirations.
“Just starting out alone in the entertainment business is very, very hard”, Dee Dee says. “I was used to spending money. I had to tighten my belt. I almost went back, but I said no, I can’t go back. I’m sticking.”
Dee Dee has two LPs on Mercury, ‘I Want To Be With You’ and ‘Foolish Fool’. She also has had singles, “which should have been hits and weren’t. They were later for other people. What you need is exposure. The disc jockeys wouldn’t want to do anything to hurt Dionne, so they let me just bubble under all the time. Now they’re giving me consideration of an artist.”
“At first, they thought that Dionne made a hit and here comes her sister, like everybody’s sister does. But I can sing. Just give me a chance. When I get on stage, people don’t care whose sister I am. If I can’t sing. I’ll get off.”
“I love Dionne, but she sure has made it hard for me.”
Still, Dee Dee doesn’t want to change her name. “Not after five years, I’m not. It took Eva Gabor a long time to make it, but she made it.”
Dee Dee recorded ‘Alfie’ before Dionne did (May, 1966), when she was on a performing tour of gambling houses in northern England and Cilla Black had a hit with the song there. But it wasn’t released until long after Dionne’s – as a track on Dee Dee’s second album.
“I fell in love with the song and thought it was written just for me. Turns out it was written just for my sister.”
Dee Dee has another new single, besides ‘Ring Of Bright Water’, called ‘I (Who Have Nothing)’. “I produced it myself because my producer was sick. I take up producing. I’d rather do it for someone else. On your own songs, you hear everything you’re trying to give and it is really something.”
The Warwick sisters sound a good deal different from each other, Dee Dee thinks. “Dionne sings taut, like a doubled-up fist. I’m more relaxed in my singing, even though it is strong. I don’t think I want to tighten up like that, to reach the pitch she has to reach mentally. If I start to do that, it may influence me – I might start sounding like her. I have my own sound. I just want people to know it when they hear it.”
Source: The Victoria Advocate – Sep 21, 1969
Dee Dee Warwick - I Just Need You
Dee Dee Warwick - Foolish Fool (1969)
Dee Dee Warwick - I Want To Be With You (2001)
Dee Dee Warwick - Call Me (1984)
Dee Dee Warwick - Collection (2005)
Dee Dee Warwick - Turnin' Around (1970)