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As her success grew, she found herself on the fast track. One thing led to another and Deniece became a backup vocalist for Stevie Wonder as part of “Wonderlove.” in the early 1970s. It was an exciting time and she experienced many things on her journey. In 1975, Deniece decided to venture forward, leaving Stevie Wonder and signing with Columbia Records. She then teamed up with two famed producers: Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, and his frequent collaborator, Charles Stepney. Her 1976 debut album entitled This Is Niecy was released. The single “Free” reached #2 on the Black Singles chart, #25 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on the British Singles chart. The album also featured “Cause You Love Me Baby” (which charted separately on the R&B chart as the flip side of “Free”) and “That’s What Friends Are For”. She also shared a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with pop singer Johnny Mathis in 1978 with the duet “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late”. The duet also topped the Black Singles and Adult Contemporary charts. Williams also topped the dance charts with her disco single “I’ve Got the Next Dance”. Mathis and Williams also recorded the popular theme to the 1980s sitcom Family Ties, “Without Us”.
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