Victor Willis

Infobox musical artist

Name = Victor Willis
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Victor Edward Willis
Born = birth date and age|1951|07|1|df=yes
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Died =
Origin =
Instrument = Keyboards/Piano
Genre = Disco, Funk, R&B
Occupation = Singer-songwriter, Actor
Years_active = 1977 – present
Label = Casablanca Records, Sutra Records
Associated_acts = Village People

Victor Edward Willis (born on July 1 1951 in Dallas, Texas) is a singer, songwriter, actor; and original lead singer of the disco group Village People. He was also one of the only two straight members of the original group (the other being Glenn Hughes). His persona was the "Cop" and "Naval Officer." His powerful R&B vocals defined the sound of the Village People and remains one of the most recognizable voices from the disco era. The son of a Baptist preacher, his singing and writing skills were developed in his father's church. With training in acting and dance, he went to New York and was in the original Broadway production of ""The Wiz" in 1976 and subsequently, the Australian production.

He also did background vocals on many albums. It was during one of these studio sessions that French disco producers Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo, discovered the young man with the "big voice." Morali told Willis, "I had a dream that you sang lead vocals on my album and it went very, very big." It did hit big, and he and Belolo were so impressed they developed a concept group around his vocals to perform live. The group which would eventually be called "Village People", was formed after Willis recorded the would-be-group's first album with use of professional background singers (not Village People members). The first album contained the hits "San Francisco (You've Got Me)", "In Hollywood (Everybody is a Star)", "Fire Island" and "Village People."

The group quickly rose to the top with Willis at the helm scoring hit after hit such as "Y.M.C.A,” "In The Navy", and "Go West", etc. Willis also wrote lyrics to all the group's major hits. In 1980 preparations for the disco movie "Can't Stop the Music" were underway and Willis wrote the lyric to two songs to be used in the film, "Magic Nights" and "Milkshake". However before production of "Can't Stop the Music" commenced Willis hastily exited the group and does not appear on screen in the film. The film proved to be a commercial failure. After Willis left, the hits stopped too. In an attempt to "recapture the magic", Morali and Belolo convinced Willis to return to the group for the 1982 album "Fox On The Box". In 1984, Victor Willis left the group for good. "Can't Stop The Music" remains one of the biggest Hollywood movie flops of all times.

Willis had a few well-publicized arrests because of his his struggles with substance abuse. In his first statement to the press in over 25 years, he said "the nightmare of drug abuse is being lifted from my life... now that the haze of drugs are gone, I'm thinking and seeing clearer now than I have in years... I'm looking forward to living the second part of my life drug free."

Since exiting the Village People, Victor Willis had declined offers to record and he consistently refused to perform any of his Village People hits until recently. He had become an enigma in the eyes of millions of Village People fans and source of worldwide fascination and attention as the press continued to follow his every step, and misstep, since leaving the disco group.

According to recent reports, the reclusive star remains the “wealthiest of all the Village People members due to lucrative royalties he still receives” from his writing credits to hits like "Y.M.C.A.", "In The Navy", "Macho Man" and numerous other hits for the Village People, Ritchie Family and Patrick Juvet.

After an absence of 28 years, Willis returned to the concert stage in summer 2007. The "Victor Willis Dance Tour" began preliminary performances as it gears up for a full-scale international tour, to coincide with the release of Willis' autobiography, in 2008.

On November 17 2007 Willis married a lawyer and executive named Karen, said to be 10 years his junior. [,,1942470,00.html Everyday people] .

Victor Willis underwent a successful surgery at a San Diego hospital on July 7, 2008 to remove benign nodules from his vocal cords, thereby resetting a U.S. tour for October. [ [, Village People singer has surgery on vocal cords] ] [ [, Original Village People policeman in hospital] ]


*He is the former husband (1978-1980) of Phylicia Ayers-Allen, better known as Phylicia Rashad, who played Clair Huxtable on the "The Cosby Show". He obtained a record deal for his then wife resulting in an album titled, "Josephine Superstar". The lyrics were written by Victor Willis, including "Saint Louis", a disco classic in the spirit of "San Francisco".

*Victor Willis wrote songs for The Ritchie Family, Phylicia Allen, and European disco star Patrick Juvet for whom he wrote, "I Love America," "Swiss Kiss," "Lady Night," and "Viva California," to name a few.



External links

* [ Official Victor Willis Website]

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