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Nancy Wilson

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Information about Nancy Wilson

Profile image of Nancy Wilson

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
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Favorite Vacation Spot:
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Favorite Quote:
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Birthplace

Born:
2/20/1937
Birth Location:
Chillicothe, Ohio

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
2/20/1937
Birth Location:
Chillicothe
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Biography

Nancy Wilson was born on February 20, 1937 in Chillicothe, Ohio, to Olden Wilson, an iron foundry worker, and Lillian Ryan. Wilson attended Burnside Heights Elementary School and developed her singing skills by participating in church choirs. She attended West High School in Columbus, Ohio where she won a talent contest and was rewarded with a role as a host for a local television show. She then went on to attend Ohio’s Central State University where she pursued her B.A. degree in education.

In 1956, Wilson auditioned and won a spot as a vocalist for Rusty Bryant’s Carolyn Club Band. Afterwards, she moved to New York where she began working as a secretary at the New York Institute of Technology. While in New York, Wilson became friends with jazz saxophonist “Cannonball” Adderley who introduced her to her manager John Levy. With Levy’s help, she landed a record deal with Capitol Records and released her songs “Guess Who I Saw Today” and “Sometimes I’m Happy.” After touring and performing at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, California and the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, Wilson’s album Tell Me The Truth was released, and the following year, she won a Grammy Award for her album How Glad I Am. Wilson was the host of the Nancy Wilson Show from 1967 to 1968 and has appeared on several television shows and films throughout her career including I Spy and The Cosby Show.

After Wilson won her second Grammy Award with her album the Nancy Wilson Show, she went on to record overseas in Japan. In 1983, she was declared the winner of the annual Tokyo Song Festival. During the 1980s, Wilson released several albums including The Two of Us, Forbidden Lover and her fifty-second released album A Lady With A Song. Wilson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991 and in 1992, she was presented with the Whitney Young Jr. Award by the National Urban League. In 1994, after winning the Turner Broadcasting Trumpet Award for Outstanding Achievement, her album Love, Nancy was released. In the late 1990s, she became involved with MCG Jazz, a youth education program and a non-profit, minority-directed, arts and learning organization located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Wilson was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1999 and from 1996 to 2005, she was the host of the Washington, D.C based radio program, The Jazz Profiles. In 2007, Wilson celebrated her seventieth birthday with an all-star event hosted by Arsenio Hall.

Wilson passed away on December 13, 2018.

Nancy Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 15, 2007.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nancy Wilson's interview, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nancy Wilson describes her early childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nancy Wilson remembers her early interest in singing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nancy Wilson describes her family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nancy Wilson talks about her upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nancy Wilson describes her early education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nancy Wilson talks about her paternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nancy Wilson describes her early interest in cooking
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nancy Wilson describes her family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Nancy Wilson talks about her brother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Nancy Wilson lists her half-siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Nancy Wilson's interview, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nancy Wilson remembers the community of Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nancy Wilson remembers her first car
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nancy Wilson talks about her interest in reading
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nancy Wilson remembers her first television show, 'Skyline Melodies'
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nancy Wilson remembers joining Rusty Bryant's band
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nancy Wilson recalls her decision to pursue a solo musical career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nancy Wilson recalls her introduction to the music industry in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nancy Wilson describes her foray into acting
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Nancy Wilson remembers the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nancy Wilson remembers the challenges faced by female vocalists
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nancy Wilson remembers meeting Kenneth Dennis
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nancy Wilson remembers her marriage to Kenneth Dennis
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nancy Wilson remembers performing in New York City's nightclubs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nancy Wilson recalls recording live at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nancy Wilson remembers Frank Silvera
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nancy Wilson talks about her divorce
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Nancy Wilson talks about her early albums
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nancy Wilson remembers recording with Cannonball Adderley
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nancy Wilson describes her working relationship with John Levy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nancy Wilson describes the influence of radio on her success
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nancy Wilson remembers her early exposure to music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nancy Wilson remembers her baptism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nancy Wilson describes her marriage to Wiley Burton
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nancy Wilson describes her grandchildren
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nancy Wilson describes the changes in the music industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nancy Wilson describes her experiences in the music industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nancy Wilson remembers the racial discrimination in the music industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nancy Wilson talks about the Grammy Awards
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nancy Wilson talks about her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nancy Wilson talks about her most popular songs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nancy Wilson talks about her favorite vocalists
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nancy Wilson reflects upon the reviews of her performances
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Nancy Wilson describes her civic engagement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nancy Wilson remembers Lou Rawls
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nancy Wilson talks about the hip hop genre
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nancy Wilson describes her hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nancy Wilson reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nancy Wilson describes the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nancy Wilson describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Nancy Wilson reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Nancy Wilson talks about her song, 'How Glad I Am'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Nancy Wilson describes her plans for the future
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Nancy Wilson describes her duets