Episode 119 - Paulette McWilliams

Hailing from Chicago, Paulette McWilliams became the lead singer with Ask Rufus and was solely responsible for introducing the group to her dearest friend, Chaka Khan. For a period of time, Paulette and Chaka shared the lead in Ask Rufus until Paulette left.
Moving from gig to gig, She was introduced to Quincy Jones. Paulette became solo/lead singer with Quincy during his “Body Heat” tour and he featured her on his Mellow Madness album – the title song co-written by Paulette. Next, they toured Japan where one of Paulette’s dreams came true: singing a duet live with the legendary Sarah Vaughan while Quincy conducted the orchestra.
After moving to NYC, Paulette also toured and sang live with Luther Vandross and recorded with Luther on every album he recorded from 1982’s “Forever For Always For Love”.
Paulette performed all of the Tammi Terrell duets with Marvin Gaye on his last tour. She has worked with some of the best musicians in the industry: Quincy Jones, Luther Vandross, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Billy Idol, David Bowie, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson.
Paulette has performed at several international jazz festivals/clubs and sung on TV commercials for Folgers Coffee, Kellogg, McDonalds, Coca Cola, Diet Pepsi (with Britney Spears) and Mercedes. She also sang on the Nike TV spot and appeared with Kobe Bryant for his last game.
In 2020, Paulette completed her album titled appropriately “A Woman’s Story” with Grammy Award winning producer Kamau Kenyatta. With Kamau’s arrangements of both original and cover songs paying special tributes to Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, and Luther Vandross.