Nothing’s Impossible

Bounding over racial barriers and making history as an award-winning black female artist, the legendary Dionne Warwick has left a legacy with her 60-year career.

She’s won six Grammy Awards, her first in 1969 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and her latest in 2019 for the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Along with countless other honors, she’s sold more than 100 million records worldwide and continues to bless fans with new projects and appearances.

Warwick will grace the stage at the Edgewater’s E Center Saturday, Sept. 24.

She grew up singing in her family Gospel group and pursued an education in performing arts at Hartt College of Music. During this time, Warwick found work recording backing vocals in New York, which led to her own turn in the spotlight.

At one session, a certain composer, Burt Bacharach, became enamored with Warwick’s voice and hired her to cut demos of his songs, which he wrote with lyricist Hal David. When pitching the demos to producers, Warwick’s voice again stood out, earning her a contract with Scepter Records, with Bacharach and David as her songwriters. Through this beautiful partnership, Warwick released hit after hit, finding superstardom across the globe.

Her first single, “Don’t Make Me Over,” reached No. 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and No. 5 on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart in 1962. The song came off her debut album, “Presenting Dionne Warwick,” which was released early the following year.

Her undeniable talent was clear from the start, with her unique phrasing and inflections and sweet soaring voice that brought soul into the pop world.

Through the end of the decade, Warwick enjoyed success time and again with tracks like “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” which was her first Top 10 hit, “Walk on By,” “I Say a Little Prayer” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.”

By 1971, she decided it was time to move on from Scepter Records and signed a historic $5 million contract with Warner Bros. Records, the biggest contract given to a female vocalist up to that time. However, her composing duo of Bacharach and David broke up, leaving her without her partners who had written for her from the start.

Her next few albums did not chart as high, but she did find the Top 10 again in 1974 with “Then Came You,” a single she recorded with The Spinners. It was Warwick’s first single to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Warwick signed with Arista Records in 1979 and subsequently released another Top 10 single with the Barry Manilow produced, “I’ll Never Love This Way Again.” The song, and its accompanying album “Dionne,” were both certified platinum.

An unexpected collaboration with the Bee Gees made a splash in 1982 with the single “Heartbreaker,” which again made the Top 10.

Warwick is a strong supporter of the American Foundation for AIDS Research and in 1985 she recorded the benefit single “That’s What Friends Are For,” along with Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder. The song topped the Hot 100, R&B and Adult Contemporary charts and raised $3 million in funds.

Warwick has continued recording throughout the ‘90s and 2000s, and just last year released a collaboration with Chance the Rapper, called “Nothing’s Impossible.” Profits from the single benefit two different charities — one for youth education and another that provides meals for impoverished families.

Also in 2021, Warwick’s life and career were highlighted in the documentary “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over,” with a nod to her first single in the title. With 60 years in the industry, her success story is certainly one to be celebrated.