The Full Wiki

More info on Victor Willis

Victor Willis: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Victor Willis
Birth name Victor Edward Willis
Born 1 July 1951 (1951-07-01) (age 58)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Genres Disco, Funk, R&B
Occupations Singer-songwriter, Actor
Instruments Keyboards/Piano
Years active 1977 – present
Labels Casablanca Records, Sutra Records
Associated acts Village People

Victor Edward Willis (born July 1, 1951) is a singer, songwriter, actor; and most known as the original lead singer of the disco group Village People. His persona was the "Cop" and "Naval Officer".

Willis' 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, he developed his singing skills in his father's church. With training in acting and dance, he went to New York and joined the prestigious Negro Ensemble Company. He appeared in many musicals and plays, including the original Broadway production of "The Wiz" in 1976 and subsequently, the Australian production.

Willis also had written and recorded several demos of music in the mid-1970s and was eventually introduced to French disco producer Jacques Morali. Morali, who dubbed Willis the "young man with the big voice", approached Willis and said, "I had a dream that you sang lead vocals on my album and it went very, very big".[1]

Willis agreed to sing lead and background vocals under the auspices of Village People, a non-existent concept group which included the hits "San Francisco (You've Got Me)" and "In Hollywood (Everybody is a Star)". The album became a huge hit in the burgeoning disco market. After an offer from Dick Clark for the group to perform on American Bandstand, Morali and Willis were pressed to develop a "real" group around Willis to perform live. They did so by placing an ad in music trade papers for "macho" singers who "could also dance" and "must have a mustache.".[1]

Willis was soon writing hit after hit produced by and co-written with Morali. Village People quickly rose to the top of the charts with Willis at the helm scoring numerous chart busters such as "Macho Man", "Y.M.C.A.", "In the Navy", and "Go West".

In 1980, as preparations began for a Village People feature film Can't Stop the Music were underway, Willis left the group. Although Willis does not appear in the movie, he wrote the lyrics for two of the film's songs, "Magic Nights" and "Milkshake". Can't Stop The Music became one of the biggest Hollywood movie flops of all time.[2]

After Willis departed, Village People never had another hit. In an attempt to "recapture the magic", Morali and Belolo convinced Willis to return to the group in 1982 for the album Fox On The Box. The album was not a success and, in 1983, Willis left the group for good.

Willis had a few well-publicized arrests because of his struggles with substance abuse. Following an arrest in 2006, he was given probation and ordered into rehab at the Betty Ford Clinic.[3] In 2007, following treatment, Willis made his first statement to the press in over 25 years, saying "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, Willis had declined offers to record and he consistently refused to perform any of his Village People hits. In 2007, after an absence of 28 years, Willis returned to the stage and began preliminary performances for an international comeback tour planned for 2009. However, in July 2008, he underwent a successful surgery at a San Diego hospital to remove benign nodules from his vocal cords, forcing a postponment of the tour.[4][5]

His autobiography is also scheduled for release in 2010.

In addition to Village People, Willis was co-writer of songs for other artists including the Ritchie Family and Patrick Juvet.

Willis was married to Phylicia Ayers-Allen (better known as Phylicia Rashād, who played Clair Huxtable on the The Cosby Show) from 1978-82. He also wrote the lyrics for her album, Josephine Superstar. On November 17, 2007 Willis married a second time. His wife, Karen, is a lawyer and executive.[6]


External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address