Skip to content

‘Congratulations’ Singer, Vesta Williams, Found Dead at 53

R&B Singer Vesta Williams was found dead in an L.A. hotel room where she reportedly lived.  The “Congratulations” singer was 53 years old.

The story is still developing and no cause of death has been determined.

Her recent tweet for Amy Winehouse can now unfortunately be applied to her life:

Vesta Williams (born Dec. 1, 1958, Coshocton, Ohio) was an American R&B singer. She was sometimes credited by her full name and sometimes simply as Vesta. She was known for her full four-octave voice range.

The daughter of a disc jockey, Williams began performing at an early age as a stand-up comic and singer in high school. Her family moved from Ohio to Los Angeles in the 1960s. Williams and her sisters once appeared on the television show “Jack and Jill” as The Williams Sisters. She returned to Ohio in 1977 and sang in her cousin’s band in Dayton, but soon returned to Los Angeles to launch a solo career.

Former Fifth Dimension member Ron Townsend, put Williams in his band Wild Honey. She eventually became a highly sought after studio singer doing stints with Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and Stephanie Mills. Williams sang on the original version of Joe Sample’s “The Survivor,” and met producer David Crawford while working with his group Klique. She scored her first record deal in 1986 with A&M Records, which released her first self-titled album. The album featured her first Top 10 R&B hit “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.”

Her 1988 album, Vesta 4U, produced the quiet storm singles “Congratulations” and “Sweet Sweet Love.” The up-tempo dance track “4 U” also hit the R&B Top 10. In 1991, Williams released the album Special and the title track as a single. Both became her biggest charters. Her next album, Everything-N-More, was not as successful and she soon left A&M. She continued to be a popular session singer, landing regular spots on albums by such artists as Phil Perry, Howard Hewett and George Duke.

In 2007, she released an album of R&B classics on the Shanachie label titled Distant Lover. Produced by Chris “Big Dog” Davis, it features songs originally recorded by Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Sade and Deniece Williams.

The final edits were just completed for the singer’s TVOne “Unsung” episode. Listen to friend, Bowlegged Lou (Full Force), talk about Williams, his last conversation with her and the “Unsung” episode.

Bowlegged Lou remembers Vesta Williams by CherieNic

Check back for updates.

December 2010 interview:



12 Comments

  1. Deirdre Fairfax on September 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    My deepest sympathy to the family of Vesta.  I heard the news early this morning on the Steve Harvey Show 105.7WBLS.  Another great lost.  RIP Vesta.

  2. Deirdre Fairfax on September 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    My deepest sympathy to the family of VESTA.  Another great loss. Such a diva! RIP.

  3. DaMutha on September 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Beautiful voice.  Beautiful lady.  Rest in peace, Vesta.

  4. DaMutha on September 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Beautiful voice.  Beautiful lady.  Rest in peace, Vesta.

  5. Ginger Dee on September 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Sad news. Thanks for sharing. 

  6. Patricia Thatgirl Trish Smith on September 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    WOW ANOTHER GREAT ARTIST IS GONE

  7. Nancy1 on September 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Another great lost…He is a video done by Vesta, stating she was 53.  View link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk-DkQZnKbA&NR=1

    • Anonymous on September 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

      Thank you, Nancy1. She did say she was 53, which contradicts reports of her being born in 1963.  But what better information can you receive than straight from the artist? 

  8. Loiseys on September 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Wow! I can’t believe it. My heart hurts. Whats going on? Why are we losing so many talented singers. My sincere condolences go out to her family. God bless.

  9. Anonymous on September 24, 2011 at 4:02 am

    May Vesta Williams rest in peace. I will admit that I used to have a mad crush on Vesta, when she first came out. Dang, I have not heard from her in so many years, So sad to hear this story. 

  10. Ms_Cat_Woman on September 24, 2011 at 4:35 am

    God rest her soul, i am so sorry to hear that she died, i am so sick of this music industry, the only cater to certain artist, and that is so unfair, she had a voice, i listen to a lot of her videos, i never notice before that she does sound a little like Chaka Kan, she still had her on style. They can take the fat white women and don’t complain, and then even after she lost all that weight, what happen nothing, Beyounce, JLo, they can’t sing, it just makes me sick. What happened to black people helping each other, look at Olivia off of Love and Hip Hop, that girl can sing. But no, you see people like Kim off of AHW, she can’t sing, Melissa off of HWNJ, give me a break she cant’ sing either. Because her husband got bank now she can sign. Vesta God Rest Your Soul. I’,m really pissed off. Brittany Spears lose her damn mind and shave off her hair out acting a fool and when she gets done, she comes back got perfume and everything.

  11. Jacqueline Wright on September 26, 2011 at 4:18 am

    R.I.P. you will be missed!