This Weeks Featured Artist is:
Born.Willie McKinley Hutchinson, 1946 in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Hutch grew up in Dallas where he sang with The Ambassadors. A keen and ambitious singer / songwriter as a teenager, Willie first came to the attention of the music business in 1964 when his debut single 'Love Has Put Me Down' was released by the Soul City Records label. His songs attracted the attention of The Fifth Dimension who recorded a number of them. Willie himself recorded with Venture prior to two albums in the early 70's with RCA (including 'Let's Try It Over').
In 1970, he received a phone call from producer Hal Davis who urgently needed a song written to a backing track he had entitled 'I'll Be There'. By 8 am the next morning, The Jackson 5 were in the studio recording it. Willie later co-arranged vocals on 'Got To Be There' and 'Never Can Say Goodbye' for the group, impressing Berry Gordy who employed him at Motown on a more permanent basis. Willie produced the first Smokey Robinson album without The Miracles, and when Sisters Love had a cameo role in 'The Mack', the group's manager suggested Willie record the soundtrack. The result was 'The Mack', including 'Brother's Gonna Work It Out' and 'Slick', Willie's first album for Motown in 1973. (Willie also worked with Sisters Love on 'Mr Fix-it Man'.)
His other albums at the label included 'The Mark Of The Beast' (1975); 'Concert In Blues' (1976), including 'Party Down'; 'Color Her Sunshine' (1976), including 'I Like Everything About You', 'Havin' A House Party' and 'Fully Exposed' before he joined the Whitfield label for two albums, 'In Tune (1978), including 'Easy Does It', and 'Midnight Dancer'.
In 1982, he wrote 'Keep The Fire Burning' for Gwen McCrae and returned to Motown for three collaborations with Berry Gordy.
The first was a duet for The Four Tops and Aretha Franklin 'What Have We Got To Lose' (1983), the second a song / production for Sammy Davis Jnr, 'Hello Detroit' (1984), and the third a soundtrack album for Berry's film 'The Last Dragon' (1985). This soundtrack included a Willie Hutch single 'The Glow'. During this period at Motown he wrote/produced 'Sexy Ways' for The Four Tops and released two albums, 'In And Out' (1985) and 'Making A Game Of Love' (1985), including 'Keep On Jammin'.
Willie has also written and / or produced for The Miracles, The Main Ingredient ('California My Way'), Junior Walker, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye, among others.
Willie released two albums in the Nineties. 'From The Heart' and 'The Mack Is Back'. Both sets were well received.