Dionne Warwick has, over an illustrious four-decade career, established herself as an international musical legend. Her reputation as a hit maker has been firmly etched into public consciousness, thanks to nearly sixty charted hits since "Don't Make Me Over" began its climb up the charts in December 1962. As a performer, she has charmed and entertained audiences on every continent, amassing a worldwide audience. There are a few important "firsts" that make Dionne Warwick a true pioneer.
Dionne Warwick received her first Grammy Award in 1968 (for the classic "Do You Know The Way to San Jose?"), and in so doing became the first African-American solo female artist of her generation to win the prestigious award for Best Contemporary Female Vocal Performance. This award has only been awarded to one other female African-American legend, Ella Fitzgerald.
Other African-American female recording artists certainly racked up their share of crossover pop and R&B hits during the 1960's. However, Dionne Warwick preceded the mainstream success of some of her musical peers by becoming the first such artist to rack up a dozen consecutive Top 100 hit singles from 1963 to 1966.
Dionne Warwick's performance at the Olympia Theater in Paris, during a 1963 concert starring the legendary Marlene Dietrich, rocketed her to international stardom. As she was establishing herself as a major force in American contemporary music, she steadily gained in popularity among European audiences. Hits like "Anyone Who Had A Heart" and "Walk On By" brought successively larger visibility and success around the world. In 1968 she became the first African-American female performer to appear before the Queen of England at a Royal Command Performance. Since then, Dionne has performed before numerous kings, queens, presidents, and heads of state.
Her recordings of songs like "A House Is Not A home," "Alfie," "(Theme From) The Valley Of The Dolls," and "The April Fools" made Dionne Warwick a pioneer as one of the first female artists to popularize classic movie themes. In 1968 Dionne made her own film debut in the movie "Slaves". This marked the first time, since Lena Horne, that a contemporary African-American female recording artist achieved such a goal.
In recent years, Dionne's pioneering efforts have focused on leading the music industry in the fight against AIDS. Her Grammy-winning, chart topping, single "That's What Friends Are For," lead the way by raising, literally, millions of dollars for AIDS research. Throughout the world, Dionne has devoted countless hours to a wide range of humanitarian causes, serving as the U.S. Ambassador for Health throughout the Eighties. On October 16, 2002 she was named a global Ambassador for the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), based in Rome, Italy. Dionne has spearheaded the long overdue development and production of a history book that will detail African and African-American history for use in schools.