Iris Williams

b. 20 April 1944, Pontypridd, South Wales. A popular singer with an attractive rich, dark voice, who came to prominence in the UK in 1979 when her recording of ‘He Was Beautiful (Cavatina) (The Theme…
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Artist Biography

b. 20 April 1944, Pontypridd, South Wales. A popular singer with an attractive rich, dark voice, who came to prominence in the UK in 1979 when her recording of ‘He Was Beautiful (Cavatina) (The Theme From The Deer Hunter)’, entered the Top 20. While being raised by foster parents, Williams won her first talent contest at the age of seven. When aged 18 she was awarded a scholarship to the Cardiff School of Music and Drama, and later worked in a glove factory for three years. She began singing in social clubs in Wales, and soon graduated to playing club and concert dates in the UK, America, and Europe. In the early 70s, Williams had her own television series for BBC Wales, and was a regular guest on national radio and television shows. Her version of ‘He Was Beautiful’, on which she was backed by the BBC Midland Light Orchestra, was broadcast on Radio 2 in 1979, and generated such a favourable response that she recorded it straight away. The success of the record led to a series of television appearances and concerts at top venues, including the London Palladium. In 1981, she made her debut at London’s Royal Festival Hall, supporting American singer Vic Damone, and was named Vocalist Of The Year. A year later, she appeared with Bob Hope in his star-studded Golf Classic Cabaret.

In the 80s, Williams spent a great deal of time in the USA, and in 1990, while listening to Rosemary Clooney at the Rainbow & Stars nightspot in New York, she was ‘persuaded’ to sing the lovely ballad, ‘The Folks Who Live On The Hill’. Since then, she has eschewed contemporary material in favour of the standard repertoire, and has performed in cabaret at venues such as the Cinegrill, Los Angeles, the Oak Room at the legendary Algonquin Hotel in New York, and London’s Pizza On The Park. In March 2004 Williams travelled from her home in New York to London to accept an OBE award for her services to music and charitable causes.