Kelli Williams, gospel music singer and songwriter, was introduced to the professional world of gospel music when she sang at age ten with Take 6 and Larnelle Harris. She then was a winner on the television talent show Star Search in 1993, at age 15, and two years later released her first CD, Kelli Williams. A second CD, I Get Lifted, followed in 1998 and earned nominations for a Dove and Nashville Music Awards .
A third CD, In The Myx, followed two years later. It represented a bold departure in style and content from her previous CDs and was nominated for Urban Gospel Album of the year. One of Her songs, "Love Wouldn't," was nominated for two Dove Awards and Contemporary Gospel Song of the Year. Williams was also nominated in 2000 for a Stellar Award as Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year.
Kelli was born into a family in which both her parents and extended family are very active as soloists and in singing groups and constantly rehearsing in the home. At age six, she began performing in church, impressing everyone with her rendition of a Larnelle Harris song.
An appearance with Take 6, the leading gospel group in the 1980s, was a validation of talent that surprised both her and her family. After winning the title of Teen Vocalist Champ three times on Ed McMahon's Star Search, she went on the road with Cece Winans as an opening act. This experience and the interaction with Winans, proved a maturing experience for her and an invaluable introduction to the rigors of professional performance.
Williams now provides a positive influence on the younger singers who travel on her tours. She encourages them to develop and understand their individuality, yet stresses to them the importance of their being united in their purpose of spreading the message of the gospel through song and living the life they sing about. In all that she does, she seeks to transcend cultural, racial, and denominational differences in order to reach as many people as she possibly can through her music.
Williams is married to Royce Malcolm, supervisor of a telecommunications company in Nashville, Tennessee, where they reside.
Sources: John Bush, All Music Guide, billboard.com; Interview with Kelli Williams by Christopher Heron, gospelcity.com, 25 December 2000; Derek C. Bowe, "Portrait of a Young Singer," Listen, December 2001, 16-17 14, 115