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When Village People burst on the scene in the 1970s, "they" became an overnight sensation. Actually, "they" were Victor Willis. Village People were a concept – the "group" was Victor Willis with use of session background singers.

Whenever you hear the unmistakable voice of Victor Willis, you know you'll be dancing... and smiling.  And there's no escaping it.  With record sales exceeding 100 million worldwide, you cannot turn on a radio without hearing him.  He's a crowd pleaser whose distinctive voice is heard at every wedding, party, and at every type of sports.

HOW IT ALL STARTED
In 1976 Horace Ott was the arranger for an album Victor was recording for an independent record label. Ott was also the arranger for French producer Jacques Morali who was producing "The Ritchie Family." Ott introduced Victor to Morali who immediately asked Victor to sing background on his Ritchie Family project. After hearing Victor's voice, Morali asked him to record lead vocals for a concept album he was mulling over. Morali told Victor he'd had a dream that one day he'd be the lead singer of a new group he wanted to create that would make him a star. Victor agreed and recorded an album called Village People. The album quickly shot to the top with songs like "San Francisco," and "In Hollywood (Everybody's A Star)." At this time Victor was performing in the original Broadway production of "The Wiz." After one evening's performance Morali rushed back stage with Billboard music chart in hand shouting, "Darling, darling, we're number one! You've got to quit The Wiz! Come now!" The songs were becoming so popular that people wanted to see Village People live; there was even a personal invite from Dick Clark for them to appear on American Bandstand.

FORMATION OF THE GROUP
Actors and dancers were quickly assembled by Victor and Morali to form Village People "the performance group," But Village People "the recording group" remained just Victor. After a few shows, Victor and Morali recast the group and held open auditions for these new members. They kept the Indian and the GI, while hundreds of applicants showed up vying for the positions of "construction worker," "leatherman" (not biker) and "cowboy." Victor eventually took on the role of "policeman." And this cast of characters took the world by storm.

HEIGHT OF SUCCESS
Morali, already impressed with Victors' writing ability and soulful sounds first heard on his 1976 demo album, invited Willis to consider being his writing partner for all the songs (Willis lyrics, Morali music) for the second Village People album, Macho Man, which quickly sold over a million copies and eventually earned double platinum status. While writing hits for Village People, the writing team of Willis-Morali was hot property, churning out two hit albums for Patrick Juvet, as well as, material for The Richie Family, and Phylicia Ayers-Allen [Rashad], Victor's former wife.

The next Village People album was Cruisin. It featured the blockbuster Willis-Morali hit "Y.M.C.A." which was a worldwide smash. It even inspired its own "Y.M.C.A dance." To this day, this iconic song and other music by Victor Willis can be heard in movies like Despicable Me 2, television shows and commercials for companies including a Pepsi Superbowl ad, Taco Bell, and Wonderful Pistachios. "Y.M.C.A." is one of the biggest selling songs of all time at 18 million copies – not counting digital downloads. It was also recognized by BMI for attaining over 1 million airplays in America.

Go West was the fourth Village People album, and Victor's final hit album with the group (with the exception of the release of Village People Live which went gold). Victor's departure spelled the end of gold and platinum records for Village People. Go West features the smash hits "In the Navy," and "Go West, which went on to become a major hit for the Pet Shop Boys. Victor's lyrics have become the group's anthem and most popular song. "Go West" was also featured in the hit Broadway musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

BEFORE VILLAGE PEOPLE
Prior to Village People, Victor was an aspiring solo artist, recording his own songs and national commercial jingles for companies like Lincoln-Mercury. Victor was also an actor. His first involvement in a major musical was as part of the cast in the Las Vegas production of "Hair."  He went on be cast in three Tony Award-winning plays: Two Gentlemen of Verona, The River Niger, and The Wiz. Victor's regular role in the Broadway production of The Wiz was Uncle Henry. However, he performed as the Tin Man and Lion frequently as he understudied both roles. Prior to his stint in the original Broadway production of The Wiz, Victor starred as "The Tin Man" in the Australian production. He also appeared in the Obie Award-winning dramatic musical The Great MacDaddy.

VICTOR WILLIS TODAY
In a well-publicized and precedent setting legal case, Victor recaptured the copyrights to his Village People music catalog and once again controls the rights to his music. His long-awaited solo album, Solo Man, is finally available. He garnered a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Most importantly… Victor Willis is back -- once again performing the songs that mean so much to his fans -- the songs that have become part of our lives. When you hear his powerful and distinctive voice singing San Francisco, In Hollywood, Macho Man, In the Navy, Go West, and Y.M.C.A., you're transported back to a time when life was a little less frantic and a lot more fun. 






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