chicago born brigette mcwilliams has singing in her blood. her mother, paulette mcwilliams, dragged her daughter to gigs, where the young brigette met the likes of chaka khan, luther vandross and bette midler. accompanying her mother on tours, mcwilliams learned about music first-hand from the legends of r&b and soul. among her early influences, she lists aretha franklin, gladys knight, nina simone, chaka khan, ella fitzgerald and sarah vaughn. it would only be a matter of time before she would use what she'd learned on the road to bare her own soul, with the help of her incredible skills.
mcwilliams' 1995 debut, take advantage of me, was met with little acclaim. despite her obvious talent, critics accused mcwilliams of attempting to force a soul voice into an r&b hole. and as is often the case in the music industry, what is hard to define is impossible to market. while mcwilliams failed to make an impact on the charts, he soulful master of phrasing and delivery did not go unnoticed by industry insiders. shortly after the release of her album, brigette was asked to appear as part of the temporary group black women united. as part of b.w.u., mcwilliams performed on the panther soundtrack with the likes of en vogue, mary j. blige, me'shell ndegéocello, zhané and salt-n-pepa.
undaunted, mcwilliams' sophomore effort, too much woman reflects the jazz-infused soul that is her birthright. through the full foliage of her burnished alto shine the rays of her early influences as well as newcomers such as n'dea davenport and siedah garrett. "i knew from the beginning that this album would have to make a statement about who i am and where i come from," brigette explains, "but i feel confident enough to do it, and it's definitely worth the risk." in an effort to expose as much of her personal history as possible, mcwilliams enlisted soul talents such as bassist bobby watson (rufus), guitarist jimmy macon (gap band), guitarist al mckay (earth, wind & fire), keyboardist larry dunn (earth, wind & fire) and arranger claire fischer ( rufus, quincy jones and prince).
mcwilliams feels very attached to too much woman and scrutinized the song selection as carefully as fellow soul dynasty daughter, lalah hathaway. "i feel very connected to each of the songs this album is really a part of me and it fits together as a single piece. i see it as just one song, a movie from beginning to end."