Old school came to life in Baltimore on April 9th when The Manhattans, along with The Chi-Lites, The Dramatics and Bobby Womack performed at The Lyric Opera House. The show was awesome as usual. The Manhattans opened the show with their classic "Never Find," and ended with "Shining Star." The Manhattan Express does a version of "Shining Star" that always brings down the house. From the first note to the last, The Manhattans bring it on. Although they were only on stage for 15 minutes, they left the crowd wanting more.
I had the opportunity to sit down with the lead singer of The Manhattans, Lee Williams. Although Williams was on his way back to New York, he made time to speak to his fans. He has a style that is relaxed and unassuming. He is a gentleman in every sense of the word. He's soft-spoken and sincere, and he believes in giving his best at all times. His voice is as smooth as silk, and although he is known as an R&B singer, you can hear just a hint of those gospel roots in his performances. His open and honest answers made the interview more like sitting down with a friend. The following are excerpts from our conversation:
Sharon: We just want to know what the real Lee Williams is like. For instance, what is your favorite food?
Lee: Fish. I love fish. I especially love red snapper.
Sharon: I know, I like fish too. Salmon is my favorite.
Lee: I like that too.
Sharon: I know that you are married. Do you have any children?
Lee: Yes. I have been blessed with 3 sons and 4 daughters.
Sharon: Wow. I know they keep you pretty busy.
Lee: Yes, they do. My youngest is 8 years old.
Sharon: Are your children involved in music?
Lee: My youngest is playing piano and a couple of my children also sing.
Sharon: What are some of your favorite things to do?
Lee: I jog at least 2 miles a day. I also play guitar, and piano.
Sharon: I didn't know you were a musician too.
Lee: I just play enough to write songs. Currently, I write songs for The Manhattans and other groups.
Sharon: Are you working on anything special?
Lee: I would love to do a musical on the life of Sam Cooke. He is one of my favorite performers. He never got the recognition he deserved while he was alive, and I think it's time we honor him for all the contributions he made to the music industry.
Sharon: What was your first job?
Lee: I was a gardener.
Sharon: Do you still love to work with plants and flowers?
Lee: Yes. I was born and raised in Kinston, North Carolina. I go back there often to visit with friends and family.
Sharon: What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Lee: Always do your best. Know your craft, train your voice, and take care of your instrument. There are a lot of people who will take advantage of you, but if you understand the business and what you want to accomplish, it will be a lot harder for them to do that.
Sharon: How do people describe you?
Lee: People describe me as being very forward. I give my all. I also want the audience to feel the song that I am singing. If they don't feel anything, then I am not doing anything.
Sharon: O.K. This is my last question. How do you feel about being compared to Gerald Alston?
Lee: Gerald is a friend of mine, but this is my time. I would never say anything negative about him. We have different styles, and there is room for both of us out there. I take nothing for granted. Singing is a gift and I thank God for continuing to bless me. I have been fortunate to find a group of people (The Manhattans) who are also spiritually based. I'm just happy to be living my dream.
Stay tuned for other interviews with the members of The Manhattans.
This site was last updated 10/11/07