Before Dionne Warwick expanded her fame to a new audience on social media with her hilarious tweets calling out fellow celebrities like Chance the Rapper, Nicki Minaj, and Cardi B –– earning her the title of Queen of Twitter, the 80-year-old superstar was known to the world as the Queen of Smooth Pop.
Originally born Marie Dionne Warrick, the "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" singer is the first of many titles. She was the first Black female solo pop star to rise to prominence. She began singing in a gospel group she created with her sister Dee Dee and aunt Cissy Houston (who would become Whitney Houston's mother) named the Gospelaires. “I come from a gospel-singing family,” she said in a 2020 interview with The Guardian. “We grew up like normal people grow up. Went to school like everybody else did. Did my homework and did the dishes as I had to. I had a normal life.”
The singer went on to work with Songwriters Hall of Famer Burt Bacharach, who eventually got her a record deal in the 1960s. Warwick released her first hit, "Don't Make Me Over," in 1962 and from there, she earned more success. She added two Top 10 singles to her catalog, "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "Walk on By," in 1964. She continued to paint the decade with multiple mainstream well-performing songs like "Message to Michael" and her rendition of "I Say a Little Prayer." Throughout the '70s and '80s, Warwick's career was carried by successes such as her collaboration with the Bee Gees Barry Gibb "Heartbreaker" and "That's What Friends Are For" featuring Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight. In the 1990s, Warwick began to run into financial troubles. At one point, she had a lien placed against her for unpaid taxes. In 2013, the star filed for bankruptcy after revealing she owed over $10 million in unpaid taxes. Nowadays, the singer's net worth is estimated to be around $500,000.
Nevertheless, Warwick overcame her troubles and continues to light up stages, and as of March 2020, she's made no plans to stop. “As long as I’m giving people the pleasure that they seem to have when they come to my concerts, and I’m doing it to the best of my ability. But when I feel that I have altered in any way, vocally, appearance-wise, or any of the other things that go along with it, that’s when I should gracefully bow out," she told the Guardian. That’s when she will return to Brazil –– where the singer lived for close to 23 years. “It’s my paradise,” she said. “I say when I’m through with showbusiness, that’s where I want to live.”