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Dionne Warwick Nominated for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Giving Race Some Jersey Flair


Dionne Warwick

Music icon Dionne Warwick was born in Orange in 1940. Courtesy of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

We’ll say a little prayer for her.

Dionne Warwick, the legendary singer who grew up in East Orange and now lives in South Orange, on Wednesday was nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2022. This is the 81-year-old’s second nomination.

“She has helped to define what it means to be cool and sassy and sophisticated and do your own thing,” says Nwaka Onwusa, the Hall of Fame’s chief curator, adding, “She definitely brings her New Jersey swag to everything that she does.”

With hits like “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Don’t Make Me Over,” and, later, “That’s What Friends are For,” the star “truly helped to define the sound of the 1960s,” Onwusa notes. Fans also “cannot dismiss her impact” on music icons ranging from Warwick’s own cousin, Newark native Whitney Houston, to Luther Vandross to Beyoncé. Houston was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020, eight years after her tragic death.

In recent years, Warwick has become as well known for her fun and sassy Twitter account as for her records.

She joins fellow 2022 nominees Beck, Pat Benatar, Kate Bush, DEVO, Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Judas Priest, Fela Kuti, MC5, New York Dolls, Dolly Parton, Rage Against the Machine, Lionel Richie, Carly Simon and A Tribe Called Quest.

Ballots are sent to a voting body of over 1,000 artists, historians and members of the music industry. Members of the public can also participate: Daily voting at vote.rockhall.com is live through April 29; the top five artists will comprise a fans’ ballot that will also help inform the selection of the 2022 inductees.

Before noon today, Warwick had already garnered nearly 6,000 fan votes.

The official inductees will be announced in May, and the formal induction ceremony is slated for the fall.

Last year, when Warwick was nominated but didn’t make it into the Hall of Fame’s class of 2021, she graciously tweeted, “Well, the votes have been counted and the inductees selected. Congratulations to all of the newly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 🎉🥰.” Tina Turner, Jay-Z and Carole King were among those inductees.

Whether she makes the final cut or not this year, Warwick is part of the New Jersey Hall of Fame. She was inducted in 2013 alongside fellow Garden State natives including Buzz Aldrin and Joe Piscopo. Houston was posthumously honored that year, too. At the time, Warwick said it was “double the pleasure, knowing she’s being inducted as well.”

Back in 2010, Warwick reflected on her Jersey upbringing and musical roots in an interview with us, saying her grandfather was the “first person who noticed me singing,” at his church—St. Mark’s Methodist Church in East Orange.

“He was the minister. He was my biggest fan. I was 6 when he discovered me, but really I’ve been singing all my life,” she said at the time.

She said music was all around her at home, with her mother as a member of the Drinkard Singers, a gospel group with other family members. She started singing professionally while in college at the Hartt College of Music in Hartford, Connecticut.

As for why she’s proud to be from New Jersey? “They don’t call us the Garden State for no reason,” she told us. “It’s beautiful. …There’s everything to enjoy here, which is why people from all over the country come here. I know not everyone agrees, but that’s their problem, not mine, you know? This is my home, where I come from, and I love it.”

Want to see Warwick perform in her home state? The icon is scheduled to sing at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City on May 14.

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