D Train (entertainer)

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For the New York City Subway service, see D (New York City Subway service). For other uses, see D Train (disambiguation).
D Train
D Train 2014 Headshot.jpg
Background information
Birth name James Nelson Williams
Genres
Occupations
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • producer
  • actor
  • businessman
  • philanthropist
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
Years active 1980-present
Labels
Associated acts
Past members Hubert Eaves III

James Nelson Williams (born January 21, 1962), known by the moniker D Train, is an American singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, producer and actor. He rose to fame in the early 1980’s with the release of his first album “You're the One for Me” (working with songwriter/producer Hubert Eaves III initially as a duo), which spawned his first US Billboard Dance chart number-one hit, "You're the One for Me". His debut album (under the Prelude Records label) would also chart with the hits "Keep On" and the much covered Burt Bacharach hit "Walk on By". He would go on to work with Eaves producing hits on the follow-up albums Music and Something's On Your Mind before the duo disbanded. He then ventured forth as a solo artist, retaining the D Train name and was signed to Columbia Records, producing more hit singles on the albums Miracles of the Heart and In Your Eyes as well as producing additional albums under his own label, including 701 Franklin Ave..

As a songwriter, D Train has written for numerous artists, including Patti Austin, George Duke, Carl Anderson, John P. Key and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. He has lent his voice on songs for artists such as Michael Jackson, Elton John, Carrie Underwood and Mary J. Blige among others as well as numerous television and film soundtracks. He also hosted “The D Train Show” for many years on Sirius XM Radio and has enjoyed great success as one of the leading jingle vocalists in the industry.

D Train has a wide vocal range and his artistic influences include Rock, R&B, Soul, Dance, House, Blues, Gospel, Contemporary Christian Music and Native American Music. His music has been influenced by Nat King Cole, Paul Robeson, The Jackson Five, Tony Bennett, Mario Lanzo, Billy Epstein, Al Green, Bobby Womack, Mel Tormé and Carl Anderson.


Early Life[edit]

James Nelson Williams was born January 21, 1962 in Brooklyn, NY. He started singing at age 6 in the Washington Temple COGIC choir under the direction of gospel singer Rev. Timothy Wright. He began studying jazz guitar when he was ten years old. He attended Erasmus High School and played Defensive Tackle on the high school football team. It was here that the earned the moniker D Train after the well-known MTA Brooklyn subway line because, according to the team’s captain, “When he hits you, it’s like being hit by a train”. The nickname stuck. While working on a project with his fellow classmate, R&B singer Will Downing, D Train was introduced to musician/producer Hubert Eaves III. The duo broke out as an R&B/Dance group under the “D Train” name.

Career[edit]

D Train was signed to Prelude Records and their debut hit single "You're the One for Me" in late 1981, which reached #1 on Billboard’s Dance charts and remained there for 3 weeks. The single also charted and topped at #13 on Bilboard’s R&B charts as well as charting (#30) in the United Kingdom’s Top 100. In 1985, the song was covered released by Paul Hardcastle and vocalist Kevin Henry and released in the UK, charting once again (#15) on the UK’s Top 100. The song has since been covered numerous times, most notably by Prince in 2011 on Lopez Tonight and has also been featured in the 2013 Rockstar Games video game release (and 2014 re-release) “Grand Theft Auto V”. The song also appeared on the soundtrack of the 2004 British film “The Football Factory”.

D Train’s self-titled debut album was released in early 1982, but with the popularity of their first single, “You’re The One For Me” was adopted as the album’s new title. The album produced their next hit single “Keep On”, mixed by record producer François Kevorkian, which peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Dance charts and #15 on Billboard’s R&B charts. The album’s third single, the much covered Burt Bacharach single "Walk on By", also charted in both the US (#42 on the R&B charts) and the UK (#44 on the Top 100). Overall, the album reached #16 on the Billboard R&B Album charts and #128 on the Pop Album charts as well as peaking at #72 on the UK Album charts.

D Train’s second album, Music, was released in 1983. They again enjoyed chart success in both the US and the UK with their first single “Music”, which peaked at #12 on the Billboard Dance charts, #20 on Billboard’s R&B charts and #23 on the UK’s Top 100 charts. D Train enjoyed their first Pop crossover success with the album’s second single “Something’s On Your Mind”, which peaked at #5 on the R&B charts and #79 on Billboard Hot 100 and was later covered by Miles Davis on his album You're Under Arrest. The album’s third single, “Keep Giving Me Love” again proved successful on both sides of the Atlantic, charting at #24 on the Billboard Dance, #55 on the R&B charts as well as in the UK at #65 on the Top 100. The album overall topped out at #31 on the R&B Album charts.

The duo’s third and final album, “Something’s On Your Mind”, was released in 1985. This was also the final album under the Prelude Records label. They enjoyed success yet again on Billboard’s R&B charts with the single “Just Another Night(Without Your Love)”, which peaked at #59. A remix of their debut single “You’re The One For Me” also appeared on the album, which charted yet again in the UK at #15 on the Top 100.

A greatest hits album titled You're the One for Me-The Very Best of D-Train was issued in several European countries in 1985 [1]. Featured on this compilation was a remixed version of "You're the One for Me" and the tune charted a second time that year. This version was remixed by Paul Hardcastle, who had previously issued a cover version of the song and, by 1985, had become well known for his own hit "19."

Williams and Eaves parted ways in 1986 with Williams retaining the name D Train and embarking on a solo career. However, Eaves continued to assist D Train as a co-writer and musician. He was signed by Columbia Records and his first solo album Miracles of the Heart. Despite what many have argued were lackluster promotional efforts by Columbia, the album still produced more hits, including the album’s first single “Misunderstanding”, which peaked at #10 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop charts. This was followed-up by his next single “Oh How I Love You(Girl)”, which topped out at #22 on the R&B/Hip Hop charts. The album peaked at #51 on Billboard’s R&B Albums charts.

D Train’s next album, In Your Eyes was released in 1988. The album’s first single “Runner” peaked at #11 on the R&B/Hip Hop charts and the album reached #46 on the R&B Album charts. Following his departure from Columbia to pursue his own interests, D Train flourished as a songwriter. Besides co-writing his own songs, he has written songs for many other artists, including Vanessa Bell Armstrong and John P. Key’s “Something On the Inside”, Patti Austin’s “I’ll Be Waiting For You”, George Duke’s Children Of The Night” and "You Are The One In My Life” and Carl Anderson’s “Children Of A Lesser God” among others.

In 2009, D Train released his sixth album under his own label “701 Franklin Ave.”. Along with 14 tracks written and composed entirely by him, the album also included a rare live version of "Keep On".

D Train has had great success a prolific sessions singer, singing with a great many artists, including Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross (Dance With My Father), Vanessa Williams (Everlasting Love) Bette Midler, Cher, Mary J. Blige, Cheryl Lynn, Patti Austin, Kirk Whalum, Judy Collins, Aaron Carter, Elton John (Aida), Clay Aiken (Christmas), Natalie Cole (Snowfall On The Sahara), Marc Cohn (Listening Booth) and Lenny Kravitz (Strut). He also sang on soundtracks for the films “Perfect Stranger”, “A Walk In The Park” and “Strangers With Candy” as well as the TV show soundtrack “Dellaventura”.

D Train’s forthcoming seventh album, “The Other Side Of The Tracks” is slated for release in the summer of 2015.


TV and Film[edit]

D Train sang the original “Pokérap”, the official closing credit theme song for the cartoon Pokémon in 1999. The song also appeared on the show’s official soundtrack. Also in 1999, D Train provided backing vocals on the song “Eyes of a Child”, written by Trey Parker and performed by Michael McDonald for the film “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut”.

D Train appeared on camera and performed on the soundtrack of the 2005 film “Strangers With Candy”.

In 2007, D Train’s performances of "My Funny Valentine" and Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" appeared on camera and on the soundtrack of the film Perfect Stranger.


Other Ventures[edit]

As one of the leading jingle writers and vocalists in the industry, D Train has written and performed on some of the most recognizable commercial spots for the US Army, Verizon, Kmart, Pampers, Got Milk, Cotton, AT&T, Optimum Online, Kodak, Nescafe, Hanes, Budweiser, Home Improvement, and New York 1 to name a few.

In 2001, SiriusXM satellite radio signed D Train and created the program, “The D Train Show” on the Heart & Soul Channel 51. The show was a blend of a traditional DJ music program with talk. Some notable guests included Lionel Richie, Roberta Flack, Jet Li, John Legend and Alicia Keys. The show ran until 2008.

For the past 20 years, D Train has been the Music Director for “United Stations Radio Networks”, a New York-based radio and media company founded by Dick Clark and Nick Verbitsky. It was here, in 2013, that he met and quickly befriended Matt Visconti, a singer-songwriter and voiceover artist, and took him on as his protégé. The two almost immediately began writing and producing music spanning various genres like House, Rock, Country, Pop and Soul and continue to work together to the present.

D Train co-wrote (with Layton Delgado Bluesky) and sang the anthem for the Montaukett Nation, which was selected by the Nation as their official anthem in 2010. In appreciation, the Montaukett Nation bestowed the honorary name of “Cloud” to D Train.


Legacy[edit]

D Train's first three albums were re-released on CD in the 1990’s when Unidisc Music acquired Prelude Records and several other New York dance-music labels.

In 1997, The Notorious B.I.G.'s Sky's The Limit sampled part of D Train's song "Keep On".

Rapper Yo-Yo's "Iz It Still All Good" sampled D-Train's "Something's on Your Mind," which featured Gerald LeVert, in 1998.

"You're the One for Me" has been remixed by Larry Levan and Shep Pettibone and most recently was sampled by DJ Kue in his 2006 hit "I Got Love." "You're the One for Me" has also been sampled in the song "Girls" by the Prodigy from its album Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned.

In 2013, “You’re The One For Me” was featured in the release of the Rockstar Games video gameGrand Theft Auto V”, which was re-released in 2014 for Playstation 4 and XBoxOne.

Discography[edit]

D Train Duo Albums[edit]

Year Album Name Label Format U.S.
1982 You're the One for Me Prelude, Unidisc Records LP, CD 128
1983 Music Prelude, Unidisc Records LP, CD
1984 Something's On Your Mind Prelude, Unidisc Records LP, CD

D Train solo albums[edit]

Year Album Name Label Format U.S.
1986 Miracles of the Heart Columbia Records CD
1988 In Your Eyes Columbia Records CD
2009 701 Franklin Ave. Jungshin Inc. CD

Singles[edit]

Year Song U.S. Dance U.S. R&B U.S. Pop UK[1]
1982 "Keep On" 2 15
"Walk on By" 45 42 44
"D Train's Theme"
"You're the One for Me" 1 13 30
1983 "Keep Giving Me Love" 24 55 65
"Music" 12 20 23
"Something's on Your Mind" 5 79
1985 "Just Another Night (Without Your Love)" 59
"You're the One for Me" (remix) 15

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 133. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]

Template:D Train (entertainer)