The Real Thing (Vanessa Williams album)

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The Real Thing
Vanessa Williams - The Real Thing.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 2, 2009 (2009-06-02)
ProducerKeith Thomas, Babyface, Rob Mathes, Rex Rideout,[3] Guy Sigsworth[2]
Vanessa Williams chronology
Everlasting Love
The Real Thing
Singles from The Real Thing
  1. "Breathless"
    Released: February 24, 2009
  2. "Just Friends"
    Released: May 19, 2009
  3. "Close to You"
    Released: August 11, 2009
  4. "The Real Thing"
    Released: September 28, 2009
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[2]
Slant Magazine1/5 stars [4]

The Real Thing is the eighth studio album by American recording artist and actress Vanessa Williams, released on June 2, 2009 on Concord Records. [5] It features productions by Keith Thomas, Kenneth Edmonds, Rob Mathes, Rex Rideout, and Guy Sigsworth, and songs written by Stevie Wonder and Babyface. The Real Thing achieved moderate success, peaking at #91 on the Billboard 200. It also reached #1 on the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, #2 on the Top Jazz Albums chart and #36 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. As of May 2010, the album has sold 62,000 copies in United States. [6]

Background and composition[edit]

The Real Thing was originally intended to be a "Brazilian-type" record. However, when Vanessa Williams contacted Babyface for the album production, it was revealed the album would have a more R&B sound. She considered the album a combination of different influences, such as classical, jazz and Latin music.[7] The Real Thing was also produced by Keith Thomas, Rob Mathes and Rex Rideout, and features songs written by Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Bebel Gilberto, Phil Galdston, and Babyface.[1] When asked about the album style, Williams said:

"Yes, for me this is kind of a reflective record. [...] You know, I'm in my mid-forties; I've been divorced twice; I've raised four children; I'm a career woman... So it is a kind of look at love from all those different female perspectives. [...] 'The Real Thing' represents the promise of being back with a lover; 'October Sky' is a break-up song… Plus, with me being an actor who's also a singer, my favourite songs to sing are always those that tell a story. Because, when I go into the studio, I do kind of approach everything as an actor. [...] So, in that way, I do think all the songs on 'The Real Thing' either have some deep storyline, or can give an effect of a character at a particular time in a particular place."[7]


  • "Breathless" was released as the lead single from the album on February 24, 2009. It failed to chart, but Williams has stated that it is one of her favorite songs on the album.
  • "Just Friends" was released as the second single on May 19, 2009. It reached #10[8] on the Billboard Jazz Songs chart.
  • "Close to You" was released as the third worldwide single on August 11, 2009. The single also failed to chart.
  • "The Real Thing" was released as the fourth single on September 28, 2009. It was written by Stevie Wonder and was released with a Soul Seekerz dance remix.[7]

Track listing[edit]

1."Breathless"Lauren Evans, Tai Jackson, Rex Rideout4:50
2."Hello Like Before"John Collins, Bill Withers4:28
3."Loving You"Bayer Sager, Kenneth Edmonds, Rob Lewis3:33
4."Just Friends"Edmonds3:27
5."The Real Thing"Stevie Wonder5:12
6."Lazy Afternoon"John Latouche, Jerome Moross4:56
7."Close to You"Bebel Gilberto, Guy Sigsworth4:36
8."I Fell In"Shelea Frazier, Galdston4:47
9."October Sky" (feat. Javier Colon)Javier Colon, Evan Rogers, Carl Sturken4:28
10."Come On Strong"Sammy Cahn, Jimmy Van Heusen2:39
11."If There Were No Song"Lewis, Rob Mathes4:29


Charts (2009) Peak position
US Billboard 200[3] 91
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[3] 36
US Billboard Top Jazz Albums[3] 2
US Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz Albums[2] 1


  1. ^ a b "The Real Thing CRE 30816 02 : Vanessa Williams". Concord Music Group. 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Real Thing - Vanessa Williams - Album Review". Allmusic. All Media Guide. 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Real Thing - Vanessa Williams". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
  4. ^ "Slant review".
  5. ^ "Vanessa Williams (artist list)". Concord Music. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  6. ^ Donahue, Ann (16 May 2009). "Standard Bearer". Billboard. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Lewis, Peter (October 2009). "Vanessa Williams: In Vogue". Blues & Soul. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
  8. ^ " - Vanessa Williams Chart History". Retrieved 2011-12-30.