Toni Through the Years......
Dutch country and pop singer Toni Willé was born as Antonia Johanna Cornelia Kowalczyk in Treebeek, the Netherlands on June 26, 1953.
Toni's Early Life
She was the daughter of a Polish miner and grew up in the town of Limburg. She began her music career along with her older siblings Betty Dragstra and Marianne Veldpaus as The Singing Sisters in 1963. They then became The BG's from Holland and changed their name a third time to Sweet Reaction in 1973. Sweet Reaction released the unsuccessful single "Tell Alain" in 1973. In 1975 the three Kowalczyk sisters became the singers for the Dutch country band Pussycat; With the sisters still the core members of the group, by early 1975 they had recruited drummer Theo Coumans, bassist Theo Wetzels, and guitarist John Theunissen.
Toni Tastes Success with Pussycat
Toni was the lead singer while her sisters provided backing vocals. Pussycat scored a massive international hit with the beautiful song "Mississippi" in 1976. Penned by composer Werner Theunissen, it is estimated that "Mississippi" sold over five million copies worldwide. It was later followed by "Smile" in 1976, and "Hey Joe" in 1978. Other hits were "If You Ever Come to Amsterdam", "Georgie", "Wet Day in September" and "My Broken Souvenirs". Their career in Europe spanned more than a decade and included some seventeen albums. By 1978 Hans Lutjens had replaced Coumans on drums, as the band continued to release albums and tour, travelling as far afield as South Africa. They made regular appearances on the West German TV series, Musikladen, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Pussycat enjoyed a steady succession of hit songs throughout the 70s and recorded a bunch of albums before breaking up in 1984.
Toni's goes Solo
Toni went on to a very successful solo career. She released the album "Privilege" in 1985 followed by "Working Girl" in 1987 and "New Words to an Old Love Song" in 1989. The Dutch magazine "Country Gazette" cited her as the best female country singer of the year in 1989. Toni was subsequently given this same accolade in both 1990 and 1991 as well. She sang the theme song to the Dutch thriller "De Flat" in 1994. In 1999 she sang the duet "Oh, How I Miss You" with Dutch singer Benny Neyman and recorded the album "American Duets" with him in 2000. In 2004 she sang the duet "Heart Half Empty" with singer Danny Vera. She often performs in concerts in Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Greece and South Africa where she has proved to be an especially popular singer with both old as well as new hits.
With her album "Pussycat - The collection and more" Toni recorded the biggest hits of Pussycat, with "I'll be your woman" as her favorite, but also some new songs, like the ballads "Desperado" and "Still on my mind" and her own version of the big Elkie Brooks hit "Pearl's a singer". With "Pussycat - The Collection and more" she proves once again that she is a unique singer in the Netherlands with an international sound; solo and with Pussycat. Toni Wille reunited with her sisters Betty and Marianne for the band Major Dundee's album "Young Gods" in 2005 and Dutch singer Dennis Jones' reggae cover of "Mississippi" in 2007.
One of Toni's endearing performances was in July 2010 at Suva, Fiji where at the end of the show she left the audience screaming for more. Another one of Toni's memorable concert performances was at Morelata Park in Pretoria, South Aftica on May 12, 2012. In July 2014, she made her appearance at the Amerciana International Festival at Loughborough, UK singing some of her most popular hit country numbers.
Today, Toni continues to spread her wings on her very successful solo career as a country artist. In August 2013, she released 2 new singles 'Happy' and 'What Love can Do' both composed by song writer Paul Logister. Besides her home country The Netherlands, she also frequently tours all over Europe, UK and SA. Almost every week she performs at various shows in Germany.
For more information visit please visit her page on Wikipedia