Warren Tipton was born in Gary, Indiana in 1958, the. sixth of eight children. Musically, he started sing publicly in High School. Singer Denice Williams, a Gary native, put on a talent show in 1978 in which the group Tipton was with won First Place.
Tipton has performed with several bands in the Northwest Indiana/Chicago area, including two corporate groups (Connexion Bandand TVK – lead singer in both). For seven years, Warren was lead singer of Northwest Indiana based band “Together”.
Since 2018, Tipton has been one of the principal lead singers of the iconic, ‘70s soul/pop group, The Chi-Lites, who had a Number One Billboard single in 1972 with “Oh Girl” and a Number Three Billboard hit in 1971 with “Have You Seen Her“.
Tipton is well-versed in several genres of music, including Pop, R&B, and Show Tunes. He can go back as far as the 1940’s era to today’s current sounds. His vocal range goes from a Smokey Robinson-esque first tenor, to a Temptations/Melvin Franklin-like bass. Tipton is also a retired police officer with over twenty years of service.
Indie Pulse Music recently had the opportunity to interview Warren for its 5 Quick Questions series, here’s how it went.
IPM: Let’s discuss your music background, that is, the bands that you sang with leading up to joining the Chi-Lites?
My musical background started in the early 1960s. As a little boy, there was a lot of music in my home. We were a large, African American family; four boys, four girls. My dad worked in the local steel mill, as did most men in Gary, Indiana. He loved his easy listening music. My mom was a homemaker and loved show tunes and 1950s/60s pop. I was the sixth of the eight children, so my older brothers and sisters loved everything from Motown to the Beatles, the Stones, and some 1960s/70s rock. American Bandstand and Soul Train was huge in my home!
Groups I’ve performed with? Of course, in Gary, after the Jacksons made it, we all thought we could. My first group was an Capella group out of High School call “Monarch”. We honed our harmonic abilities listening to lots of R&B, Temps, Miracles, Spinners, Chi-Lites. As I grew older, I stepped out from the background, and started singing more lead. I fronted a Gary-based band called “Boss” in the early Eighties. I became a husband/father of three, and music wasn‘t really paying the bills, so I became a police officer!
I started singing at a lot of weddings, funerals, and developed a reputation for doing that. In the early 2000’s, I joined a Chicago-based group called “Voices”. We were very good and did many exhibitions in Chicago land. I was involved in a life-changing accident in 2008 and was laid up for ten months.
I had to learn how to walk again. But once I recovered, I went right back to singing. I started performing with corporate bands in the Chicago area. First, “Connexion Band” (that’s how they spell it), and another corporate band, “TVK”. After singing here and there, and doing some solo work, I started with an Indiana-based band, “Together”. It allowed me to stretch out my pop music chops, as well as my R&B roots. I still perform with this band today.
IPM: Who were your musical influences as you were learning to sing – that is, what artists and groups, did you listen to early on?
My influences were everything – Motown, and lots of pop! The main radio stations were WLS (Chicago), WCFL (Chicago), WMPP, WGRT (soul stations, Chicago), and WWCA (Gary).You can imagine my joy when the Jackson 5 went to Motown in 1969! But when I discovered a particular radio program in the early seventies, I was hooked. Kasey Kasem’s American Top 40 took my musical influences to a whole new level. I started listening to everything from Credence Clearwater Revival, America, The Rolling Stones, Gordon Lightfoot, Elton John, Chicago, but still kept a firm grip on all things R&B.
IPM: As a touring member of the Chi-Lites, where did your travels take you? What were some of your favorite memories of touring life on the road?
Touring with the Chi-Lites has taken me all over the country – including California, where I fulfilled a dream, singing on the stage of the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. I had seen Earth,Wind, and Fire there in the late Seventies! We’ve performed in San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Texas (Houston, San Antonio, El Paso), Philadelphia, Ft. Lauderdale, and of course, Chicago. I’ve gone from singing for hundreds with “Together”, to singing for thousands with the Chi-Lites!
IPM: How has the music business changed since you started? In your opinion, for better, or for worse?
The music business has changed, for the better, and for the worse. Back in the day, in many cases, your abilities carried the day. No”auto tuning”. You had to truly sing!
Instrumentalists had to play. Today, you’ve got artists that don’t really do that. But music is generational. And tastes are growing. My parents didn’t really care for some of the R&B and pop I listened to, and I wasn‘t much of a fan of rap that my children listen to (although my oldest son has turned it into a successful career).
IPM: What are your plans going forward for making/recording music; and touring/performing live?
While I’m enjoying my time with the Chi-Lites and Together, I’m presently building my own musical entity called “Music4Life”. It’s a live show featuring myself on lead vocals and giving audiences the best in Old School music! A truly entertaining experience! My vision for “Music4Life”, will be a combination of many genres of music! From R&B, to Pop, some Latin flavor thrown in (I’ve got an amazing Latina joining me), and a variety of music that will keep the audience hyped! This show will be the best of everything, and audiences will definitely want more! My manager, John Kositis is helping me put the finishing touches on the show.
More on Warren Tipton:
For additional information, contact Tipton’s manager John N. Kostidis at Jnk714@yahoo.com.
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