Born in Biloxi, Mississippi, Dickey began performing professionally at local clubs. She eventually began performing with a local venue’s house band known as The Jewels. During a tour stop in Miami, Joe Harris of The Undisputed Truth noticed Dickey, after hearing Dickey perform with The Jewels. Harris, who had been looking for a female singer to replace Brenda Evans, had Dickey flown to Los Angeles to audition for their music producer and record label CEO Norman Whitfield. After auditioning for Whitfield, Whitfield instead placed her in his newly signed group Rose Royce. Dickey was also given the stage name Rose Norwalt by Whitfield.

Gwen Dickey

Genre : '70s

In September 1976, Rose Royce released their first single “Car Wash”, with lead vocals performed by Dickey. The single peaked at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and sold over a million copies in United States. Rose Royce’s debut album Car Wash was released on September 13, 1976. The album sold over two million copies worldwide and won Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album in 1977. The album’s final single “I’m Going Down”, which also featured lead vocals from Dickey, peaked at number seventy on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reached number ten on the R&B singles chart.

The group’s second album Rose Royce II: In Full Bloom became a platinum-seller in the United States and topped the R&B albums chart and peaked at number nine on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. The album spawned three successful singles: “Do Your Dance (Part 1)”, “It Makes You Feel Like Dancin’”, “Ooh Boy”, and “Wishing on a Star”. Despite the poor chart performance of “Wishing on a Star”, which was lead completely by Dickey, the song became an international pop hit and garnered a certified silver certification in the United Kingdom.

In August 1978, Rose Royce released their third album Rose Royce III: Strikes Again!, which became certified gold in the United States. The album spawned two top-ten R&B singles: “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” and “I’m in Love (And I Love the Feeling)”. In 1979, Rose Royce released their fourth album Rose Royce IV: Rainbow Connection, the final album to feature vocals with Dickey. In April 1980, Dickey left Rose Royce to pursue a solo career after experiencing turmoil with other members of the group.

In 1993, Dickey released her debut solo album Time to Change, which spawned the single “Don’t Stop”. In 1994, Dickey and KWS released a cover of Chaka Khan’s song “Ain’t Nobody”. In 1998, Dickey sang a duet with rapper Jay-Z on a cover of Rose Royce’s “Wishing on a Star”, which peaked at number thirteen on the UK Singles charts. In the same year, Dickey also provided guest vocals on the song “Flying” by Romeo for the soundtrack of the movie “Albeltje”. In 2001, she headlined a musical tour called “What A Feeling” which played in major theatres throughout England. Dickey opened for James Brown at the One Grand Prix Ball in Monte Carlo and shared a bill with Meatloaf in Antwerp, Belgium for Night of the Proms to a sold out show for three nights that same year. In 2004, Dickey performed at the Glastonbury Music Festival in England. Dickey performed once again with James Brown at Monte Carlo for Formula 1 in 2005. She did an encore performance for the Formula 1 Drivers Annual Charity Ball in 2006. Dickey performed throughout the United Kingdom and Europe in both 2007 and 2008.

In 2010, Dickey and her former Rose Royce band members appeared in an episode Unsung.