Debórah Benton to Sing Dionne Warwick at DeYor Concert

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – After many years of showcasing the talent of others, Debórah Benton is stepping into the spotlight.

The longtime host of “The Valley Gold Show” on a local TV station will co-headline a May 1 concert at Ford Family Recital Hall that will feature the music of Dionne Warwick and Lou Rawls.

Joining her will be Leonard Julien as Rawls, and The Walt Barnes Jr. Band. Julien is an Atlanta-based soul crooner and songwriter.

Tickets for the 6 p.m. concert are available at the DeYor Performing Arts Centre box office; by phone at 330 259 9651; and at Each ticket also includes free admission to an after-party at Charlie Staples Pitt Boss BBQ, 372 W. Rayen Ave.

Benton has been in media and entertainment her whole career. But in recent years, she has been gaining recognition as a singer – her first love.

While Benton performed with choirs and bands as she was growing up in Youngstown, she put singing aside after graduating from college to focus on her career as a television producer, host and publicist.

She produced programming for the late Bishop Norman L. Wagner before launching “The Valley Gold Show with Deborah Benton” in 2005. The show is still going strong.

Benton’s publicity clients included Glenn Leonard of The Temptations and The McCrarys. But lately she had been praying for a way to get back into singing. That prayer was answered in 2019 when she got a call from her old friend G.C. Cameron of The Spinners, who suggested she do a Dionne Warwick project.

Benton took the advice and contacted musicians and entertainment professionals to get started. She soon joined a four-member girl group and embarked on an 18-concert Motown tour in Australia in 2020.

Shortly after she returned to Youngstown, the pandemic started and live entertainment was put on hold.

Forced to stay home, she spent the time honing her singing.

When live shows resumed, Benton’s gigs were usually met by praise from audience members, who told her she sounds like Warwick.

So when it came to picking songs for her act, there was no question which artist would make the list.

Benton always loved the music of Warwick, and said her newfound fans loved hearing her sing those songs.

“As a young child, I fell in love with the voice, the style and messaging of Dionne Warwick,” she said. “Of course, I loved all the divas – Aretha, Diana, Gladys, Patti. But Dionne’s music, the arrangements, the fluctuating melodies, all of that resonated very deeply with me.”

Singing those songs felt natural to her, and hearing the same from a friend with industry experience was the affirmation she had been waiting for.

“When G.C. Cameron got in my ear, I took that as a confirmation from God and I got busy,” she said.

Cameron had long known about Benton’s vocal qualities.

“I knew she had the voice when I did a little thing with her on her TV show years ago,” he said in a press release. “I’m from Motown. I’ve been performing all over the world with The Spinners and The Temptations for over 50 years, and that Dionne Warwick sound is unique. There’ll never be another Dionne. But Debórah is the next best thing.”

Pictured at top: Debórah Benton.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.