June 22, 1974 – Nov. 25, 2015
Chauncey Northington, a Buffalo singer known for a smooth style and musicianship that led him to sing at a luxury hotel in Egypt and write songs for national performers including Debra Cox, died Wednesday in the crash of his car into a house on Davidson Street. He was 41.
Mr. Northington, who was known as “Mr. R & B” by friends and fans, had been driving to work at Absolute Care nursing home in Orchard Park when the crash occurred.
Saxophone player Will Holton remembered his friend’s professional approach and masterful singing that captured the sound of Marvin Gaye and Avant.
“He could sing one word, and he would hold so much power,” Holton said. “He was so good, even if the band wasn’t as tight, he would break the band down and sing a capella. He had perfect pitch.”
The two had been preparing for a February performance in the Tralf Music Hall.
Holton will now add to the project by setting up a music scholarship in honor of Mr. Northington, a graduate of Bennett High School.
“The story wasn’t over yet,” said Holton. “The best was yet to come.”
Friend and fellow professional singer Nikki Hicks performed a duet with Mr. Northington at a recent memorial service for mutual friends. He was, she said, a powerful stage presence.
“This boy was so charismatic,” said Hicks. “He had such a power over the women, especially. His voice was truly touched by God, and he knew how to use it.”
Hicks said he always made a point of reaching out to other people, including a phone call to her not long ago when she was feeling down.
“When they told me it was Chauncey, all I could do was cry,” she said.
Mr. Northington’s sister, Shavone, said her brother pursued his career after high school and headed to California. His successes included writing songs for Cox and Simply Red and a stint singing for three or four months at a five-star Egyptian hotel.
At home, he made a point of texting his sister daily to say he loved her and always hugged his parents before leaving for work, as he did on Wednesday.
“I’m very proud of the person that he was and of the legacy that he’s leaving,” Shavone said. “He will be missed, truly.”
Survivors in addition to his sister include his parents, Alvin and Dianna.
A memorial service will be held at noon Wednesday in Prince of Peace Church, 669 Kensington Ave.