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CeCe Winans goes to church on new album, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Thursday, March 11, 2021

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Among the many first ladies of gospel, CeCe Winans reigns in an upper echelon.

The Detroit native and member of the famed Winans family -- now living near Nashville and sharing ministry with her husband Alvin Love -- Winans holds a dozen Grammy Awards, 21 Dove Awards and 15 Stellar Awards, both with her brother BeBe and, since 1995, on her own. She's been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and has stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Nashville Music City Walk of Fame.

Winans, 56, adds to the legacy with "Believe For It," a worship concert out Friday, March 12, that combines fresh original material, including the title track and "Never Lost," as well as material by fellow Michigander Fred Hammond, Amanda Falk and others. It's a dynamic and uplifting collection -- and, Winans hopes, the right message for a challenging time...

• Winans says by phone from Nashville that after a life spent in church, recording a service experience was not exactly a stretch. "Probably my favorite thing to do is worship in church, worship with my brothers and sisters. And to be able to create a record that people can do just that...especially for my first live record, I thought that would be an awesome way to do it and create songs people can just come together and worship on. I just believe it's going to be a blessing for people who hear it."

• Recording of the album was delayed because of the pandemic, and then held in a monitored, socially distanced setting. But Winans hopes "Believe For It" conveys message she feels is necessary right now. "I know people have lost loved ones. People have been isolated, feeling lonely, feeling hopeless, wanting to give up, giving in. My prayer was, 'Lord, you've got to show up. This is so not about me. This has got to be bigger than me. Just help us to capture your spirit, help us to capture your love, your power," because in his presence there's fullness of joy, and people need to hear joy."

• Winans and her team did not initially plan to include new songs on "Believe For It." But when the original recording was delayed it became a possibility. "Kyle (Lee), one of my producers, was like, 'I think something's missing,' but we didn't know what it was. So we just started playing and they (Lee, Mitch Won and Dwan Hill) started writing something. They would come to me and give me little ideas and we kept working and that became 'Believe For It.' I said, 'That's bigger than a song. That's an anthem. That's something we want people to hang their hats on.' So we finished it, and it was just powerful. Everybody knew we wouldn't have this song if we had (recorded) earlier."

• In addition to "Believe For It," Winans is also featured on Carrie Underwood's "My Savior," a gospel album coming out March 26. "It was awesome. I met her years ago, when she won 'American Idol.' We both (performed at) the White House together. I’ve seen her career blossom and, what can I say -- she's amazing. I was reaching out to her to do a live concert with me...and at the same time she was reaching out to me to sing on her album, so it worked out perfectly. I got the chance to do 'Great is They Faithfulness' wither here, and we had a good time. I'm just honored to be on her record and so excited about her doing a hymns record. She'll be introducing those powerful hymns to her audience."

• Looking ahead, Winans has "a few things I want to do," in particular "an album to honor Andrae Crouch. I want to record all of his songs and hook up with different guests on those songs. I just want the next generation to really hear what they missed. There's so much beautiful music there..."

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