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CeCe Winans - Artist Profile

  • 1999 12 Dec
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CeCe Winans - Artist Profile



If you catch a glimpse of {{CeCe Winans}} on television or in concert, you'd never know the truth. Oh, you might notice her poise, her talent, and her class that have made her a leading lady in the world of contemporary gospel music. You might notice that she's won so many Grammy, Stellar, and Dove awards that her publicists aren't even tallying them anymore. And you might discover that she's started a non-profit service organization, Sharing the Vision, that's she's recorded numerous gold albums (500,000 copies or more sold), and that's she's even dabbled in acting and written a book of memoirs and more.

But the thing you might not notice is that inside this remarkable woman lies the heart of a rebel. That's right, a rebel. And you heard it first here on the Music Channel at crosswalk.com!

Don't believe it? Then check out {{CeCe Winans}} at the Grammy awards, surrounded by her buddies, Whitney Houston and Lauryn Hill. Growing up in a home that outlawed anything but gospel music, CeCe would've gotten in big trouble with her parents for bringing home a CD by either one of these red-hot mainstream divas.

"None of those friends of mine could I listen to then!" she laughs. "I mean we grew up in Detroit-you know, the Motown sound -- we heard it alrightStevie Wonder and the Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin, we definitely heard it. But we had to hear it at somebody else's house! Don't even think about bringing it into our house!"

Thankfully, it appears Mom and Pop Winans have forgiven their wayward daughter for her youthful indiscretions, but like an ==Alabaster Box== that hides secret perfume inside, CeCe Winans is full of hidden treasure and talents.

Click to hear a clip from "Alabaster Box"

For instance, her latest album, ==Alabaster Box==, contains a few previously hidden gems. The title song was one she actually picked up years ago while touring in support of her first (and Grammy award-winning) solo album, ==Alone in His Presence==. And the touching melody, "It Wasn't Easy" is a song she carried around inside her for over five years before placing it on this new album.

She explains, "I was in church and my pastor was preaching on how we as Christians, a lot of times we take the crucifixion so lightly." During that sermon, the power of the gospel and Christ's sacrifice entranced the singer once again, and before the sermon's end she had the chorus for "It Wasn't Easy" all mapped out in her mind. And what happened next?

"I never really finished it," she admits with a smile. "And every now and then, it would come back to me and I would just sing that. And so when I started doing ==Alabaster Box==, I was like - 'It Wasn't Easy. Oh, I've got to finish this song.' So we finished it for the album, but I had no recourse. It was just in my heart."

Click to hear a clip from "It Wasn't Easy"

Another secret in the life of CeCe is the work she does behind the scenes to encourage not just her fans, but brothers and sisters in the family of God. Picture, if you will, the poor young woman in a New York City hospital, suffering from a serious disease and unable to come to a CeCe concert scheduled in her home city.

Unexpectedly, the phone rings in her hospital room. Reaching to answer the line, she hears a voice on the other end:

"Hello, this is CeCe Winans."

The response was immediate. "No you're not. You're playing. Who is this really?"

"Really. This is CeCe Winans."

The artist goes on to explain that she'd heard this young woman was ill and wanted to call and encourage and pray for her. And still, in the hospital bed lies unbelief that someone like CeCe Winans would really do something like this. So what does CeCe do? What she does best: She sings. A little melody, true, but something to remind the patient that God-and CeCe-really care about what she's going through. The call only lasts a few moments, and ends with a prayer, but for the person in the hospital, life has gotten just a little bit better.

Press the divine Ms. Winans about it, and she'll finally reveal she does this kind of thing more often than you'd expect. Sometimes singing, sometimes just talking, and always praying. She shrugs as if she's uncomfortable talking about it and presses for the conclusion of this topic by saying, "You know, that's great when you get to do something like that." And suddenly you realize that's all she's going to tell you about that part of her life.

The latest "big thing" in CeCe Winans life, however, is no secret. It's the launch of her brand new record label, Wellspring Gospel-which is also the label that created her ==Alabaster Box== album.

CeCe describes this new endeavor this way, "Oh, it's work. It's work!" She smiles then continues, "But I felt like it was something that was needed in this industry and this world. We just need more God-fearing companies to put out music. I think a lot of things hit you differently when your children love music and the stuff that they have out there is a wreck. You know? It's very scary

"But I really plan on taking it slow and building as God brings those people inSo that's where we are, but we hope to grow into something that is definitely going to give God glory."

That, it seems, is the foundation for all that {{CeCe Winans}} does-for the record albums, the books, the TV shows, the live performances, for her family, for her church, and so on. Asked to share her Life Mission Statement, she doesn't hesitate, saying simply, "To serve I'd like to be known as just a server of Christ, which is a server of people."

And that's one secret she can't hide from anybody.

Click to hear more sound clips from Alabaster Box



We also have a MP3 available here of "It Wasn't Easy" from Alabaster Box!