CeCe Winans talks about new solo CD and pastoring

6/9/2017, 12:18 p.m.
CeCe Winans, one of the most celebrated female gospel artists, is back on tour after releasing her first solo CD ...

By Adelle M. Banks

Religion News Service

CeCe Winans, one of the most celebrated female gospel artists, is back on tour after releasing her first solo CD in almost a decade.

Her album, “Let Them Fall in Love,” includes the sounds of big bands and Motown, as well as tunes aimed at millennials — like those who attend Nashville Life Christian Church, the nondenominational congregation she and her husband co-pastor in Tennessee.

“It’s throwback, but yet it’s relevant,” said Ms. Winans, 52, the eighth of 10 children born into the Winans gospel music family.

Before her multicity tour started on May 31, the artist-turned-pastor talked about her CD, how millennials “really do want to have faith in God” and her hopes for a future collaboration with an artist not known for gospel music.

After winning 10 Grammys, you did not record a solo CD for nine years. Why did you take a break from recording and why did you return to it?

About five years ago, my husband and I started a church called Nashville Life and that just took all of my time and my focus. But God’s timing is perfect. My son came up with this whole vision of this particular record. So I already knew what I wanted to do and we were ready to go in and make it happen.

Your new album’s title track, “Let Them Fall in Love,” is the sole one written by you. What prompted you to write that song?

I knew I wanted that to be the title before we were finished writing all the music. And that is because of my prayer — that when people hear this music, it’s more than entertainment, that it touches the heart and the mind and it encourages people and it uplifts them and it turns their heart toward God so that they can experience what real love is. Love is healing. Love brings peace. It brings harmony. It’s what our world needs. So my prayer is that when people hear this, even if they don’t believe in Christianity, they will experience the love of God and know that God is real and learn how to love themselves and then we can learn how to love one another.

Your brother, BeBe Winans, recently created a musical about your early years as a duo singing on Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s “PTL (Praise the Lord) Club” show. What difference did those appearances make for you?

It was Jim and Tammy Bakker who gave us the song to sing, “Love Lift Us Up.’’ They had changed the words to “Lord, lift us up.” And they asked us to sing it together. And the viewing audience started asking us to come out — those two kids that sang that song. It was through that that we started singing as a duet. And then we got different offers from record labels. And that was the beginning of BeBe and CeCe, and the rest is history.

You co-pastor a church with your husband, Alvin Love. What has surprised you most about pastoring?