Legendary The Winans’ Member Carvin Winans to Release First Solo Album March 1! (INTERVIEW)

It's Charity from 'Greenleaf's' Real Life Daddy Y'all Not Bishop...

Hello World,

Last week when I was among those who watched the legendary gospel group The Winans perform time-tested hits such as “Tomorrow” and “It’s Time” at the 20th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, I had no idea that within a couple of days of that awesome performance, I would have the chance to interview Carvin Winans! But as Koryn Hawthorne, who also performed at the celebration, saaangs, “Won’t He Do It?!” But back to Carvin, who will be releasing his first solo album “In the Softest Way,” on March 1… The first single “Once in a Lifetime” from Carvin’s album has been released and made #25 on Billboard!

However, if you are unfamiliar with the illustrious history of Carvin Winans, as they say, let me present him to some and introduce him to others…

Following in the footsteps of his parents who were very powerful singers, Carvin Winans started singing at the tender age of four. The third of 10 extremely talented children and a twin, Carvin quickly showed an extraordinary gift for writing and singing. His love for God transcended in the beautiful songs that he wrote.

A devoted and loving father of six (including OWN’s Greenleaf’s Deborah Joy Winans), the Detroit native made his musical debut in 1981 as a member of the world-renowned Winans family. He has been in the music industry for more than 30 successful years. He first debuted with his brothers on Light Records with the release of “Introducing The Winans,” which was nominated for a Grammy. The group followed up with the release of “Long-time Coming,” which also was nominated for a Grammy.

In 1985, Carvin was recognized with the most prestigious accolade in the industry when he won a Grammy Award for the album “Tomorrow” as he wrote the title track. He and the brothers signed with Quincy Jones at Quest records in 1986 where they recorded six albums, four of which were Grammy Award winners. These include “Live at Carnegie Hall” and “The Winans Return” — the latter of which was certified GOLD. As a group, “The Winans” have been nominated for a Grammy a total of nine times! Carvin also has received several NAACP Image awards, Soul Train awards, Dove awards, and Stellar awards, as a member of The Winans.

Below is my interview with Carvin:

1.   You’ve written and released many hit songs and recorded many albums; why a solo album and why now? What inspired you to make this album?
I have always wanted to do a solo album, but I was waiting on God’s timing.  After my brother Ronald passed, I really didn’t want to sing anymore, but after my last album with my brothers Marvin and Bebe, my desire came back and my wife encouraged me to go for it!
2.   You come from a family known worldwide for making gospel music, but your new album is a departure from the music you have previously made. What made you choose the genre of adult contemporary music? How do you feel your fan base will feel about this departure? (Carvin has written songs for Whitney Houston such as “Love Is” and Regina Belle such as “Make it Like it Was” and sang background vocals on Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and Michael McDonald’s “Love Has no Color.”) 
I chose a different genre because I wanted to reach a larger audience and spread the message of love to everyone, not just those who listen to gospel or attend church — not that I don’t value that audience.  My goal is to lead people to Jesus through the power of song as Jesus didn’t just preach to the church; he ministered to the saved and the unsaved.  When you listen to the words in my songs on this new album, I’m sure it won’t offend anyone.
3.   What is your favorite song on this new album (which includes 11 songs) and why?
My favorite song is “You Blow My Mind (A Song for Chérie). I wrote this song for my beautiful wife Chérie for our wedding. I had never felt such love before when it came to a relationship. I just wanted people to feel in song what my heart was feeling all along.
4.   You worked with a few music “heavyweights” such as Stevie Wonder, Kenny G and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. How did they get involved with this project and what did they bring to the table?   
Stevie and I have worked together before on The Winans song “Everyday the Same” and I consider him a dear friend. I reached out to him, and he loved the song and was kind enough to play harmonica on there for me.  He brought my song “If You Only Knew My Heart”  to another level and I’m so very thankful!  Kenny G has also worked with me before on my song “When You Cry.” He added his gift to the title track “In the Softest Way” without hesitation. This was my first time working with Jam & Lewis; they are truly such amazing producers. My wife got a kick out of being in the studio, knowing that Janet had sat there before. Lol!
5.   Speaking of your family, I know this is your first solo album, but was your family involved in any way even if it was only giving advice?
The first song on the album is a duet with my twin brother Marvin. We complement each other and feed off each other so well. I’ve been singing with him pretty much all of my life. I hope one day God will bless us to do a twin album together.
6.   Any touring plans? 
I am working on some opportunities to tour this year so I can connect with my fans all over the world.
7.   Your daughter Deborah Joy Winans stars on my favorite drama on TV’s “Greenleaf.” What is it like to see your daughter in the role of “Charity,” especially as she is carrying on the family legacy in a slightly different way? 
I’m proud of her and her accomplishments.  She worked hard in college and honed in on her craft, which is blessing her in her career today.
Any additional thoughts? 
I would like to give thanks to God for all that He has done for me and the people He has placed in my life to bring my project to life. Thank you to Jeff Walter for all of his support on this project. I am really looking forward to hearing from my fans after the release of my album on March 1; they will hear a sound different to my music in the past. I hope it blesses them.

Check out “Once in a Lifetime” from “In the Softest Way” on soundcloud.com

And follow Carvin on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

Any thoughts?

20th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration to Air on BET Networks Tomorrow, Sat., Feb. 2! (PHOTOS)

Hello World,

Returning to BET Networks for the sixth consecutive year on February 2, 2019  is the 20th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration! This year’s celebration is hosted by national radio and TV personality Rickey Smiley and singer and TV personality Adrienne Bailon Houghton. The annual NFL-Sanctioned event, which took place during Super Bowl LIII week (and which I was able to attend 🙂 ), will air on BET Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 8PM ET/PT!

The one-hour special features performances by Kirk Franklin, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, The Winans, Lecrae, Hezekiah Walker, Tamia, Koryn Hawthorne, and the Super Bowl Gospel NFL Players Choir. The special also includes appearances by Cam Newton and NeNe Leakes and honors Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller with the annual “Faith in Action” Award for his work with his charity Von’s Vision.

Below are a few pictures of what I saw last night and what you will see when you watch tomorrow!

From the Red Carpet:

Kirk and Tammy Franklin…

The Winans and Deborah Joy Winans…

Deborah Joy Winans and her husband Terrence Williams…

Grant Hill & Tamia…

Tasha Cobbs Leonard…

Koryn Hawthorne…

Lecrae…

Gregg & Nene Leakes…

Hezekiah Walker…

Cam Newton…

Melanie Few,  founder and executive producer of the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration…

From the Celebration:

Co-Hosts Rickey Smiley and Adrienne Bailon Houghton…

the NFL Players Choir…

Tamia along with The Winans as Rickey & Adrienne clown…

Von Miller…

To see more from the celebration, you have to tune in to BET Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 8PM ET/PT!

Any thoughts?

 

Will Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp & More in the Gospel & Christian Communities #MuteRKelly After Lifetime’s ‘Surviving R. Kelly?’

Hello World,

He may be the self-proclaimed Pied Piper of R&B, but the Gospel/Christian community gets down with R. Kelly too, quiet or not as quiet as kept actually. But after the three-day-in-your-face, testimony after testimony riddled exposé aptly and tragically titled “Surviving R. Kelly,” will those who claim to have a higher calling such Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp & more mute the man who sings “Your Body’s Callin?”

And I won’t be a hypocrite. I’m including myself in that community. As I’ve communicated here before, I came of age in the golden era of the ’90s. I graduated from high school in 1992 which was also the year that “Born in the 90s” debuted. This was when R. Kelly was still with his group Public Announcement. Man, I loved that album. “Dedicated,” “Honey Love” and “Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ)” were my three favorite songs from that album. His voice was earnest, sensual and melodic plus he was fine too. It was a no brainer for the pastor’s daughter who was exploring her newfound freedom as a college freshman. I remember dancing to his songs at parties, which I couldn’t attend when I lived at home with my parents. The next year, he went solo with his album “12 Play,” and I loved that one too. Whereas his first album with Public Announcement was more sensuous, sex and plenty of it was the theme of “12 Play.” The man knew how to blend his sexuality and artistry, and songs like “Bump ‘n Grind was the perfect backdrop to “Freaknik.”

In 1994, his collaboration with teenager Aaliyah as the producer for her debut album “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number”produced some instant hits as well. I LOVED the jeep remix of “At Your Best (You Are Love).” Me and my girls most definitely bumped (old school word) that song in my girl Keet’s pink and white Geo Tracker jeep when we went to see and be seen at Greenbriar Mall after reuniting back in the A from our various college campuses. It was genius to make an Isley Brothers song jeep worthy “bump”able.  Now back then, we didn’t have social media but slowly through magazines like VIBE, I learned that the close vibe between 27-year-old R. Kelly and his 15-year-old protégé Aaliyah may have more than an older brother/younger sister scenario…much more. VIBE writer Danyel Smith’s Dec. 1994/Jan. 1995 article “R. Kelly: The Sex, The Soul, The Sales And The Scandalous Marriage to Teenage Superstar Aaliyah” made that clear. Me and my girls discussed the issue, but by then, adulthood as in play-time-is-over-and-now-it’s-time-to-find-a-job- after-college-graduation was ahead of me and what R. Kelly did or did not do with one teenage girl would not deter me.  I went on with my life following college graduation, but R. Kelly had earned himself a spot on my college days playlist. And when I was feeling nostalgic, I could and would listen to his songs to take me back to when my most serious issue was deciding if I should start partying on Wednesday night after three days of classes or postpone partying till Friday when I could party without worrying about getting up for class in the morning.

But I didn’t have to be nostalgic about his music because the hits kept coming and not all of them were raunchy either. “I Believe I Can Fly” debuted in 1998 and became an instant hit worthy of being played at anywhere  from church services to preschool graduations.

That’s probably around the time that the gospel and Christian communities took notice.

That was also around the time that I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ as well. I tried to clean up my playlist and no longer listen to certain kinds of music, but I was happy that R. Kelly didn’t necessarily have to be banned. “Lean on Me,” Kirk Franklin’s song featuring R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, Bono and came out at that time and I loved the collaboration. I thought “I Wish” was a beautiful inspirational song.

As it turned out, R. Kelly, the self-proclaimed Pied Piper of R&B , could turn out a gospel hit as easily as he could an R&B hit. That’s talent, I tell you. Whitney Houston’s last gospel song (written by the R) “I Look to You” before she passed in 2012 was haunting considering all that she had been through. And the way R. Kelly sang his rendition of the song he gave to her at her homegoing…chills…

And since then, more gospel artists have employed his services from Isaac Carree’s 2013 hit “Clean This House” to Marvin Sapp’s 2017 hit “Listen.”

And yet even as he helped people praise God and presumably praised Him himself, the Pied Piper of R&B was allegedly  luring young girl after young girl into his virtual harem according to what was revealed in Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly.” It may have began with Aaliyah in the ’90s but sadly it did not end there. If what has been revealed in the three-day documentary is true, R. Kelly is a pedophile – plain and simple. Last year, when #MuteRKelly movement began here in Atlanta, I FINALLY began to come to grips with the alleged facts as they have been presented. He allegedly operated what amounts to a sex cult up in Johns Creek, which is a suburb of Atlanta, my hometown. I couldn’t look away anymore. I couldn’t recall my college days bumping “Bump ‘n Grind” at Freaknik, praise the Lord with R. Kelly plus Kirk Franklin with “Lean On Me,” “Step in the Name of Love” at a grown folks’ party, reminisce about my single days with “Feeling Single” and on and on in peace. And now, after surviving “Surviving R. Kelly,” I’m muting R. Kelly.

At least one other Christian is joining me – Chance the Rapper.

How about you?

Any thoughts?