Tagged with "gospel"
Charles Jenkins-Gospel Legend Tags: charles jenkins true worshipper gospel music word life production new quality entertainment

Faith Leader, Social Engineer, Entrepreneur, Idea Maker, Communicator, and Friend are just some of the words that describe Charles Jenkins who is a leader widely respected and revered for his generous heart, innovative thinking, contemporary leadership, diverse influence, business savvy and holistic approach to social change and large-scale community development. Jenkins lives a lifestyle of giving.

For 15 years Jenkins has been widely known as the Senior Pastor of the historic Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago, a rapidly growing multi-location congregation founded by civil rights pioneer Reverend Clay Evans. Under Jenkins’ leadership at Fellowship, each year thousands of individuals in need are fed, clothed and impacted through various outreach efforts.

Jenkins is also Founding President of Fellowship Educational and Economic Development Corporation (FEED), a 501c3 that focuses on education, community development, job creation, public safety, and urban renewal in Chicago inner-city neighborhoods. FEED is currently leading a multi-million dollar expansion effort known as The Legacy Project estimated to education 1500 inner city students, and produce 400 new jobs creating a socioeconomic oasis to enhance Chicago’s Southside. Jenkins is also the founder of Gladiators, a mentoring program that focuses on teaching young African-American men how to fight to win in life. Additionally among many efforts to curb Chicago’s violence, Jenkins convened street gang founders to broker strategies for intervention and peace.

Jenkins’ service to others spans beyond his local context to global efforts. He has traveled internationally serving the poor alongside leaders of Charity Water, who build clean water wells around the world, World Vision who feed and educate millions globally, and Compassion International an organization that transforms the lives of poor children. In 2010, along with award winning artist Donald Lawrence, Charles convened recording artists such as Common, Lalah Hathaway, Marvin Sapp and others along with national leaders for a benefit known as Chicago’s Hope for Haiti which raised over $150,000 for victims of the devastation.

Jenkins is also a multi award-winning songwriter, 5 time Stellar award-winning recording artist, music producer, author and connector. Jenkins is the founding CEO of Inspired People LLC, a music company conglomerate committed to globally inspiring people through music, fashion, resources, and enriching events. In 2012, under his indie label, Jenkins spun the company’s first project “The Best of Both Worlds,” which debuted the #1 Christian Album in America on iTunes and Amazon, while also debuting as the #1 gospel album on Billboard remaining for 3 weeks. Additionally, from this highly acclaimed album came the global mega hit “Awesome” penned by Jenkins which remained #1 on the Billboard Gospel Song charts for over 5 amazing months becoming an international anthem being translated into multiple languages around the world. In 2015 Jenkins produced and released his sophomore album “Any Given Sunday” which was his second consecutive album to debut at #1 on the Billboard gospel album chart spawning his latest Billboard chart topping hit “WAR”.

Jenkins’ leadership further extends to the public sector where he serves on a number of community, corporate, educational and governmental boards. Jenkins has served on The Board of Trustees for The City Colleges of Chicago, The Advisory Board of The Illinois Attorney General, The Advisory of Chicago’s iHeart Media, and The Advisory Board of The Illinois State Treasurer. Jenkins also served for served for 3 years as an Illinois State Commissioner for The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission and as a member of The Presidential Steering Committee for President Barack Obama. Furthermore as a sought after voice Jenkins has been a featured speaker on widely respected stages including the International Business Dinner during 2011’s National Prayer Breakfast Week at The White House, The Inauguration of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and The Inaugural Prayer Service of President Barack Obama in 2013.

Graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Christian Education from Moody Bible Institute and a Masters of the Arts in Urban Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Jenkins has also received countless awards and citations for his service including being inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers and Scholars at Morehouse College, being selected as one of Black Enterprise Magazine’s Urban Business Game Changers under 40, a GRAMMY® Certificate, BMI Song of The Year Award, and many more. Jenkins is also a recipient of Illinois’ Gift of Hope’s highest honor, The Lifesaving Partner Award for leading thousands of African Americans to become organ donors in Illinois saving countless lives. A man of balance, Jenkins is married to Dr. Tara Rawls Jenkins and has 3 beautiful children Princess, Paris, and Charles III. Jenkins loves Jesus, loves his family, loves serving and helping others and enjoys a good cup of coffee. Charles Jenkins lives by his own personal mantra “Don’t Box Me In!”

Source: Official Website

Gospel Legends - The Canton Spirituals Tags: gospel legends canton spirituals word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

For many listeners, the word "gospel" conjures the sound of large African-American Southern choirs singing  joyous songs of celebration.  These  choirs began singing  traditional spirituals and  later evolved  into close knit, small groups that were the blueprint for doo-wop groups (All Media Guide).  However,  the Canton Spirituals have become more than a doo-wop group.  The Canton Spirituals are often described  an accomplished gospel quartet  that has paved the way for many gospel groups and singers.  Founded in  Canton, Mississippi,  the original group included the songwriter and singer, Harvey Watkins, Sr., who began to sing in the group at the age of fourteen, and the other original members: Eddie Jackson, Theo Thompson, and  Roscoe Lucious  (Mississippi Almanac 1997-1998).The Canton Spirituals has remained  the number one  gospel music quartet in the country.  They represent the best of the past and present in gospel music (i music).

The current lead singer, Harvey Watkins, Jr. has been singing and performing with the group since he was a young child.  Watkins attributes his interest in  music to his parents.  Watkins's  father and mother are still  the most important persons in his life.  Since The Canton Spirituals'  founding, they have been through heartaches and pains and many people have left the group.   Presently,  The Canton Spirituals members (Wallace Strickland, Victor Allen, Ralph Loften, Michael Richardson, Merlin Lucious, Cornelius Dwayne Watkins, and  Rufus Mapp)  are under the direction of Harvey Watkins, Jr.,  since the passing of his father, Harvey Watkins, Sr.,who died of cancer in Jackson, Mississippi, on November 16, 1994.  Harvey Watkins, Sr., until his death,  was the only original member with the Canton Spirituals  (Mississippi Almanac 1997-1998).  In the city of Canton, Watkins's  song- writing skills, music and legacy will remain an important part of not just the city of Canton's history, but America's history also.

In July 1994, Watkins received a Legend Award at the Mississippi Gospel Music Awards.  During the same month, Second  Street in Canton, Mississippi,  was renamed Harvey Watkins, Sr., Street  in his honor (Mississippi Almanac 1997-1998).  The Canton Spirituals have always kept  God as the cornerstone of their life and music.  Their music, according to one source, reflects the "heart"and "soul" of this rich genre and is perhaps the primary reason why they have such a loyal following (i music).  The Canton Spirituals have received numerous awards due to their dynamic and melancholic music.

In Harvey Watkins' hometown of  Canton, Mississippi, The Canton Spirituals received a Concurrent Resolution 557 in February from the Mississippi  Legislature during their 1998 Regular Session honoring them for receiving two Stellar Awards at the 1997 Stellar Gospel Music Awards and for being the only gospel quartet in America and the only Mississippi gospel artist to achieve such honors (Blackmon).  The Canton Spirituals have also received the 1998 Excellence Award for Quartet of the Year-Traditional and LP of the Year- Traditional (Mississippi Almanac 1997-1998).  The Canton Spirituals have also won Group/Duo of the Year and Traditional group/duo at the thirteenth annual Stellar Awards (gospelcity).  Their album, Live in Memphis I, received a Grammy nomination.  They appeared at the awards show in April 1994.  Live in Memphis I was also the longest running album on Billboard's Gospel Music Chart as of November, 1994 (Mississippi Almanac 1997-1998).

They are currently a part of the Gloryland's Gospel Music Top 15 Quartet Albums - 1st half of December, 1998 (geocities).   Other awards and accomplishments include numerous Stellar, GMWA, Excellence, Dove, Soul Train, Urban Network Awards, and several Grammy Award nominations (i music).  The Canton Spirituals put their heart and soul into their music.  Listeners can only wonder if this is what contributes to their rising success.  The Canton Spirituals have become loved and admired not only because of their ability to sell their music, but also to sing gospel effectively, change lives and people's views on life, and, most importantly,  spread the story of Jesus and the things he does for them and what he can do everyone else.

Source: Mississippi Canton Spirituals

             By Clarissa L. Nolen (SHS)

Gospel Legends-Be Be and Ce Ce Winans Tags: legends be be ce ce winans gospel music word life production new quality entertainment

For more than a decade, BeBe and CeCe Winans have been among the most commercially successful contemporary gospel acts in the United States. A hallmark of their sound is their "light" version of gospel, a soothing sound enriched by modern jazz, R&B, and pop elements. Criticized by gospel traditionalists for weakening the sacred music's message by adapting instrumentation and arrangements of contemporary pop and soul music, BeBe and CeCe Winans successfully aimed at reaching the broader and younger audience that traditional gospel had largely lost. Their lyrics, which are not as heavily loaded with Christian symbolism as traditional gospel, extended the appeal of their musical message of love and respect to a broad secular audience.

BeBe and CeCe Winans' unique style won over a huge number of listeners and sent two of their albums platinum. Their album from 1988, Heaven, was with Aretha Franklin's 1972 Amazing Grace, only the second gospel record ever to go gold. Since then, BeBe and CeCe Winans have earned many more top ten hits on Billboard's R&B charts and won numerous Grammy, Stellar, and Dove Awards.

BeBe and CeCe were born into a family of gospel singers that in the 1980s and 1990s produced no fewer than four celebrated gospel acts: The Winans, Daniel Winans & the Second Half, and, of course, BeBe and CeCe. BeBe and CeCe gave their two youngest sisters, Angie and Debbie, their start singing back-up, and the two girls went on to form a duo of their own called Sisters.

BeBe and CeCe Winans' parents met in a church choir, the Lemon Gospel Chorus, in 1950 and formed their own choir after their marriage in 1953. BeBe Winans was the youngest of the seven Winans sons; CeCe was the first of their three daughters. To keep their kids off the streets of Detroit, the Winans made it a point to take them to their Pentecostal church regularly. As in many churches, singing together was a large part of the worship experience, and like so many other singers, BeBe and CeCe Winans got their start in their local church choir.

All ten of the Winans brothers and sisters were good singers and their impact on the church choir, according to BeBe, was great. "We were the chorus," he told Washington Postwriter Richard Harrington. "We directed the choir, my brother played organ and taught the songs. We were the strong tenors, the strong altos, the strong sopranos." Father David Winans did not only sing in the choir, he was also a member of a four-man singing group, the Noble Aires. He knew discipline was important if one wanted to succeed as a singer. "My father was pretty strict on the guys growing up, but they loved it," CeCe Winans told Harrington. "He drilled them so they would be perfectionists in what they did," she recalled, "but [singing] was never something they pushed on us." The four eldest Winans brothers David, Ronald, Carvin, and Marvin formed the gospel quartet the Testimonials in the early 1970s. They later changed their name to The Winans, went off to California to record their first album in 1980 and subsequently won multiple Grammy Awards.

Even as teenagers, the only music BeBe and CeCe were allowed to listen to at home was gospel music. However, growing up in Detroit in the late 1970s, it was nearly impossible for them not to be influenced by musicians from outside the gospel realm like the Temptations, the Supremes, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder. In the late 1970s, BeBe and CeCe, together with their older brothers Michael and Daniel, formed their own group, the Winans, Part 2 and started performing at church and family events.

While BeBe was sure that he wanted to sing for a living, CeCe didn't go for a career as a singer at first, opting instead to study cosmetology. However, in 1981, Howard McCrary, musical director of the religious TV program The PTL Club and a friend of the Winans, invited BeBe and CeCe to sing in the show. Together with six other singers, they became the PTL Singers in 1982 and performed to a mainly white audience for the first time. Occasionally BeBe and CeCe sang duets on the show, including "Lord, Lift Us Up," a cover version of Joe Cocker's and Jennifer Warnes' hit, "Up Where We Belong," from the soundtrack of An Officer and a Gentleman. PTL also became their first record label. The album Lord, Lift Us Up was released by PTL in 1984. The duo's cover version of "Up Where We Belong" became a hit on mainstream radio and the duo caught the attention of several record labels.


From there they went on to sing as the gospel duo BeBe and CeCe Winans. Thanks to BeBe's big, deep voice that managed to be tender and powerful at the same time and CeCe's rich alto, they were in demand from a variety of churches. Chris Willman of the Los Angeles Times described the duo's singing style as belonging to the "Megalo-Melismatic school .... swooping and dipping all over a single, poor defenseless syllable." However, in early 1984, 18-year-old CeCe Winans left PTL and moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, back to Detroit. She got married in June to Alvin Love, a sales account executive, and opened her own beauty salon. BeBe ventured into commercial jingles.

In 1985, gospel label Sparrow Records took BeBe and CeCe under its wing. They were the first black artists on Sparrow's roster and produced a single of BeBe's song "I.O.U. Me." Delighted by the high quality of their recorded work, Sparrow president Bill Hearn asked Capitol Records if they were interested in BeBe and CeCe's music. They were, and the gospel duo signed a second contract with the major label. Supported by two record labels, BeBe and CeCe Winans entered into the most dynamic phase of their career, one which would take them to the top of contemporary gospel and R&B.

After the duo signed with Capitol Records, their debut album BeBe & CeCe Winans was released in 1987 on the Sparrow/Capitol label. Producer Keith Thomas collaborated with the duo on the full vocal arrangements which were then sung by other Winans family members, including brother Marvin. Besides winning a Grammy, the album made it into Billboard's top ten spiritual albums--the category where black gospel artists are listed--and the magazine's top 20 inspirational albums--which usually represent white gospel. BeBe Winans, who co-wrote most of the catchy melodies, explained to Washington Post writer Richard Harrington that it has become their mission to demolish these divisions, because he couldn't "see the color of music."

CeCe was honored with her first Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance for a Female. The songs "I.O.U. Me," "For Always," and "Love Said Not So," went on to become hits from the album. Not only were BeBe and CeCe popular among gospel fans--they were also popular in the so-called secular market. In addition, BeBe starred in the Broadway musical Don't Get God Started in 1987. Discussing this experience, BeBe Winans told Billboard's Bob Darden, "I'd get so involved with a song that I'd go on too long. The crowd would love it, but when I'd come backstage, I had driven the producers crazy!"

The tour for their first album included mainly neutral concert halls--rather than traditional gospel venues--where BeBe and CeCe could freely perform their music. Their lyrics were often ambiguous and lacked the strong Christian messages that most pastors required for their churches. The duo also toured with Sandi Patti and with The Winans. On a trip to Poland and Russia, their religious music even received a positive review in a communist newspaper.

The duo's second album Heaven was released in 1988. Peter B. King wrote in the Seattle Times that its sound was "best described as synth-funk gospel," dominated by "synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines." For the tune "Celebrate New Life," BeBe and CeCe Winans teamed up with their friend Whitney Houston. Another song on the album, "You," was co-written by three members of the jazz gospel quartet Take 6 who also sang backup vocals. Heaven included new versions of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and Kool & the Gang's "Celebration." Heaven cemented BeBe and CeCe as gospel stars of the first order. It was the first Gospel album ever to reach the top ten on Billboard's R&B charts and only the second to be certified gold.

BeBe and CeCe's next album, Different Lifestyles, was another ambitious project that saw them pushing into other genres, characterized by the New York Times' Michael Eric Dyson as "a curriculum of musical diversity--from rap and uptempo rhythm-and-blues to a sample of a gospel shout." They also included a star-studded lineup of guest artists, including Luther Vandross, M.C. Hammer, and Mavis Staples of the Staple Singers. "Sometimes we were concerned that people may think we can't do a full album without any special guests," CeCe told Billboard's David Nathan. "But what do you do when someone like Luther calls?" BeBe and CeCe co-wrote ten of the record's eleven tracks. The first single from Different Lifestyles, "Addictive Love," was an immediate hit among radio programmers across the nation. The album eventually reached number one on the Billboard R&B charts.

Following the release of Different Lifestyles, BeBe and CeCe set off on a year of hectic touring which left them feeling exhausted. They took a year off from performing and recording. Their next album, released on Sparrow/Capitol in 1993, was their first Christmas album, appropriately entitled First Christmas. "It was fun taking songs and making them into BeBe and CeCe songs without really trying to change them because they were already great," CeCe told Lisa Collins of Billboard.

They followed up the Christmas record with 1994's Relationships. It was an album that almost didn't appear on Capitol. BeBe and CeCe had been growing increasingly dissatisfied with their record company, which they felt was not giving them the support they deserved. The bad feelings were turned to good, however, when Gary Gersh took over as Capitol Records' president and CEO in mid 1993. "We were involved in every aspect of Relationships, which included being at several marketing and other label meetings," BeBe told J.R. Reynolds of Billboard. BeBe and CeCe once again felt that they were part of Capitol's future. Nonetheless, the record was the last one the duo recorded together.

In 1996, BeBe released his first solo album, BeBe Winans, to mixed reviews on Atlantic Records. The album's first track "In Harm's Way" was, according to Jet, inspired by Ronald Winans' heart attack which had almost killed BeBe's brother. In 2000, BeBe signed with Motown and released his second solo album Love & Freedom. The album was nominated for a Dove Award in 2001.

CeCe Winans' solo career took off right from the start. Her husband Alvin quit his position at Xerox and became her business manager. CeCe's first solo release, Alone in His Presence, went gold in 1995 and was awarded a Grammy as the year's best contemporary soul gospel album. In 1996, CeCe was the first black female to win the Dove Award for female vocalist of the year. She hosted her own television show, CeCe's Place, on the interfaith cable channel Odyssey Network, and authored her autobiography, On a Positive Note: Her Joyous Faith, Her Life, and Her Everyday Blessings.She also founded her own company, CW Wellspring Entertainment, including record label Wellspring Gospel. By 2001, CeCe had recorded four solo records and had won a total of eight Grammy Awards. The first release on her own label, 1999's Alabaster Box, was certified gold and nominated for a Grammy.

Source: Planet Shakers

Award winning Actor and true gospel singer - David Mann Tags: actor gospel singer david mann word life production new quality entertainment

Ingeniously funny and extraordinarily talented are understatements when it comes to the multifaceted actor and 2011 NAACP Award winner for Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series (Meet The Browns, "Mr. Brown"), David Mann. A native of the "Bible belt" state of Texas, David masterfully showcases his God given talents in today's most dynamic and distinguished genre.

Accentuating his already natural gift of making people laugh as a youth, David set his sights on acting. As a free-spirited adolescent, the self-possessed 15 year-old discovered a way to employ his unsuspecting antics by involving himself in various high school activities including contemporary drama where he permeated the stage world by becoming a budding thespian. Finding his natural element, David was commonly cast as the production's funnyman where his infectious comedic flair was visibly realized and fittingly unleashed. From high school to local community theater, David's accomplished performances quickly gained notable recognition advancing his diversified image into public notice.

In short order, David joined forces with one of America's funniest actors and critically acclaimed playwright, Tyler Perry. The illustrious actor had written, directed, and produced numerous plays including the stage play hit I Can Do Bad All By Myself where David remarkably immortalized the intrusively nosey, wisecracking, ashy-kneed, and outrageously funny neighbor, "Mr. Brown." As was apropos, David's bravo performance led the way for "Mr. Brown" to become a principal character in many of Perry's other hilarious stage and film comedies, including the play and motion picture, Tyler Perry’s Meet The Browns, in which David reprised the role of "Mr. Brown" for mass audiences.

Both properties were sure-fire hits, playing to packed theaters and grossing millions. "If you thought Madea's family was crazy, wait till you meet the Browns" became the tag line for the new TBS comedy modeled after the film and starring David as the beloved "Mr. Brown."

David Mann's musical and theatrical talents brilliantly epitomize ingenuity at its best. When David is not on set shooting, he brings his live comedy show to venues around the country playing to sold-out crowds and is a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Assn. Along with his wife, Tamela, David is the co-host of the exciting new cooking and lifestyle TV show, Hanging With The Manns, which follows the dynamic couple as they cook-up delicious recipes in the kitchen and go on hilariously funny and wild adventures together, and he is the co-star of the upcoming sitcom Mann and Wife.

David is also the president of his independent music and entertainment label, Tillymann Music Group, with his wife Tamela. When David is not on tour, he enjoys the restful company of his wife of 25 years and their fun-loving children and grandchildren.

Source: Official Website

 

 

 

 

ngeniously funny and extraordinarily talented are understatements when it comes to the multifaceted actor and 2011 NAACP Award winner for Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series (Meet The Browns, "Mr. Brown"), David Mann. A native of the "Bible belt" state of Texas, David masterfully showcases his God given talents in today's most dynamic and distinguished genre.

Accentuating his already natural gift of making people laugh as a youth, David set his sights on acting. As a free-spirited adolescent, the self-possessed 15 year-old discovered a way to employ his unsuspecting antics by involving himself in various high school activities including contemporary drama where he permeated the stage world by becoming a budding thespian. Finding his natural element, David was commonly cast as the production's funnyman where his infectious comedic flair was visibly realized and fittingly unleashed. From high school to local community theater, David's accomplished performances quickly gained notable recognition advancing his diversified image into public notice.

In short order, David joined forces with one of America's funniest actors and critically acclaimed playwright, Tyler Perry. The illustrious actor had written, directed, and produced numerous plays including the stage play hit I Can Do Bad All By Myself where David remarkably immortalized the intrusively nosey, wisecracking, ashy-kneed, and outrageously funny neighbor, "Mr. Brown." As was apropos, David's bravo performance led the way for "Mr. Brown" to become a principal character in many of Perry's other hilarious stage and film comedies, including the play and motion picture, Tyler Perry’s Meet The Browns, in which David reprised the role of "Mr. Brown" for mass audiences.

Both properties were sure-fire hits, playing to packed theaters and grossing millions. "If you thought Madea's family was crazy, wait till you meet the Browns" became the tag line for the new TBS comedy modeled after the film and starring David as the beloved "Mr. Brown."

David Mann's musical and theatrical talents brilliantly epitomize ingenuity at its best. When David is not on set shooting, he brings his live comedy show to venues around the country playing to sold-out crowds and is a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Assn. Along with his wife, Tamela, David is the co-host of the exciting new cooking and lifestyle TV show, Hanging With The Manns, which follows the dynamic couple as they cook-up delicious recipes in the kitchen and go on hilariously funny and wild adventures together, and he is the co-star of the upcoming sitcom Mann and Wife.

David is also the president of his independent music and entertainment label, Tillymann Music Group, with his wife Tamela. When David is not on tour, he enjoys the restful company of his wife of 25 years and their fun-loving children and grandchildren.

- See more at: http://www.tillymannmusic.com/david-mann-bio.html#sthash.gkfh19cg.dpuf

 

Gospel Soul Legend - Tramaine Hawkins Tags: tramaine hawkins gospel soul legend word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Tramaine Hawkins (born Tramaine Davis) is an American gospel singer, who has won Grammy, Dove, and Stellar Awards.

Tramaine Hawkins was born October 11, 1951 in San Francisco, California. She grew up in the Ephesian Church of God in Christ located in Berkeley, California, pastored by her Grandfather the late, Bishop E.E. Cleveland. While still in high school, Tramaine and her friends Mary McCreary, Elva Mouton and Vet Stone had a gospel group called The Heavenly Tones and performed at various venues around the Oakland and San Francisco areas. In 1966 they recorded the album "I love The Lord" for the Gospel label, part of Savoy Records, and a 45 for the Music City label called "He's Alright". When Vet Stone's older brother Sylvester, better known as Sly Stone, formed Sly & the Family Stone with their brother Freddie, and friends Larry Graham, Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, and Greg Errico, The Heavenly Tones were recruited directly out of high school to become Little Sister (band), Sly & the Family Stone's background vocalists for their recording. Tramaine left the group and started a very successful solo career. She first started singing on The Edwin Hawkins Singers Choir's single "Oh Happy Day." With her distinctive soprano and extensive vocal range, she became better known as a featured soloist with then-husband Walter Hawkins' Love Center Choir.

She scored several hits as a solo artist in the 1970s while signed to Light Records, and released now-classic albums, such as her 1979 self-titled debut and its 1983 follow-up Determined. Songs such as "Changed," "Goin Up Yonder," and "Highway" quickly became staples and fan favorites.

Mainstream career

Tramaine was briefly a member of the 1970s soul female singing group Honey Cone. Honey Cone later recorded the R&B hit "Want Ads" that ironically made its way back into the gospel genre by being sampled on Mary Mary's 2005 hit "Heaven."

Cover of Tramaine's Top 5 album The Search Is Over featuring the club smash "Fall Down (Spirit of Love)."

Hawkins is both famous and infamous for her mainstream success as a gospel artist. In the mid-1980s, Hawkins signed with A&M Records and released a pair of dance-oriented contemporary gospel albums. Her 1986 A&M debut The Search Is Over yielded dance chart singles such as "Child Of The King," "In The Morning Time," and the monster club hit "Fall Down (Spirit of Love)". The latter topped the Billboard Dance Charts to A&M's delight.

However, Hawkins was somewhat ostracized by her core gospel music audience who were soured by the lyrically neutral content and heavy mainstream attention her music received. Though "Fall Down" became one of the earliest gospel songs crossover to mainstream charts, traditional fans balked. Nonetheless, Freedom followed in 1987. Freedom produced "The Rock" and its title track as singles. The latter was co-written and produced by The Jacksons.

Nearly 15 years later, "Fall Down" received a resurgence of popularity as gospel singer Kelli Williams recorded a remake of the hit as "Fall Down 2000," produced by avant garde gospel artist Tonéx. Though the song had not been widely acknowledged in the gospel music community, the more than 8-minute extended dance mix was finally included on Tramaine's 2001 collection All My Best To You, Vol. 2.

Return to form

Following harsh criticism and backlash from the success of her A&M recordings, Hawkins signed with Sparrow and delivered 1988's The Joy That Floods My Soul including the opener "All Things Are Possible." The stellar set quickly re-endeared Hawkins to her core audience. Between album releases, Tramaine made a famous cameo on MC Hammer's 1990 pop-gospel hit "Do Not Pass Me By". She was also honored with a request to sing at the funeral of Sammy Davis, Jr. when the beloved entertainment legend died in May 1990.

Cover of Hawkins' Grammy-winning concert album Tramaine Hawkins Live

Though Joy That Floods was well received, that studio effort would be eclipsed by the release of the concert recording Tramaine Hawkins Live in 1990. The grandiose recording with its sweeping arrangements and show-stopping medleys of fan favorites would become a benchmark in Tramaine's career. The set eventually vindicated Hawkins in total by winning a much-coveted Grammy Award for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album in 1991.

Following her triumphant comeback, she became one of the first gospel artists to sign with Columbia Records when she released To A Higher Place in 1994. Following this album's release, Tramaine took an extended hiatus from recording. New music would not surface until Hawkins' 2000 cameo appearance on gospel trio Trin-i-tee 5:7's recorded cover of her signature tune "Highway."

Following this foreshadowing, Hawkins delivered the tour-de-force studio recording Still Tramaine in 2001 after signing a new contract with GospoCentric Records. The album would also give a nod to her former career as a dance-floor darling featuring Basement Boys club remixes of the single "By His Strength."

Hawkins again paid final tribute to an African-American legend when she was requested in 2005 to sing at the funeral service of civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Hawkins was also part of the Rosa Parks tribute recording "Something inside So Strong" from A Celebration Of Quiet Strength featuring other gospel artists such as Vanessa Bell Armstrong and Daryl Coley.

Tramaine has been inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame. Recently receiving the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award and netting two Stellar Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year and Traditional Female of the Year for her 2007 CD release I Never Lost My Praise (2007). She also sang at James Cleveland's funeral.

Personal life

While married to Walter Hawkins, the couple had two children a son, Walter Jr. and a daughter, Trystan with one granddaughter, and one grandson.

Hawkins now refers to herself as "Lady Tramaine". Hawkins lives outside of Sacramento, California with her husband Tommy Richardson, Jr., and has one stepson, Demar, with two step grandchildren.

Source: Wikipedia

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