Tagged with "psalms"
Rizen is phenomenal and passionate in Psalms Tags: rizen phenomenal passion psalms true worshippers feature weekly blog

RiZen burst onto the national gospel music scene in 2003 rocking their stilettos to a praise beat, wowing audiences and satisfying thirsty souls without ever missing a step. Comprised of real life sisters Adriann and Aundrea Lewis, the Stellar Award winning group was originally formed in 1995 by Adriann as an eight member praise and worship team at New Galilee Baptist Church in Saginaw, Michigan - their home church where their father, Luciose Lewis, serves as pastor. Fast forward to 2009: The all girl praise and worship team has evolved from eight members to three and, now, to a duo newly signed to Verity Records and set to release their third CD FREE. Renowned the world over for their powerful vocals, awesome harmonies and trademark old school meets new school gospel sound, Adriann and Aundrea grew up as preacher’s kids but were allowed to listen to all kinds of music, and this early exposure to varying musical sounds and styles continues to influence their sound today. “Our mother was a musician, so she listened to all genres of music,” says Adriann. “To this day, I still love R&B artists. Some of my favorites are Tina Turner and Mary J Blige. However, we grew up Baptist, so that’s all we knew when it came to our own singing and recording – and that’s where we get our signature sound.” Aundrea recalls: “We grew up with the Gospel Music Workshop of America. Through our mom, who is a piano teacher and choir director, we were introduced to the music of seasoned traditional gospel artists like Rev. Charles Nicks, Dr. James Cleveland, Albertina Walker, and Dorothy Norwood. However, we do love R&B, Jazz and Country music. Growing up, our parents allowed us to go to concerts, like New Edition and LL Cool J, and we were able to buy albums. We still have our Michael Jackson albums to this day! So even though our musical foundation is the Baptist church, we have a range of influences that occasionally pop up in our music.” Like most singers raised in the church, Aundrea and Adriann honed their craft singing in the children’s choir. Their mother, Kayron Lewis, directed all of the church choirs. Aundrea garnered her choir directing skills by following their mother. She says, “We started really early singing in every choir in the church. I was the director. Wherever my mom went and directed, I followed her. I have directed the youth choir, the mass choir and even the male chorus.” While Aundrea was learning to direct choirs, Adriann was singing with all of them - even the male chorus. Aundrea laughs, “My sister Adriann starting singing at age three and she sang with every choir in the church, including the male chorus. Picture this little girl up there singing with all those men, that was a sight!” Adriann adds, “I did not want to stop, I demanded to sing…I’ve been singing since I was three years old!” The sisters continued to sing in the church and build up a reputation as vocal powerhouses. They were awe-inspiring singers by the time Adriann formed the original eight member ensemble RiZen. However, by the time they were set to record, the eight had become four dedicated souls ready to set the world on fire with their distinctive sound. Their self-titled debut CD was released with much fanfare and praise and won a Stellar Award in 2004 for Best New Artist. All of a sudden the trio of Midwestern church girls had a chart climbing hit on their hands and was on a whirlwind of success. RiZen had a schedule packed with international personal and promotional appearances, TV performances, and concert tours and media interviews. Aundrea remembers all the excitement, “It was just moving so fast. We had been together for twelve years and in that thirteenth year to see God open up all of those doors doing all that he said he would do was just awesome!” By the time RiZen released their second CD, RiZen2, in 2005 they were touted as bonafide gospel sensations. To add even more icing on the cake, they won a Stellar Award in 2006 for Best Traditional Group/Duo. However, in between that second CD and their latest, FREE, the trio became a duo of two tight-knit sisters Adriann and Aundrea Lewis. With FREE, RiZen has again recorded a CD that covers a myriad of gospel sounds, from traditional to contemporary, to praise and worship, with a touch of R&B and a splash of funk. This mixture of sounds beyond traditional gospel is a sweet surprise for RiZen fans and will garner even more inspirational and gospel music fans of all ages to their music ministry. The duo will also continue the work of their ministry “RiZen From Prison” where they give a free concert every November at a women’s prison in Arizona and, when each person is released from prison she is presented with a pair of stilettos as a reminder of her walk with Christ. The new CD, FREE, was produced by urban gospel icon and label mate Fred Hammond, as well as Aaron Lindsey, Daniel Weatherspoon and RiZen’s younger brother and musical director, Ay’Ron Lewis. Aundrea beams over their new release, “Our sound has really changed with this release. It is a mixture of traditional and contemporary styles. We were able to work with different producers who brought to us more creative ideas and a different way of doing things this time. ” When asked what songs on FREE are extra special to them, Adriann says: “I love all the songs, but the song “Live To Love,” written by Fred Hammond tells everything that I’ve personally gone through over the past two years. I believe the Lord just had him write my life in that song! And musically, there’s the 1970s throw back, “All I Need,” which is an ode to Aretha Franklin and the Detroit Motown sound. It’s upbeat, a little bit churchy and a little bit funky. Since we’re from Michigan, we had to throw that one in. Anybody who loves Aretha is going to be all into this one.” Aundrea’s favorites lean more towards the traditional gospel tracks. “‘Worked It Out’ really hits home with me. It’s up tempo and it addresses questions like ‘What am I supposed to be doing with my life?’ ‘God where are you trying to take me?’ and ‘How am I going to pay these bills!’ It tells us to stop trying to figure it out and give it over to God and let him work it out. Then there’s the beautiful ballad “Just For Me.” I wrote that song during a church service at home. The sprit was so high and I just started singing that little hook. My oldest brother was in the audience. He wasn’t saved at that time. And as I sang that song, he received the Holy Ghost and accepted Christ as his personal savior. And every time I hear that song it reminds me that the Lord saved my brother, just for me.” Other stand outs on FREE include the rock tinged title track, which will make you dance and shout in the spirit as you relish being free from the cares of this world. The praise and worship ballad, “I Owe It All To You” will send your soul soaring with gratitude to the Lord for all he’s done for you while the up beat, foot stomping, traditional gospel music lover’s delight, “Look Back” will take you straight to church. And not be left out is “Ridiculous Praise,” it will touch your spirit and make you praise God right where you are. Besides Aundrea and Adriann, a crew of gifted writers contributed to the project, such as Ay’Ron Lewis, Fred Hammond, Aaron W. Lindsey, James Fortune, Daniel Weatherspoon, Alvin Richardson, Deon Kipping, and Michael and Chuck Bethany. One listen to FREE and you’ll feel the anointing jumping out at you. FREE is RiZen’s best musical offering to date and an awesome ministry tool for the duo’s ultimate goals of saving souls and global kingdom building.

Source: Official Facebook Page: August 2009

Fred Hammond is an anointed praise and worshipper who’s changed the lives of millions through his Psalms Tags: fred hammond psalms anointed true worshipper word life production feature

For three amazing decades, singer/songwriter/producer/musician Fred Hammond has been a Gospel music arbiter, consistently pushing the genre into to new melodic territory. The Detroit native ascended from bass-playing sideman for The Winans; to founding member of the trend-setting sextet Commissioned; to creating the further renowned ensemble Radical for Christ, to becoming a highly influential solo artist and producer in his own right. Unforgettable songs such as “Blessed;” “No Weapon; “King of Glory;” “Celebrate (He Lives);” “Let the Praise Begin” and more have lifted the spirits of millions both cross-culturally and cross-generationally. His 1998 release Pages of Life: Chapters 1 & 2 is a double platinum-seller and his award wins over the years have recognized his excellence in all areas upfront (Best Male Vocalist, Best Album and Best Song) as well as behind the scenes (for songwriting and producing). He is a multiple Stellar and Dove Award winner and his last CD, Free to Worship (2006), netted him his first Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album. His new CD, LOVE UNSTOPPABLE, finds Fred in a powerfully persuasive mode.

From traditional gospel to funk, acoustic rock and even a cappella pieces, Fred Hammond’s new 15-song set pulls from a sprawling musical palette to mold his musical messages. “I just knew this album was going to have love somewhere in the title,” he states. “My spirit is in a love place again…like two albums ago when I released Somethin’ ‘Bout Love. At first I thought the title was going to be The Love Event. Then I encountered a friend who was trying to encourage me through a tough time. She came by The Warehouse, saw the challenges I was facing and told me, ‘When a man has a dream, he is unstoppable.” That was a powerful statement. It led me to reflect on how God’s love for us all is unstoppable. Right then, I knew I had my title.”

LOVE UNSTOPPABLE is filled with many remarkable moments, including the opening “Prelude” which features his son reciting a heartfelt prayer and his daughter singing beautifully, closely following in her fathers footsteps. This leads into the galvanizing opening number “Awesome God” which is certain to light the fire of praise under any audience. “I’ve been studying my audiences,” Hammond shares, “and they love simple hooks that they can sing along to. ‘Awesome God’ is a lot like my song ‘Glory to Glory’ with the joyful repetition in the chorus. We just have folks shouting out, ‘God-God-God-God!” Similarly, the hand-clappin’, high energy first single, “They That Wait,” is a dizzyingly melodic and marvelous song of faith team-up with gospel great John P. Kee. Fred has been test performing this number prior to the album release to great response. Hammond programmed the more traditional “Find No Fault” early in the sequence (track #4) to assure fans that though he is eclectic in his musicality, he still has a deep appreciation for the foundation on which it all began. “Sometimes, people expect gospel to be gospel,” he shares. “I like writing new songs that feel like something you’ve been singing all your life.

Back in the day, one thing the old saints would say is ‘Through it all I find no fault in him.’ They were paraphrasing Pilate from Jesus’ trial when he said, ‘I find no fault in this just man.’” But Hammond could not resist slipping in a little Caribbean twist at the end – a revisionist through and through. The universal Fred Hammond vibe prevails in the acoustic feel good “Nobody Like You” and especially the wrap-around warmth of “Best Thing That Ever Happened,” sure to be a fan favorite. Then there is the balmy Brazilian feel of “Thoughts of Love” on which Hammond seems to channel his inner Cassandra Wilson (the sultry jazz singer). “I could easily do a whole Latin album based on how I feel about that music,” Fred confesses. “That song is a tribute to all my Latin brothers and sisters – all live instrumentation like Santana or something. Down the line I plan to even record something in Spanish.”

On a more soulful note is the deep backbeat R&B groove of “Take My Hand,” a song that has a fittingly strong back story. “When you have a public life, you often find that you have to keep up a strong front even when you’re going through a hard time. My pastor’s family was recently going through an issue and I’ve never seen his wife so broken... That same week, one of my best friends lost her grandfather, who was like a father to her. She’s usually reserved but I saw her broken, too. So I wrote ‘Take My Hand’ for them. I’d just been in that seat when my Mom passed a year and a half ago. Sometimes you don’t have the strength for a whole lot of praise and worship. You just have enough to say, ‘Lord, take my hand and walk with me on this one.’ One thing is certain, every year there will be loss, trials and issues. This song says, ‘Lord, I’m at my lowest point. If you don’t pull me through, I’m not going to make it.’”

LOVE UNSTOPPABLE boasts several more profoundly introspective selections, one of which dates back 20 years ago: the a cappella interlude “I Need You Right Away.” “I wrote that in 1989, a time when I didn’t have any money but a wife and child to care for. Our house was raggedy and I had made some bad business decisions. I was standing in my kitchen one day and what you hear on ‘I Need You Right Away’ just poured out of me. But The Lord would not let me put that song out until now. I kept thinking I was going to ‘finish’ the song, but it wouldn’t happen. This year, God said, ‘Just put that what you sang that day out. It is perfect as it is.’ So now it’s an interlude that leads into ‘Best Thing That Ever Happened.’” Deepest of all of Fred Hammond’s latest offerings is the confessional “Lost in You Again,” a song that proves even someone with as much praise and love to share as Mr. Hammond still questions the fervor of his faith. “’Lost in You Again’ is probably the most special song of the album – my personal testimony of the last ten years of my life. My musicians Calvin and Philip sent me some tracks and I gravitated to this mid-tempo track. The music grabbed me and I immediately started writing it. Some songs take hours. This one just flew out. I didn’t even have a pen. I just grabbed my iPhone, went to the memo page and started singing into it.

I sang about how we as Christians are always searching and the how stuff we find isn’t always the stuff we want. ‘I found all the heartache, the pain, the drama and the shame / My search won’t end until I’m lost in you again.’” “Sometimes we get really cynical after life has done a job on us,” Hammond continues. “While I was writing that song, one of my life-long friends came to hang out with me for the weekend – and the song came to life during this visit. After sitting and talking and catching up on all the years gone by, we went to church. He had on some clothes he probably wore the last time I saw him 20 years ago, but just as pressed and clean as can be. He got in church and when the word of God started, he got so enthralled that he jumped out in the middle aisle and ran across the church like he’d been going there for years! Even though he has had major life issue challenges, he’s always had an energetic love for God. It brought tears to my eyes, because it’s so easy to let life’s issues wear you down to where it affects your worship. I know that after great losses and very difficult periods in my life, sometimes it feels like my own energy has been beaten out of me.

Without even knowing it, my friend made me realize how much I want that kind of expressive worship back. The other person who always had great fervor for God was Pop Winans – from when I was with the group into his old age, he never changed. So ‘Lost in You Again,’ is really saying that I sure could use some of what he’s got. I think we all can.” Closing his powerful latest masterwork with the gentle pair of “Thank You” and “Lord How I Love You,” followed by the big funk of the party time closer “You Make Me Happy,” Fred Hammond covers the full spectrum of emotions God-fearing folks are experiencing at this critical time in history. “It is my hope that these songs touch people, because I know many who are hurting and confused. Along with the big songs, I wanted much of this album to have to have an intimate, introspective look. I think people truly need that energy right now.”

Source: http://www.myplay.com/artists/fred-hammond/bio

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