CeCe Winans releases her first-ever live album titled “Believe For It”
The songs on CeCe Winans latest album are the kind of praise and worship songs she has always turned to for hope and inspiration.
“I grew up in the church and loved being in worship service with everybody singing and praising the Lord together,” she says. “It’s uplifting! So, that’s what I wanted to do with this album.”
The album includes familiar songs like “King of Glory,” “Hunger,” and “Worthy of it All,” but also new cuts like “No Greater” and the title track, “Believe For It,” a song she co-wrote.
CeCe Winans’ new live album “Believe For It”
All are designed to offer strength and encouragement at a time it’s so desperately needed.
“With people suffering the way they’ve suffered, a lot of people have lost family members and are still dealing with sickness, I think it’s right on time to really encourage people to believe again.”
Although Winans, a 12-time GRAMMY winner, 23-time DOVE award-winner, and recipient of multiple other awards and honors, has been performing and recording music for more than thirty years, “Believe for It” is her first ‘live’ album. She admits doing a live album in the midst of a pandemic was no easy task.
“I had never done a live record before, right?” she says with a laugh. “And I was like, ‘God, this is the first time I do a live record and now I’ve got to do it in front of no people? I always tell people I sing for an audience of one, but I didn’t mean like this!”
Winans and her team were able to make it work. Since the album was recorded in the latter part of 2020, they were able to invite a small number of audience members and seat them throughout the venue.
“It wasn’t the live concert I was planning on, but we were able to do that. And we were also able to allow some of the people from our church to hear it and they were able to respond which was pretty amazing. So, if you listen to the record, you get a little bit of the live feel.”
Those who follow Winans know she’s part of an extremely talented musical family whose members have been a major force in Gospel music for decades. She grew up in Detroit, one of 10 children born to David and Delores Winans.
“I have seven older brothers,” she explains. “I was the first girl and I have two younger sisters and we all sang.”
All are well-known artists in their own right. Her four older brothers, The Winans, were discovered by the late Gospel great, Andre Crouch. Later, CeCe and her brother, BeBe, began performing as a duo, before venturing off to do their own solo projects. Her brother, Daniel, and sisters, Debbie, and Angie, have all, also been successful in music.
Through the years, Winans has also collaborated with many artists outside her family.
“I’ve been able to meet people in every genre and it’s been amazing,” she explains.
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – OCTOBER 15: CeCe Winans performs at the 50th Annual GMA Dove Awards on … [+]
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 25: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Joe Don Rooney, Gary LeVox, CeCe Winans … [+]
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 11: Singers Yolanda Adams (L) and CeCe Winans perform at a taping of We … [+]
She joined close friend, Whitney Houston in 1995 to record a song featured in the movie “Waiting to Exhale. ” And before the holidays, she recorded a duet with Carrie Underwood for Underwood’s upcoming hymns album.
“You know, Whitney was a dear friend of mine, and Whitney and I definitely had a connection because she, too, was raised in the church. And with Carrie, I met her shortly after she won American Idol, when we both sang at The White House. I remember thinking, wow, she can really sing! Of course, since then, I’ve seen her career grow and blossom.”
Late last year, Winans reached out to Underwood to see if she would record a song for an online concert Winans was headlining as part of her fundraising efforts for Compassion LIVE (a faith-based organization that helps lift children out of poverty). Interestingly enough, as she was trying to track down Underwood, Underwood was trying to connect with her. Underwood ended up singing with Winans for the Compassion LIVE concert, and Winans went into the studio to record their duet for Underwood’s album.
Today, Winans calls Nashville, Tennessee, home. Eight years ago, she and her husband, Alvin, co-founded a church called Nashville Life Church. They have two adult children: a son just named head pastor of their church, and a daughter, who recently gave Winans her first grandchild.
“Yes, a little boy and he is adorable!” she says. “I’m smitten with him and he’s just the joy of my life.”
The baby arrived on Christmas day. Not only was he born during a pandemic, he also came on the same day Nashville suffered a devastating bomb blast downtown.
“My daughter was in the hospital and because of COVID I couldn’t be with her, so thank God for technology because my son-in-law kept us posted. And when she got into her room, she Facetimed me and I was like, oh no, I can’t be there. So, I am praying for her, and an explosion happens downtown, but then Wyatt Thomas was born later that evening. And I was just so grateful they were both okay.”
Winans has been busy spending time with family, but also working to promote the new album she hopes will give strength and encouragement to those in need. She says the 12 songs, including covers of some of her favorite inspirational songs like “Never Lost,” were all carefully chosen to be both a celebration, but offer peace of mind.
“These are songs have touched my heart, encouraged me, and lifted my spirit.”
As she performed them before a less-than-capacity-crowd for the live album, her overriding goal was to be able to share the powerful inspiration they’ve given her – with others.
“I said, God, just let me capture your spirit. If I capture your spirit, then people are going to receive what they need to receive from it. And after I heard it, I was like, thank you, God.”
I’m a Nashville-based music contributor to Forbes.com. As a full-time freelance journalist, I also write about music, entertainment, travel, and lifestyle for various