CeCe Winans: The Queen of Gospel Music

CeCe Winans is one of the most influential and successful gospel singers of all time. With a career spanning over four decades, she has won 15 Grammy Awards, 31 Dove Awards, 17 Stellar Awards, and many other accolades. She has sold over 19 million records worldwide, making her the best-selling female gospel artist ever. She is also a pastor, speaker, author, mentor, and co-founder of Nashville Life Church.

From PTL to Platinum

CeCe Winans was born Priscilla Marie Winans in Detroit, Michigan, on October 8, 1964. She is one of 10 children of Delores and David Winans, who were part of the Church of God in Christ. She grew up singing in church and at home with her siblings, who would later form the famous Winans family group.

In 1981, CeCe and her older brother BeBe moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to join the Christian telecast The PTL Club, hosted by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. There, they formed a duo and performed gospel songs with modified lyrics for Christian audiences. They released their first album, Lord Lift Us Up, in 1984 for PTL Records.

CeCe and BeBe left PTL in 1985 and signed with Sparrow Records. They released their second album, BeBe & CeCe Winans, in 1987, which featured their first hit single, “I.O.U. Me”. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs chart and crossed over to the R&B and pop charts. The album also won them their first Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group.

The duo continued to achieve crossover success with their subsequent albums: Heaven (1988), Different Lifestyles (1991), First Christmas (1993), and Relationships (1994). They became the first gospel artists to have a platinum album with Different Lifestyles, which sold over a million copies and featured their most popular song, “Addictive Love”. They also collaborated with other artists such as Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, and Stevie Wonder.

Solo Star

In 1995, CeCe launched her solo career with the album Alone in His Presence, which was also certified platinum and won her another Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. The album showcased her powerful vocals and her versatility in different styles of music, from traditional gospel to contemporary R&B.

CeCe followed up with more successful solo albums: Everlasting Love (1998), Alabaster Box (1999), CeCe Winans (2001), Throne Room (2003), Purified (2005), Thy Kingdom Come (2008), Songs of Emotional Healing (2010), Let Them Fall in Love (2017), and Believe for It (2021). She also recorded several duet albums with her brother BeBe: Still (2009), Icon (2013), and Something’s Happening! A Christmas Album (2018).

Throughout her solo career, CeCe has won numerous awards and honors for her music and ministry. She has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame. She has performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, the White House, and the Kennedy Center. She has also appeared on various television shows such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, Oprah, and The View.

More Than Music

Besides singing, CeCe has also been involved in other endeavors that reflect her faith and passion. In 1999, she founded PureSprings Gospel, her own record label that aims to produce quality gospel music and support new artists. In 2005, she launched Always Sisters Forever Brothers, a youth conference that empowers young people to live out their God-given purpose. In 2012, she co-founded Nashville Life Church with her husband Alvin Love II, where they serve as co-pastors.

CeCe has also written several books that share her insights and experiences as a singer, mother, wife, and believer. Her books include On A Positive Note (2000), Throne Room: Ushered Into the Presence of God (2004), Always Sisters: Becoming the Princess You Were Created to Be (2007), For Always: The Best of CeCe Winans (2010), and Believe for It: Passing on Faith to the Next Generation (2021).

CeCe is also a mentor to many young singers who look up to her as a role model and inspiration. She has nurtured talents such as Kierra Sheard, Jonathan McReynolds, and Koryn Hawthorne. She has also participated in various charitable causes and events, such as the Hurricane Katrina relief, the AIDS awareness campaign, and the Women of Faith conference.

Legacy and Influence

CeCe Winans is a legend in the gospel music industry and beyond. She has influenced generations of singers and listeners with her soulful voice, uplifting lyrics, and graceful spirit. She has broken barriers and bridged gaps between different genres, cultures, and audiences. She has used her gifts and platform to glorify God and bless others. She is a true queen of gospel music and a woman of faith.

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