ONE ON ONE WITH CECE WINANS
Cece Winans looks like she’s never aged a day in her life. She’s loved by many with a smile that is adored by Kirk Franklin and the rest of us. She is still the best-selling female gospel artist of all time and she remains humble about it. Check, check, check! She has really won it all people. If you don’t believe me, we recommend you seek google.
She’s one of the smoothest and coolest in the industry-considering she just came from Lagos Nigeria, where she performed at the Experience concert. Not knowing if I was supposed to address her as Cece, Ms Winans, or Mrs Love. “It is really an honour to have this moment with you Ms Winans, are you still jet-lagged?” Not to worry, she was chilled and I felt it. All I could think about while preparing for my one on one was how goofed out and excited I was, thinking whether or not I should tell her that my mother said to tell her hi, which I forgot to!
The pretty lady is really a big deal Y’all, and I was ready to flex with the Queen. In her career, Cece doesn’t show fear. That’s what’s so thrilling about her performances. The 52-year old (and yes, I’m sure that the woman you see on the cover of this story was born in 1964) just mounted one of the industry’s most daunting mountains. This is releasing a solo album after a 9-year break. Notwithstanding, don’t forget she released a duet album titled “Grace” with her brother Bebe in 2009. On balance, I do think that there are plenty of elements to this that just screams greatness. I mean, who does that!?
Whether it is being a wife to her husband Alvin Love, mothering her children Alvin Love III and Ashley Rose or Co-Pastoring at Nashville Life in Tennessee. CeCe never felt short in releasing probably one of her best projects so far, “Let Them Fall In Love.” Has the album readies itself for its February 2017 release, I am already calling this a hit that could even win Cece her first Record of the Year project at the 2018 Grammy Awards. “You know what, I want my supporters to help me pray because I am really releasing my faith that after hearing this project, I know it was heavenly destined. I am really believing for the record of the year at the Grammys and I believe God can do it!” She tells me. Maybe this is why I say she is so fearless.
CHAVON PANTON: “Let Them Fall In Love”, the album. I love love Love it! What took you so long?
CECE WINANS: Ahhhh, that’s awesome……really, thank you! You know what, I never even realised it was this long. My husband and I started work in Nashville, Tennessee at a church called Life. During this time I was seeking God for a record because I did not know which direction to take. But my son, Alvin Love III had a vision for this particular record and he had to sell me his vision, which I got. He started showing me snippets of what he wanted and explaining the vision as he was writing. When I got it, I was like yes, this is going to be awesome. Going back to the studios was a bit difficult for me, but I believed in the vision and we made it happen. I am happy and excited and I know that people are going to love it.
People are amazed that your voice is still so pure after being in the game for so long and away from recording. What is the secret to this mystery?
No mystery at all. God has just been really great to me and merciful. The simple thing is just to take care of yourself and that is what I try to do. My life is pretty simple. At least, I try to keep it that way. It is very easy for your life to become complicated and when you try to keep things simple, it keeps you healthy and normal. What I’ve learned was that going back to the studio came with its challenges because I’ve allowed myself to become out of shape and I realise that I would have to do events and hold notes. So going back to the gym and trying to get rest is what I’ve done and have been doing and mixing that with the anointing, it seems to be working.
My favourite track on the album is ”Hey Devil”. What inspired this collaboration with the Clark Sisters?
“Ha ha ha ha…” this song is really amazing.
Yes it is!
So, I had so much fun working on this track with the sisters. First of all, I’ve known the Clark Sisters for years. We have never done anything together – and furthermore, why would I ever do a collaboration with Clarks. I mean, these are like great singers. But we needed that attitude; we needed that sound to let the devil know that we are not playing. So, I went to Detroit and we made it happen. What is funny is that we couldn’t even use most of the takes we did. The girls got so mad at the devil and started to say crazy stuff. I was like, Jackie that’s too much, oh no, come back! But when Karen said “His Momma is a liar…” we all laughed so hard. Everyone is going to really love this one.
How do you stay clean from the system that says that you have to compromise in order to get ahead?
I know who I am and why I do what I do. I mean, what I’ve attained has nothing to do with my gifts, but everything to do with God’s favour over my life. Chavon, I live my life for Jesus and to please him and if it is his will for me to be on the charts I will be. If it is not his will, then I don’t want to be there. So yes, I don’t want to compromise, I am a believer first who happens to be a singer also. For others who may be in compromising positions, it is for me to pray for them and not judge them. To whom much is giving much is required. After all, everybody’s standards and walk is different and you never know what someone is going through to cause them to do what they do. I always say that anytime you see a Winan’s acting up, it is just because we are just acting crazy. You know, we were all raised up in holiness and hearing the word. I am here to build people up and not to tear down
If you were giving another opportunity to perform at the White House, Grammy Awards or the Stellar Awards. Which would you choose and why?
Wow, I applaud you, this is a new question that I have never heard before. Well, right now, it would probably be the White House.
Ha ha ha…..well I say that because I believe that at this time the nation really needs God more than ever. We need peace in our nation, we need unity and we need to be led by the spirit. We need to be praying for our new president-elect Donald Trump. Together we stand and divided we fall, so we have to come together – and I know that the anointing that God has given me, and not just me, but all those who represent him on this earth would be effective.
Do you think winning an award ways how great an artist is?
No, I don’t think so. I think winning awards gives you more exposure, it gives you sometimes more influence. But there is a lot of great and incredible artist that has never won an award. For some reason, I am honoured to have won many awards and it has allowed me to go on many platforms.
But do you think this would happen if you never won so many awards?
Look, nothing beats God’s divine will. It is better to just trust in the Lord with all your heart and watch him make all things happen.
What is the most recent obstacle that you’ve been faced with and had to overcome?
I can’t think of one right now. Maybe it would be the work that my husband and I have started, which has been challenging, but so rewarding. I mean, you are making disciples, you are pouring life into someone. To see people go through tragedies, losing loved ones and really standing in faith knowing that God is going to bring them through is just rewarding. I think the blessing in getting older is that you get wiser, and God has been so faithful and so good throughout my life that I don’t have to wait until I see the victory to praise him, but I can praise him in the midst of the challenge because his word is good and his character is consistent.
The Kennedy Center Honours. What was the first thing you did when you left the stage?
Hum, well, let’s talk about what I did before getting on the stage.
Ha ha! Ok.
You know, this is the way God works. I have never done this show and I got the call. The Music Director was who called and said Cece, they need Blessed Assurance and I know that you are the person to do it. I was like really! Then it hit me that I have never done this before. But I was like, Lord, have your way and use me for your glory. That call wasn’t because I am the greatest or I have the biggest hit out right now, they called and that’s the way God does it. A lot of time people looks on my accomplishments and say how do you do it or how did you get that. My answer is always that I have the best manager and his name is God. But to really answer your question, I never really felt the impact until I got off the stage. I realise that everyone was crying. The lord just showed up and he blessed that segment and I was just grateful.
Which gospel artist is doing it for you right now?
Ohhhhh, you know who is doing it for me right now. I was just over in Nigeria with Donnie McClurkin, Micah Stampley and Smokie Norful. Travis Greene, of my God! He was there too and he is unbelievable. I was so blessed by him and excited to see that a young man knows how to flow in worship. Then his testimony is so profound.
What is your favourite TV show on TV right now?
Wooooo…. I am not a TV watcher. I don’t have a favourite TV show. I think the most you would see me and my husband watching is……Humm…What’s the name of that show with Steve?
Yes! That one.