Singing Background
Queenie Lenox

Annette "Queenie" Lenox has been in demand as a session singer by some of Gospel's finest and most well-known artists. To say that Lenox, a native of Chicago, comes from a musical family, is an understatement. Her parents had deep Gospel roots. Rev. James Lenox, her father, was pastor of Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ, and her mother, Aldrea Lenox, sang with The Dorothy Norwood Singers and also Jessy Dixon.

Queenie has sung with the likes of Donald Lawrence, her late brother Kelvin Lenox, The Williams Brothers, Calvin Bernard Rhone and of course Donnie McClurkin. Who can forget her part on “Great is Your Mercy” from McClurkin's Live In London project.

As part of our continuing series (click here for more) on background singers, Gospelflava.com spoke to Queenie Lenox.

background singers, Queenie Lenox on the far leftGOSPELflava.com: You have sung with many different artists. How do you adapt your vocals to each artists particular singing style?

Queenie Lenox: Artists prefer anything from very light head tones to heavy chest tones. If I agree to sing with an artist, I make sure I study their singing style. It takes practice, especially if I don’t use a particular vocal tone often. A good background singer can usually feel the vibe of a song and know how to produce the sound needed to make it work.

GOSPELflava.com: If you were to list your "Dream Team" of background singers, who would they be? Queenie Lenox: That's a hard one, but I would have to say Duawne Starling, Ayana George, Andrea Mellini, Sheri McGhee, Tiffany Palmer, Jerard Woods, Yvette Williams (Kurt Carr's soprano), not excluding myself. As you can see, most are, or have been one of Donnie McClurkin’s singers. I am not being biased. They really are the best background singers you can find, because they can produce any style of music, are spiritual and have great personalities.

Queenie LenoxGOSPELflava.com: If someone is just entering into the field of background singing, how should they prepare themselves spiritually?

Queenie Lenox: Before doing anything a person needs to make sure their relationship with God is solid, and have it remain so, through studying the Word, prayer and fasting. Secondly, one must seek God’s will and direction. Thirdly, one must seek the counsel AND approval of their pastor. Their motivation must ALWAYS be to glorify God and bring souls to Christ. Background singers need to understand that they are equally accountable for the souls that are being ministered to as the 'artist'. It is a ministry of support, and someone in that audience will be affected by what you do, both on and off the stage. We are accountable! Lastly, when you are not on the road, be faithful to your church!

GOSPELflava.com: What are some ways to keep your vocal chords fresh when you sing so much?

Queenie Lenox: Get proper rest (which is sometimes difficult with a heavy travel schedule), avoid foods that put a strain on the vocal chords (i.e. dairy products, caffeine, chocolate), drink plenty of water (room temperature), keep a scarf for your head and neck, and most importantly, warm up the vocal chords before singing!

Queenie LenoxGOSPELflava.com: What is Queenie Lenox doing these days?

Queenie Lenox: I continue to work in the ministry with my brother, Pastor Lamont Lenox at our church (Greater Holy Temple COGIC). I have conducted some workshops, concerts, trained and recorded with a near 500-voice choir in Malmo, Sweden. I've been doing a bit of songwriting; released a single, am doing commercials; studio background singing and training my great-nephew to be a singer. Of course, I continue to sing with Pastor Donnie McClurkin when I can and will always be one of his singers, because he has imparted so much into my life (even though he's really pushing us to step out in our own ministries). I've pondered the idea of a live recording. Pray for me!!!

Stay tuned for more in this series on background singers...

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interview by Dwayne Lacy

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