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Interview With CeCe Winans
Peace in the Storm

Cece Winans embodies the type of person youíd like to be.

Not so much in the "I have arrived" kind of way. More like who you would like to be, on your journey to get there.

Sheís an illustration of the peace that God promises if we trust in Him —a peace that can come even in the midst of a storm. And surely there is a storm going on around her.

CeCe WinansShe released her latest solo album in June 2001 (see review). She is the CEO of her own record company (WellSpring Gospel). She is the spokesperson for several organizations and products. She is a mother and a wife. That's enough storm for anybody.

But Cece doesnít stay in to avoid the rain. In fact you can almost imagine her tapping her umbrella, and heading out to her destiny with a smile.

"Itís a constant adjustment. I can have a plan or a system, and something always comes up. You just deal with that accordingly. What works for me is to keep my priorities straight. Keeping Him first is the key. Youíve got to keep God first because Heíll help you balance everything else out. So in the morning if I donít make any other appointment, Iíve got to keep my appointment with Him. He is the only one that keeps things in perspective for me. He helps me keep it clear —my duties as a wife, a mother, a career person —because it can be very overwhelming. We try and fool ourselves like we ARE every womanĒ, she says with a laugh. ďYou canít be everything at the same time. And because every stage of life brings on different challenges, I have to revisit that on an ongoing basis. My strength and clarity and wisdom come from Him."

CeCe WinansWe watched anxiously as she stepped out on her own in 1995, and felt proud when she soared instead of tripped up (see 1999 interview). Itís always difficult to leave a partnership or group, and often the public makes it more difficult —people get comfortable with you the way you are and donít want you to change.

"People sometimes feel like youíve taken something from them when that happens. Youíve got to allow them to grow. Over the years Iíve learned to accept the good with the bad. Sometimes I try to explain to the people. Sometimes I donít have time to. You never want to offend or desert, but at the same time you have to continue to go on your road. You caní be afraid of growth or something different or you will be stagnated. Youíll be standing around a be like how did I get left back here?"

Bebe and Ceceís time apart has yielded some wonderful solo projects, but they donít shun working together again.

"We really do want to do some things together again. It will hopefully be something bigger and better. It wonít be the same, because weíre not the same."

Her new self-titled album announces a new Cece.

"Iím really pleased with this project. I think it says a lot. Itís who I am right now. Itís a new day. There are a few things you will hear on this project —first thereís encouragement. Then you will hear a lot about prayer —it changes things and Iím trying to get people to realize that. And then you will hear a lot of passion. This thing, itís a two way street. God loves us, but I really want people to know this time around how much I love Him. If I had to sum up the record it would definitely be about love —but with passion and a relationship with God —prayer and encouragement."

Challenging is another word for some of the material on this project. The lyrics to the literally soul-stirring ďLook Into Your HeartĒ strike a painfully real chord as they present an internal conflict. Some will listen to this song and find themselves reflecting on their relationships with people, others will listen and relate it to their relationship with God. Ironically, I found myself bouncing from one to the other, and ultimately realizing that that is really the whole point Ė that His love for us is how He wants us to love other people, and conversely, the love that we desire to feel from others pales dramatically in comparison to the love He is offering us. Cece echoes this.

CeCe On Marvin Winans Jr.
Click for interview Like his aunt CeCe, Marvin Winans Jr. has founded his own full-service Gospel entertainment company, M2Entertainment.

"I'm so proud of Marvin Jr. Iím proud of him because he's trying to be very professional in what heís doing. And I just want to help not just my nephews, but any artist I can; I want to help. If I know it Iíll answer it, if I donít, Iíll be honest enough to tell you that."

"I donít think we should all experience the same downfalls if someone can share their wisdom. I always want to be open to sharing whatever I know. Because there were a lot of people who helped me and then there WERENíT a lot of people that helped me!Ē

Click on the above image of Marvin Winans Jr. to read our February 2001 interview with him.
"I asked the Lord to give me something powerful and something that would express how great He is and the greatness of the love He has for us. And of course you canít talk about love without thinking of relationships, because He created that too. And when you read the Word He even uses that as an example —for a man to love his wife. A lot of times people get offended or feel like somethingís wrong with that, but itís a very natural thing."

"When you talk about love and relationships it is quite the same. Except when youíre dealing with God; Heís somebody who is perfect and will never hurt you, like we do as humans to one another. So thatís what makes that relationship so much greater because He will never let you down. Heís always there. He will be Ďthe rock for you, the rain for youí —anything you need him to be. But as great as God is, and as powerful He is, He can only do what you allow Him to do. He will not knock the door down to your heart. So many of us ignore Him until weíre in so much trouble that we canít breathe. But you have to allow Him to be." "Yea and Nay", originally recorded by her brothers in 1983, is another thought-provoking entry. The vocal duet with brother Marvin is certainly a musical gem, but itís the message that brings true value.

"My brother Marvin is a powerful writer and one of the most gifted singers. He came in and added some things to bring it all up to date. That song has a message that everyone needs to hear again. We are living in a time where weíre calling right wrong and wrong right. You look at television and you wonder if anybody stands for anything anymore. Our children are suffering and those words just hit you right in the face. I mean I never thought our kids would have to go through metal detectors at school. Really, God please bring it back! Weíve got to return to what we know is right. Weíve compromised so much because of a paycheck or so much because of fame. I know a lot of people are going to be moved by that song and hopefully it will give people boldness."

CeCe's overall amicability has made her the spokesperson of choice for many companies and organizations. She is in her second year as a spokesperson with K-Mart (see website) —the first year for their African-American history books for children, and this year for their celebration of the history of Gospel music.

She is also National Spokesperson for the Initiative Teen Program, a teen suicide prevention and intervention organization.

CeCe Winans"I was just totally ignorant of this horrible epidemic. I had no idea that we were losing so many people, especially young people. I read an article in The Tennesseean about how kids from 10 to 19 were taking their lives, and feeling a sense of hopelessness. My heart just broke, because as a mom, the first thing you think about is your own children."

"As a mother of two, you donít always know what your kids are thinking or what theyíre going through. Itís not only a poverty thing, because a lot of it is affecting middle class kids —because they didnít make the cheer team or get accepted to the right college, they decided to take their lives. I was just devastated from reading the article."

"Your kids go through a stage, when they are teenagers and they are quiet and donít share everything. Itís a thing that people donít want to talk about it. I thought I could use my platform to bring awareness. I donít know everything but I just want to bring attention to it to tell kids that suicide is not the answer. Whatever youíre going through, it will get better."

It remains to be seen where the roads will take her, but though they may wind, surely they will wind upward. Her label is off to a sweet start with her as itís premiere artist, but that undoubtedly is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Other Recent Winans Albums
Click for review Click for review Click for review Like his aunt CeCe, Marvin Winans Jr. has founded his own full-service Gospel entertainment company, M2Entertainment.

Click on each of the above image of Marvin Winans Jr. to read our February 2001 interview with him.
ďWe're looking to do some childrenís projects. And we're talking about doing a choir record. I also have a person in mind who will probably be our first artist next year if God says the same, but I really want to get more things in place before I bring an artist in."

I know what it takes because Iíve been there. Thereís nothing like signing with a company and they are not there to support you the way they should be. So weíre trying to wait on the right timing and in Godís timing weíll sign an artist."

Iím not interested in just signing every talented person I know because itís more than just talent. Youíve got to be called to do what you do. When itís your purpose youíre going to stick with it and do what it takes."

With all of Ceceís success, it seems unimaginable that there are greater glories to be had by her. But there are! With grace and a calm spirit, she seems to glide from one glory to the next.

ďIt seems like Iíve got it together, huh? The Lord has had me looking good for a long time! You would think I could really strategize —but girl please! He has just been good. My life is totally yielded to the Lord. I want to please Him. Iím striving to accomplish my purpose, not necessarily that award or that next thing. You just set out to be the best you can be and He just opens up doors. Thatís really my life."

Mmhmmmm. And I want to grow up to be just like that.



interview by Melanie Clark ó





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