Interview With CeCe Winans
About Uninterrupted Worship
CeCe Winans has been a refreshing voice in the Gospel and Contemporary Christian industry for years now. She has a new distribution deal with Epic, which has given her (and Wellspring Gospel) more opportunity to share the Gospel with the world.
interview by —Dwayne Lacy —
The latest album from CeCe is the very worshipful Throne Room.
CeCe talks to Gospelflava.com about that, a BeBe and CeCe reunion and other topics that her fans are wanting to know more about.
Gospelflava.com: You've done two worship albums already. Why was it important for you to do another one?
CeCe Winans: Because this one is probably the most worshipful. I think when you listen to all of my CDs, you find worship songs, but not as many as there are on this one. This is more of a uninterrupted worship service. I pray that when people hear it, they will not just listen to it, but that they will be motivated to come into the Throne Room and worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.
I guess that's the only way that I can explain it. I felt like when it was put on my heart to do it, there had to be several songs which would flow from one to the other in order to allow people to enter into the throne room and just stay there. I think it's more of a teaching tool more than than a listening tool.
Gospelflava.com: You have put out some very diverse albums, musically speaking. What would you say to the fans that don't know what to expect from you next?
CeCe Winans: (Laughing). All that I can say is I'm sorry, because that is so true! I had planned on doing an album like the last one, CeCe Winans, because we had just signed a partner deal with Epic and they want us to do a mainstream pop, inspirational album and that's where we were ready to go, but God wouldn't leave me alone.
There was something in my spirit that I had to birth. I would be crazy if I didn't do it. Knowing that it would take people back to where Alabaster Box was, this is kind of a pick up from there. It's even different than that. I really try to follow the Spirit. I try to follow what's in my heart at the time.
No surprise, the musical artistry of the project is ultra excellent. Longtime collaborators Cedric and Victor Caldwell are at the producer’s table, orchestrating a soft but rich backdrop to the entire set of sixteen studio tracks, allowing CeCe Winans to flow with her distinctive vocals in a subtle variety of settings....|
See full review.
I do love all different styles of music. I feel like there's a place for all of that; it ministers to people at different times. I guess when you look at all the music that I've done, and the diversity that I've [gone with], you see that I'm a worshiper and I worship Him in a whole lot of different ways.
Gospelflava.com: You remade the Greg Long song "Mercy Said No" and dedicated it to your brother Ronald. Why is it so important to keep referring back to that miracle in the Winans Family?
CeCe Winans: You know what, it's not that I try to do that, it just comes. When I heard the song, I thought that it was such an incredible piece. It took my breath away when Greg Long sung it. It says, "Life and death stood face to face. Darkness tried to steal my heart away but Mercy Said No. You are crying and weeping because you know if it wasn't for mercy, you wouldn't be here." Right away, I went to Ronald's experience.
Ronald's experience was one of the greatest experiences in my life. You can feel the fight of life and death like never before and you are totally powerless. The only power you have is in Jesus. You stand on faith and you cry out to Him. You can't be weak. You have to believe and know that God will do what you asked Him to do. It was one of the greatest spiritual experiences in my life.
Gospelflava.com: The title track "Throne Room" was written by you and Andrae Crouch. How was your experience working with Andrae?
CeCe Winans: All I can say is that I am blessed and highly favored because we have been able to work with him, but not in a writing session. We flew out to Los Angeles and he took out time from his busy schedule of being a pastor. He sat at the piano, took out the tape recorder and after that, I was through. When that man begins to really play and hit that vein of what God has given him, you're reminded that wow, God really gave him an incredible gift for the body of Christ.
He is so full of treasures. Songs begin to pour out of him. My assistant and I were crying. You go through so many emotions. It's incredible to hear what God has put in his heart and his spirit. When he started to play the chorus to "Throne Room", it just tugged my heart because I was trying to explain to him where I felt like God was taking me for this project. This has got to be one of the songs, [I said]. I didn't know that it would be the title track. When I got home, I finished it, and of course, when you are finishing something that Andrae started it's like, "Oh God, I got to hear from you!" Then we played it for him [Andrae] and he was pleased with it. He loved it. I'm just blessed because he took out the time to do that.
Not only that, we have another song on there by him. It's called "Hallelujah", which is a beautiful medley. It kind of closes the worship portion of the CD. Once you hear it, it will stick with you. Sitting down with Andrae is one of the highlights of this project.
Gospelflava.com: You have been esteemed for your work as an artist, a mother, wife and label exec. Another good thing said about you is that 'CeCe is the real deal. She lives what she sings about.' What would say about that statement? What would tell new artists who are stepping into the Gospel Music scene?
CeCe Winans: They have to realize that it's a ministry. I'm blessed to hear that [about myself], but I do what I do because I'm a believer. A lot of times people act in ways that you wonder, 'Surely they can't be a believer.' I believe that God is real and that He's soon to come. It's heaven or hell. You gotta stand for yourself. You believe the scripture that says, "Be ye holy, for I am holy." That's what you strive to be. You have to take up your cross daily. Examine yourself and crucify flesh. You aim to please God.
I'm just a striving believer. People tell me that I am so humble. I tell them that Jesus is my example. I have to make it. I tell my children, 'I love you guys, but I got to make it.' I want to hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Click on the album art above to get to the reviews of Vicki Yohe's album, and also the review of CeCe's prior project, her eponymous release from 2001.|
My advice to new artists is to love the Lord. Love Him more than you love your ministry. Love Him beyond the stage. When He's first, He'll open up every door that needs to be opened, and close every door that needs to be closed. It has to be all about Him. The music industry is all about building up self. The Gospel Music industry needs to be totally opposite than that.
Gospelflava.com: The phrase "downtime" might be a phrase that's seldom in CeCe Winans' life, but what do you do during your "downtime"?
CeCe Winans: Downtime, what is that!? (Laughing) Wow. I try to be in service. I like to be at home. I'm a boring person. I guess when you travel all the time, people ask, 'Where are you going on vacation?' I like to be at home. To be with my children, whether it's playing games or bowling. Bowling is something that I like to do. We go to the movies, but there are only a few movies that I can allow myself to watch. I don't know how much longer I can go to the movies.
There used to be a time when the saints didn't allow us to go the movies, and now I understand why. You have to be careful what you allow your eyes to see and your ears to hear, because you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. So [movies] are becoming very few and far between [for me]. Hopefully, we'll get some more Christian filmmakers out there that can make movies that the families can see. So that's what I like to do on my free time, to be at home, study His Word, and to spend time with my family.
Gospelflava.com: Speaking of family, yours is amazingly talented. Your brothers are awesome. Your sister Debbie even sounds like a deeper version of you. Have you ever thought about doing an all girls album?
CeCe Winans: I've done a song with my mom. There's a song that Angie, Debbie and myself wrote, called "Always Sisters" and I'm going to submit that for my next project for Epic. I've never thought of doing a whole album with them. Maybe, I'd love to. I love singing with Angie and Debbie. I think that they're great writers and great producers. They are great singers.
Gospelflava.com: When will the BeBe and CeCe reunion take place?
CeCe Winans: I'm still trying to get back in the studio to record with BeBe. Time flies so quickly. We're really at a place where we want to do what God wants us to do when He wants us to do it. I believe that it's His will, but it has to be His timing. That's my favorite place, singing with BeBe. Doing the solo project was a very scary thing to do, but I know now why God wanted us to do it. I think as individuals, He wanted to shape and make us and show us some things separately. My favorite place is definitely singing with BeBe.
Gospelflava.com: PursSpring Gospel is gearing up to release a few highly anticipated projects with Vicki Yohe and Born Again Church Choir. Tell us about those releases.
CeCe Winans: First of all, I'm very excited and I'm humbled because the Lord allowed us to put them on our label. The Born Again Choir is my home church choir. They were an incredible choir before I got to the church, and they just seem to get better and better. I've been blessed to have such a great home church.
For some reason, people forget the importance of a home church. If you don't have a church, you need to get a church. You need to have a pastor. You need to be around the saints of God. It's a great choir. When I tell you that they can sing. They can sing! They're powerful. It was a great live recording a few months back. So Cedric and Victor Caldwell are finishing up the mixing. In October 2003, that project will be out. Steve and D'adra from Anointed are on there. We have Israel. He's awesome. We didn't think we were going to finish the recording, he wrecked the place! We have Desmond Pringle on there who wrote a song called, "Holiness is Right". When I hear the project, I'm like 'Wow, they're really good!' We just have to make sure that the mixing and mastering is right.
Then there is Mrs. Vickie Yohe. If you haven't heard her yet, you won't forget her when you do. She has some great songs. She has some wonderful songs that I feel that the whole body of Christ will enjoy. Someone sang one of her songs at my church and I was already at the altar. I just began to weep and weep. I thought about it and I said, 'Lord that song is on our label. I'm so blessed.'
I'm excited about what we've done so far. We want everything that we do to count. We have a small staff, but they love God. Demetrus Stewart runs my company, and I couldn't have prayed of a better person. She really loves God and she's very skillful at what she does. So we have three projects that will be out including mine, before the end of the year. Then we'll see what we're going to do next.
We're listening to projects and praying over them. We encourage people to send stuff to us. Again, our prayer is that we will sign those people that are supposed to be with us. I want to tell people that when someone does not sign you, that's OK. You want to be where God wants to be.
CeCe Winans will bless God's people with Throne Room, and will continue to touch many lives with her songs of inspiration and just being an awesome woman of God. This is going to be an exciting year for CeCe and the entire PureSpring Gospel roster.
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