Gospelflava.com



Interview with Lorraine Stancil

Once you hear her, you do not forget. Lorraine Stancil sang "When We Get Over There" from Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir's Live in Toronto album, also "He Lives" from Youthful Praise's Awesome God project, and others as well.

Her studio project You Are My Everything from 1999 (see album review) and her recent live recording from 2002 on Anointed Sounds Records titled Holy Is The Lamb (see album review) has cemented her soprano sound for all who have these projects.

Lorraine Stancil Gospelflava.com spent some time to understand more about Lorraine Stancil.

Gospelflava.com: Can you describe when and how you first started singing?

Lorraine Stancil: I began singing with my family in our local church in Paterson, New Jersey, by the time I was four years old. My mother was the church organist (and can sing too!). She said she felt that I was going to sing at some point in my life because as a baby I cried in the key of C! How unusual is that?!

Gospelflava.com: Probably many first heard you when you sang on Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir's album, Live in Toronto, on the song "When We Get Over There", written by Bishop Eric McDaniel. But what was your first recorded appearance?

Lorraine Stancil: My first recorded appearence was with the youth choir of the Bible Way Church, in Paterson, as a result of a contest that we won. We gained a bit of local fame in the recording industry.

However on a larger scale, my first recorded experience on a greater national level was with one of the pioneers of Gospel music, Rev. Lawrence Roberts and his Angelic Choir of Nutley, New Jersey. He was responsible for launching the careers of many of the greatest Gospel music artists in the world, including little ol' me! The song that I recorded with him was "Touch Somebody's Life" on the album titled From Us To You. That experience changed my entire life and to this day, Rev. Roberts and his wife (affectionately called "Miss Bootsy") have been my mentors. More importantly, they have been my family.

Gospelflava.com: What did your appearance on the Live in Toronto album do for you? Was that a turning point?

Album Review: Holy Is The Lamb
CD The first song unveils the quality set to unfold on the project. "Clap Your Hands" not only dictates the tone of the recording, but also showcases Lorraine Stancil's ability to use vocal restraint with as much effect as vocal power. The subsequent title cut "Holy Is The Lamb" are both melodic gems, powerful praises written by Stancil and guided by keyboards.....

See full album review.

Lorraine Stancil: Live in Toronto allowed me, once again, to really know that if God ordains a thing, then there is nothing that prevent it from coming to fruition. There were quite a few unexpected events that occurred during the course of that particular recording session, but God showed up and the outcome was tremendous! Many listeners shared with me how the song was a source of encouragement for them, which of course is the most important thing. I still get a great deal of positive feedback as a result of that experience.

Gospelflava.com: Who would you say are your primary musical influences, and what do these people mean to you musically or otherwise?

Lorraine Stancil: Hopefully without sounding, as we say, too 'deep', I would say that my primary musical influences are those whom God uses to literally change a person's life and bring them to salvation; because, isn't that what we are supposed to be doing anyway?

But if I really could name a just few, they would be Donnie McClurkin, Richard Smallwood, Karen Clark Sheard, Daryl Coley, Kurt Carr and my exceptionally gifted and handsome son, Kevin Stancil. These people have been a source if inspiration for me down through the years. Surely anyone can tell you that you will experience times of discouragement in this field, but having shared some heart-to-heart conversations with them has helped me to understand that,' to whom much is given, much is required'!

Lorraine Stancil My son, Kevin, has become one the most sought-after musicians of our time, and for that I am truly grateful to God. His musical prowess is amazing, and he encourages me a lot!

Donnie and I used to sing at many 'joy night' services for years, and he was just as marvelous then, as he is now! Kurt and I have shared from the heart many, many times. Karen, to me, has the most unique vocals out of any female artist that I know.

Daryl stopped me in the hallway of a church after I had ministered at a concert in Washington, and immediately began praying for me; every since that time, whenever we get the chance to see each other, it's like old friends! He is a vocal genius! I love Richard because he is always the same, friendly, down-to-earth person each time we see each other, not to mention that his music is anointed and just simply beautiful.

Gospelflava.com: If someone was to ask you to describe your own vocal style, what would you say?

Lorraine Stancil: My vocal style, I think, is pretty common as far as a soprano voice is concerned. However, my approach to a song is different from other artists. I try not to emulate or imitate anyone, because everbody is unique in their own way. I just attempt to do what I can in a way that listeners can feel the presence and anointing of God as powerfully as I do.

Gospelflava.com: Is there anything in particular that inspires you when you set out to make a song your own?

Lorraine Stancil: My inspiration is the words of the song. People really need to know what the song is saying. Don't get me wrong; insturmentation if fine and it is necessary. However, the words bring strength and hope.

As common as this may sound, the song that inspires me the most is 'Great Is Thy Lorraine Stancil Faithfulness'. When you REALLY look at the words of that song, you realize that no one this world or in your life can measure up to the faithfulness of God. The song says,'morning by morning, new mercies I see'...who else but God can extend mercy, unmerited favor, to you every day?!

Gospelflava.com: On the new album, Holy Is The Lamb, there are some familiar songs, but you sing them with your own unmistakeable flavor, of course. What is the challenge for you in interpreting familiar songs?

Lorraine Stancil: I think the challenge in interpreting familiar songs (or any song) is making sure that the message or the purpose of the song is understood and executed properly. I am not one to change a song too much because if you are not encouraged, or receiveing joy, or most importantly seeing God in the song, then that's a bit of a problem for me.

Gospelflava.com: Can you describe what your family brought to the album?

Lorraine Stancil: My family is simply amazing, and we are truly blessed! When we get together it is a crazy but loving time. God has blessed us so much so, that I have experienced times that we haven't rehearsed a song in year, but we come together, and sing it like we've been rehearsing for months! I have a solid traditional gospel music background, and I chose the song "I Surrender All" for my lastest release as a song to do with my family.

My mother, two sisters, nieces, and my beautiful daughter Stephanie all joined me on that song. I just told them what I wanted, and they delivered! It proves that a family that is Christ-centered can accomplish anything. There is nothing like having your family supporting and contributing to what you are doing. I love them all more than anyone will ever know!

I may not be the smartest person in the world, and I haven't yet received a Grammy or a Stellar, but without God and the prayers and support of my family, none of those things matter, and I know that my life would be quite different, to say the least!


interview by Stan North




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