Audio Streaming for Miracles Still Happen
Sometimes all it ever takes is one chance … that one right opportunity and things just seem to turn around. Add in the constant belief that all things are possible through Christ and an unwavering faith in God, and Stephanie Dotson is living proof that 'miracles' indeed do still happen.
A quiet unassuming young woman from Shreveport, LA, Stephanie Dotson simply sang in the church … it never really entered her mind to sing publicly much less enter a singing competition. Then one day at the urging of her Pastor, Pastor Larry Brandon of Praise Temple Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, Dotson decided to enter a televised singing competition called THE GOSPEL DREAM. Auditioning in nearby New Orleans, Dotson came in third place and although she didn't move on, she gained critical advice. "The judges told me to work on my stage presence … auditions were really hard for me … I wasn't used to singing with my eyes open. So I took their advice, worked real hard and decided to try again," Stephanie said. "My pastor really encouraged me to try out again in two weeks at the auditions in Arkansas … honestly I didn't want to do it, but he said to me 'God is telling me that you need to do it.'"
Armed with a divine sense of determination, Dotson eventually won the semi-finals and a spot in the final round at the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Conference in Phoenix. After a tough two weeks with 24 finalists, Dotson won over the judges with what has been called a "special level of maturity and anointing."
Fast forward to 2006 and Dotson is not only at the breadth of releasing her first album, but is also making her first singing cameo in the feature film MADEA's FAMILY REUNION. As destiny would have it, the executive producer of GOSPEL DREAM, Elvin Ross, is also the music composer for all of Tyler Perry's films. One conversation led to another, and soon Dotson was on set sharing the scene with giants Maya Angelou and Cicely Tyson.
"I'm not trying to be the next Halle Berry," laughs Dotson. "I loved it and really would love to do more singing roles. I was awe-struck … to be in a movie with Maya Angelou and Cicely Tyson and to have them advise me -it was huge for me. They were encouraging me to stay humble … that my voice had blessed them … that was truly a blessing for me"
Kicking off MIRACLES STILL HAPPEN is the lead single, "Give Him Glory," a catchy dance track that simply gives God the praise. It showcases Dotson's rich deep vocals against a mid tempo beat that Dotson describes as 'rejuvenating.' "It's one of those wonderful songs that if you're down and out it will definitely hype you up," said Dotson. "My god sister plays it every morning to start her day and it's a great way to start the CD … it gets you started to bless the Lord and ready to praise God."
Gratefulness, encouragement, God's faithfulness are all recurrent themes that run throughout the album. It is a heartfelt project that repeatedly encourages people. "We've got to stand on God's word," said Dotson. "And really believe in His miracles - not just say it - but really have faith that if He spoke it will happen."
Carrying the theme is of course the project's title track "Miracles Still Happen," a classically sounding Gospel ballad exhibiting variety in Dotson's vocals. There is smoothness and richness in her voice reminiscent to the great gospel vocalists of days past. With a near velvety texture to it Dotson belts out the ballad of encouragement and inspiration. "I love this song and when I heard it … I knew its what I should call the album," said Dotson. "I've been singing for years and it's always been my dream … growing up in 'the hood' I never thought this possible for someone like myself to record, be on TV and be in the movies … to have all of this come true and live out my dream and walk into my destiny is a miracle for me."
Similarly, the fantastic duet "The Sun Will Shine After While," with the legendary Bishop Paul S. Morton, is a re-do of the straight up old-school James Cleveland hit. Holding her own with Bishop Morton's signature vocals, the song reveals just why Dotson has been called a quintessential Gospel voice. She maintains her soulfulness while showing range. Additionally, Bishop Morton doesn't just lend his voice, but the album is a joint effort released on his Tehillah Music Group and Full Gospel Entertainment label.
"Bishop Morton chose that song for us to do … and it is just the right song in the right season. I've been singing this song lately, in certain services with survivors from Hurricane Katrina … in places where I'm ministering and I am reminded of Romans 8:28 … that everything is working together for the good of those who love God. This is so timely … that though the trial and the process is difficult … it is for our good and that God does care," explained Dotson. "At the time, I was going through a lot … I lost my mother, lost my job and singing that song helped me personally. It reminded me that no matter what … you may weep today, but joy comes in the morning and its all good."
"I Do Believe" is a definitive pop ballad that lyrically encapsulates Dotson's entire experience from entering and winning the Gospel Dream contest to the cameo in Madea's Family Reunion to the release of her freshman CD. The orchestration on this 'Disney-esque' ballad doesn't over shadow Dotson's emotive vocals and speaks of faith and belief in reaching ones destiny.
When asked about her favorites on the project, Dotson, like most say its hard to pick just one. "My all time favorite is always changing," she said. "I am so in love with the title track and of course the duet with Bishop Morton, but right now I am blessed by hearing 'Praise Your Name' because the words are so meaningful to me … like whatever I'm going through I will still praise His name."
"Praise Your Name" and "Jehovah God" effective and straightforward praise songs round out the album that makes it a solid all-around Gospel project. Another high point is the worship ballad, "God Brings You Through," one of these great inspiring heart-lifting numbers that do help see you through difficult times.
From the pop and worship ballads to the contemporary dance-y cuts Dotson delivers every time. An exuberant singer with a huge voice and a booming, declarative sound, it is Dotson's rich voice coupled with versatile musical and vocal arrangements that make MIRACLES STILL HAPPEN a brilliant blend of music.
Listen to the audio provided below, courtesy of Artemis Gospel. Audio tracks are available in RealAudio format (click logo below to listen. )
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