New Divine Destiny....from Tommy Boy Gospel

New Divine Destiny
Be Ready

As the first choir signed to Tommy Boy Gospel, New Divine Destiny has already broken new ground. Theirs is not your run-of-the-mill story about the trials and tribulations of a new New Divine Destiny CDartist however, for the group's first project is simply crammed with names familiar to the Gospel industry. Start counting.

The most obvious names would be those ending with ‘Kee’, for choir director Alphonza Kee brings with him the full support of his brother (Pastor John P. Kee), and the many talented members of the renowned Charlotte-based church (New Life Fellowship Center). In fact, New Divine Destiny, with members ranging in age from 16 to 30, also carries the moniker, ‘The Church Choir’.

And while the sound of this studio project won’t be confused with the John P. Kee’s New Life Community Singers, you can certainly feel the connection, with Pastor Kee handling production and co-writing most of the material with his brother.

New Divine DestinyTonéx lends his popular vocals to the mid-tempo title cut, "Be Ready", which speaks to Christ’s any-day return. Punctuated choir vocals go side-by-side with Tonéx’s soul, with relevant soft trumpet solos injected. It's the choir's lead single, and has a video to go with it.

A pillar of this project is surely the balladry. Alphonza Kee handles lead vocals on the gently melodic "Came To Me", with his brother unable to resist adding a few uncredited vocal licks of his own, and New Divine Destiny feathering gorgeous backing vocals into the mix of muted horns and keys.

"Now Unto Him" is another soft triumph, with several vocal leads weaved through it, including from Chris Simpson and the always-welcome Shawn McLemore.

Simpson can also be found prominently on "He Liveth", where he continues to impress. On this song he propels the already-blazing and bumpin’ track into the stratosphere with his interpretation of the powerful resurrection lyrics. He’s helped by a rocketing rap segment from Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, Raghib Ismail.

Rhonda McLemore and Edward 'Buddy' Banks spin a wonderful duet on "Tell Me The Truth", with McLemore putting out some lovely phrasing and former Rude Boys member Banks subtley taking it further. The chorus features some of the nicest melodic turns heard in a while.

New Divine DestinyAside from some minor over-produced programmed segments on a few of the more contemporary cuts, the musicianship is a joy. You find various instrumental masters such as Miche Waller (keyboards), Calvin Rodgers (drums), John Kee (piano), Maurice Fitzgerald and Alphonza Kee (who adds a mean bass to his other significant duties on this CD).

As one of the year's most anticipated projects, Be Ready has already gained much attention. Look for it to gain even more as peeps begin to hear their New Divine Destiny.

(For your souvenir audio postcard, Click, download, and run.)

Producer: John P. Kee
album release date: June 20, 2000
Tommy Boy Gospel

— reviewed by Stan North

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