Acclaimed vocalist CeCe Winans might not be 'Superwoman' but she's certainly amazing

Jim Harrington, Bay Area News Group on

Published in Entertainment News

CeCe Winans has sold millions of albums, won scads of Grammys and other major awards, performed around the world and positioned herself as one of the most successful gospel singers of all time.

She’s also written a half-dozen books — included her most recent bestseller, “Believe for It: Passing on Faith to the Next Generation” — and is in the third year of hosting a popular women’s conference.

Oh, and she also found time to raise a family and start the Nashville Life Church with her husband, Alvin Love.

It’s enough to make one wonder how this Detroit native — who is part of the legendary Winans gospel music family — finds time to accomplish everything that she does.

“It might look like I’m Superwoman, but I’m not,” Winans says in a recent phone interview. “I balance out my days so that I won’t be overwhelmed and so that it won’t be too much.”

Despite all that she has done in her amazing career, however, there was one thing that — somewhat surprisingly — she didn’t get around to doing for decades.

And that was to release a live album, which is a true staple of the gospel/worship music genre.

She’d finally check that one off her list with release of 2021’s “Believe for it.”

That milestone is one of the many things I chatted about with the stellar vocalist, who is known for her solo career as well as for her work as one half of the brother-sister duo BeBe & CeCe Winans.

Q: Great to talk with you, CeCe. How is the tour going so far?

A: It is going awesome. What can I say? We are just acknowledging — and we’re seeing — the goodness of God every night. People are coming ready to participate. They are not coming to spectate. They are coming to worship God. And it’s just been powerful every night.

That’s what the Goodness Tour is all about — to focus on His goodness, to focus on what He’s already done, to focus on who He is.

So many times, we live our lives focusing on those things that we are waiting on or that we desire, that we are still praying for — and we forget to praise God for who He is and what He’s already done.

Q: What’s the set list look like for this tour?

A: You’re going to hear some old — we are going to go way back on a couple of them. You are going to hear some from our previous record, “Believe for It.” And then we are going to share a couple from the new record (“More Than This”) that is going to be released on April 26. We are also going to sing a few hymns.

Q: That sounds like a really good mix.

A: It’s just a powerful night. So, come expecting to be blessed. Come expecting to be refreshed, to be renewed, to be healed. We are believing for miracles. You know, we are just believing for everything that God does when His presence shows up.

Q: It’s hard for me to fathom how “Believe for It” is your first live album. I mean, you’ve been working professionally since the ‘80s. And live albums are like the bread and butter of the Gospel/worship genre. What took you so long?

A: I know. BeBe and I — we never did one. We just always did studio records. Of course, we toured live – but never did a live recording.

I don’t know how it took so long. I mean, I love the live experience. But I do prefer the studio (for recording), because you can go back and fix things. And that’s what I have always done. Because once the recording is out there, it’s out there. So, that’s probably why I prefer it more (for recording).

Q: Sure, I can understand that.

A: But the live experience is always better. Because you have the audience. You have the people praising God. You have the people singing with you. So, I have always loved the live experience, but never recorded it until recently. And I have management and my team to thank because they wanted me to do it.

Also, they wanted me do a live record that would cover some songs that have already been recorded. I have always covered songs, here and there, throughout my ministry and career. But never a whole record where the majority is covered songs.


Q: Thus “Believe for It” was born.

A: It was something that was needed at that time, because we did it during the pandemic and a lot of people were isolated, a lot of people weren’t going to church, a lot of people were fighting for their lives, losing loved ones. It turned out to be not just a great idea, but a blessing.

Q: And it’s turned out to be a hit as well, garnering something like a half-billion streams in the U.S. alone.

A: The response has been amazing. It’s still hitting its highest peak. It continues to soar. And I’m humbled by it. God is doing something that only He can do.

Q: Tell me a little bit of the backstory on that album. I understand it wasn’t recorded during one of your usual concerts.

A: We were getting prepared to do the recording. We were going to have about 2,500 people. But that’s when the pandemic broke out. That was the beginning of 2020. So, we canceled that and we went and decided to do it toward the end of the year. And we could only have 50 people at that time. I was like, “Lord, really? I’m going to do my first live record with no people?” So, that’s what we had to do.

Q: But it’s a different story for your forthcoming album — which also happens to be a concert outing.

A: “More Than This” is a real live record. We were able to have lots of people. They all are singing with us. And as powerful as “Believe for It” is, “More Than This” is just — oh, my goodness — incredible to me.

And it’s the people. They are singing. They are worshipping with me. All I can say is it’s a powerful experience for whoever listens to it.

Q: And you’re saying that fans will get to hear some of that new stuff during upcoming tour dates.

A: Yes. We have released three singles and you’ll hear at least two of them. They released “Holy Forever.” We released “That’s My King.” And recently they released “Come Jesus Come.” So, we are excited about these songs.

Q: If someone is going to listen to just one of those songs for the first time today, which one should it be?

A: Oh, my goodness.

Q: I know. It’s like asking you which one of your kids is your favorite.

A: Exactly. Oh, my goodness. I guess I would have to choose “Holy Forever.” They are all good. They are all powerful. But “Holy Forever” to me is one of the most powerful songs. Yeah, I would definitely say “Holy Forever.” It’s just about God’s holiness — His power, His presence. And everything you need is in His presence. This song, to me, just ushers you into His presence. So, yeah, “Holy Forever.”

Q: You’re like the most highly decorated gospel singer in history. Where do you keep all your awards? Do you have the most ridiculous mantel ever? I mean, if I was walking through your house, would I just be like tripping over Dove Awards?

A: (Big laughter) Probably, if I didn’t have them all in one place, you would. It’s a lot. Yeah, they are all kind of in one area. And sometimes I walk by and say, “Wow. All of this has happened.”

Q: Tell me about your women’s conference that you’re hosting in Nashville, Tennessee, May 10-11.

A: Generations Live Women’s Conference (generationsliveconference.com) is happening on Mother’s Day weekend. Oh, everybody needs to come. And if you can’t be in the room then you need to be online. I am very excited about that. It’s a platform, it’s an environment, where God is going to bless us and create — where His presence can dwell and women can come from all over and be refreshed and be renewed and be filled with the Holy Spirit and just worship God together.

Q: Anything else you want to say to your fans?

A: I just want to say thank you to everybody — thank you for their kindness, for their prayers.

I am honored to be a woman of God and honored to be able to worship Him and to lead people into worship.

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