Cece Winans is Back With a New Album and Sound
Gospel legend Cece Winans is known for her contemporary take on the genre, but the award winning singer is back with a new album and a new retro sound. After an almost decade-long hiatus from recording, Winans hopes her vibrant, soul-stirring ten-track solo album titled, Let Them Fall In Love, will connect her to a whole new audience.
Recently, JET spoke with the gospel artist about her new project, her musical collaboration with her son, and why she waited so long to do another project.
JET: Congratulations on your new album! We are so excited to hear new music from you! What can we expect?
CeCe Winans: You can expect a pleasant surprise! I think it’s a really really good project. It’s fun, it’s exciting. It’s bold, relevant and full of passion. I think it’s a really good piece of work! We’ve taken time to really think it out. It was a great vision my son gave me!
JET: That sounds great. We’re used to seeing you team up with BeBe Winans on an album, but, this seems to be the first time that we have heard of you collaborating with one of your children.
CW: Yes! My son, who is now 32-years-old, came to me with the vision about four years ago. It sounded like it was going to be so different from anything that I’ve ever done before, so my first reply was, “Absolutely not!” But, he told me, “Mom, trust me. I know your voice…and a lot of what you think is out of style is actually back in style.” He kept encouraging me to trust him, and when I heard what he was writing and playing, his ideas blew me away.
I took a lot of chances on this album, but it’s really good. This project is something that I believe any of the previous fans or supporters that I have had before will enjoy. I believe I will be able to recapture them with this album. But, I believe this particular record will also win a lot of people who have never heard of who I am. The music is amazing! We did all live music, and it has a lot of different flavors, including a little country, but it’s all still very much gospel. I think everyone is really going to like it.
JET: This is your first release in 9 years. You have taken breaks in-between your albums before, but this seems like a much longer break. Why the wait?
CW: First, I’ll just say that I didn’t realize all that time went by! I was like, what?! It’s been 9 years?! But, the reason it was so hard to realize is because it wasn’t like I wasn’t doing music at all. I was still traveling, doing concerts, tours and going overseas. I wasn’t in the studio, but I was still around music. During that time period, I was trying to get back in the studio, but then BeBe and I released our latest CD together. Then, about 5 years ago, my husband and I started a church called Nashville Life in Nashville, Tennessee. It wasn’t on our radar, but God birthed out an incredible body of believers in our home. We ended up pastoring about 250 people, mostly millennials who were on fire for God. So, I was just focused on making disciples. That of course, took up a lot of our time. Plus, I’ve never been one of those people who wanted to do a record because it was time to do a record. My son Alvin shared the vision for this record with me about four years ago, but it just wasn’t time. Releasing the album now works. We have the church in a place where it has it’s own rhythm and we have more people helping us, and God is just blessing it all!
JET: The content in your songs is always piercing and life changing. What can you share with us about the theme of this project?
CW: Thank you! I’m blessed to hear you say that about the music being life changing; that’s always very important to me. I’ve always been so sincere and never wavered in asking the Holy Spirit to lead us. I’m always asking the Holy Spirit, “What do you want me to say?” “What do your people need to hear?” It’s not about entertainment for me. Of course you want people to enjoy it, because that’s really how they’re going to embrace it. But, I want it to say something. I want it to be full of substance and I want it to bring forth transformation.
The title of the record is Let Them Fall In Love with you… and that’s my prayer. I think this record will remind those who already know God of the power we possess, and my prayer for this record for those who don’t know him is that their hearts will be turned towards Him.
— CeCe Winans (@cecewinans) February 3, 2017
JET: Were you the main writer on this album or did you have a lot of collaborations?
CW: Actually, my son wrote the majority of the music on this album. He produced it, did a lot of the writing, and was the visionary behind it all. I did very little writing on it this time around. But, it was amazing to see how God downloaded so much in him that it was honestly as if I wrote every song! Of course, he knows me pretty well so that helps him out! But, he also knows my standards. He knows I’m bold about my faith and that I make no apologies about loving Jesus and knowing that He loves me, and he also knows what I’m anointed to do. So, when he would bring songs and I would listen to what he was writing and playing, I was constantly blown away.
I was so blessed because as a mother, you pray for your children. You pray that they will fall in love with Jesus and that they will get it. Through writing these songs, I don’t think he knows how many times I just worshipped the Lord and said, he’s got it! He understands! So, this whole project has really been a blessing to me because I’ve seen the faithfulness in every generation. Because, you can grow up in church and you can grow up with parents who love God, but you have to have your own experience. You have to have your own encounter, and it showed me that he had one. The lyrics are extremely powerful!
JET: Whether writing solo or in a collaboration, you own the songs that you sing. How do you make that happen?
CW: I think I made a mistake only one time before where I recorded a song that did not really touch me. It has to be something that ministers to my heart because I’m a firm believer that what comes from the heart reaches the heart. It’s so important.
JET: Your album is coming out during a time when our political and spiritual climate is in transition. Now that you pastor millennials you know more than anyone what they will be up against in the future. What advice do you have for today’s generation?
CW: We have a lot going on, and it’s time to pray. It’s time for the church to be the church. Our agenda has got to be the Kingdom of God’s agenda before any other agenda. If the church doesn’t understand we need to rise up now, I don’t know what it’s going take. Jesus is the answer. There are so many things happening all around the world, but what we have to remember is that Jesus is the answer for everything. If we try to use our own strength, and our own logic and ideas alone to solve the problem, then we’re never going to get anywhere.
The Gospel is what we need. We need to preach it louder, but not only preach it, we need to live it out. We need to be light of the world. The Bible says to let your light shine so that men will see our good works in heaven. And He said, they will know who you are by our love. It’s the same answer as long ago; we need Jesus. That’s my answer to everything that’s going on.
JET: You are a living Gospel legend. Do you have any advice for new up and coming young artists?
CW: With our church being in Nashville, Tennessee, we have a lot of young incredibly talented musicians who have a lot of aspirations of things they want to do and I think it’s great! My question to them is always, how is your relationship with Jesus?
A lot of times, they’re running for the spotlight and their lives can’t hold up under the spotlight. If you’re not on the rock, with your feet planted by the rivers of water, and if you’re not standing then success can kill you. I get excited about the next generation. I’m always encouraging them to be all that God has created them to be. The sky is the limit! They can reach anything they put their minds to. This generation is so intelligent and has been given so much wisdom. If we use it for the good and we can change the world! Set your standards high and dream. If you can believe it, you can receive it. I’m also excited to see the young people who are coming up in gospel music right now.
Cece Winans new album, Let Them Fall in Love, is out now. Find out more on her website, CeceWinans.com