Giving You the Gospel

Smokie Norful Dishes On New Album

Smokie Norful is back with a message to the world … that he’s Forever Yours! This is his latest project — a musical composition of all styles and sentiments on his record label, Tre’Myles Music and distributed by Motown Gospel. The collection is scheduled for digital download on August 5.

The Grammy Award-winning artist is one of America’s most beloved voices, with several Billboard hits including “God Is Able,” “Still Say Thank You,” “Justified” and mega crossovers “I Need You Now” and “I Understand.”

The Arkansas native considers himself a “church kid” that loves God and His people. For the past eight years, he has pastored Victory Cathedral Worship Center, which has two locations and over 4,000 members. The senior pastor talks about Forever Yours — the ultimate love letter to God. Although Norful was on vocal rest, he briefly chatted with me on why he feels this CD is his best yet.

“The music is second to none,” he continued, “The lyrical content is rich and pure. The musicality of the project is definitely world class.”

JET: What inspired the title project, Forever Yours?

Smokie Norful: Actually, the song itself came organically. It was a God moment. I heard the track, pulled my stuff out and needed to write to it. It wasn’t contrived or any situation that happened. It’s just the direction that God led me. The song and the words are my heart and it fit me. For five years I haven’t put out a CD — and a studio CD longer than that. People have wondered, where is he and what is he doing? I know what I’ve been doing. I’ve been keeping ministry and family afloat. This is a wake-up call to the rest of the world that musically this is my assignment. It’s a divinely given gift.  So I will be forever yours and you will forever get this gift as God gives me grace to do it. God knows He has me forever.

JET: Tell us about your current single?

SN: “Greater Love” has a story behind it. It was being written for Cece Winans. Aaron Lindsey who works for the record label, we were in the studio one day and he said I got this song. I am a huge Cece Winans fan! I absolutely love her and that’s my sister, but that’s a Smokie Norful song. I told him he had to write Cece another song. He and I finished writing and the rest is history.

JET: Do you always feel pressured to get another hit song?

SN: No, I’m definitely beyond that point. Everything that I have aspired to do as an artist, I’ve done it: Selling a million CDs, winning a Grammy, a Stellar, singing at the Doves, White House, Essence Festival and the BET Awards. I’m really at a great place in my career where I’m able to be genuine in my creativity, the music and the ministry in the music. As a younger artist, there was some level of conformity that was going on. You had to figure out what was going on and you had to prove yourself. I’ve proven it.

JET: What do know now that you wished you knew when you first started?

SN: I wish I knew what the main things were back then. I thought fame, celebrity, the trappings, the financial gains, the lights, camera, action—the studio appearances, was it. Living off the road and living out of a bag. I thought that was it. But having gotten this and taking a survey of life and what matters: family, church, ministry, the ministry in the music. The most valuable things I’ve learned. Now I know what the right things are. My song “Once in a Lifetime:” ….as a little boy I used to dream of the big stage—couldn’t wait to see my name in lights. I searched all over…suddenly I found, the only thing that counts…

JET: What words of encouragement do have for people?

SN: There’s a song on the CD called “Imperfect Me.” “I’m a bird with one wing, a song with no melody, yet you still look inside of me and see the good in me. What do you see inside of me? I say I’m lost — you say I’m free. I’m so glad that you see the good in an imperfect me.” Nothing is impossible, if you just believe that God is able to do it. I’m a testimony that God is able. I don’t want anyone to leave my music or my ministry without receiving hope, healing and empowerment. I think this album has that for people at all different points and seasons in their lives.

My prayer is that the world will get to hear it and experience it with me … to take the journey with me. I hope it accomplishes meeting people at the point of their need.”