Everything I Could Ever Tell You About…
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NAME: Yolanda Adams | AGE: 45 | HOMETOWN: Houston | QUALIFICATIONS: Four-time Grammy Award winner / Has recorded twelve albums and is often hailed as the “first lady of modern gospel” / Host of the Yolanda Adams Morning Show With Brother Larry Jones on Houston’s gospel station Praise 92.1 FM
• The message of gospel music can be summed up in one word: “hope.” Hope for a better future, hope that your prayers are answered, hope that your hurdles are temporary—there are endless definitions for the hope that gospel brings.
• My songs come from the heart. I look at the issues that face my family, at the issues that face society, at the issues that face young women, and I think, “If it’s affecting me, then with 6.6 billion people in the world, it’s affecting somebody else.” You have to make music that’s relevant.
• My first memory of singing a solo? I was four years old, singing “Jesus Loves Me” in the choir.
• Growing up, we were allowed to listen to every type of music. There weren’t restrictions. I often say that God was cool in our house: The same God that went to church with us was the same God that went to the grocery store and the skating rink with us. So we listened to everything. My influences span the globe, from Bach to bluegrass.
• Choosing to pursue gospel—well, for me it was like breathing. My heart was in it. Having a passion for the music, and knowing that it can heal people’s hurts, it was automatic for me.
• I never record any songs that I don’t just absolutely love. I don’t have that kind of time.
• Vocal training is helpful. Back when I started singing, as a choir there were certain things we had to practice. We had to enunciate; we were put on the spot if we didn’t. I know it sounds trivial, but the truth is that when you practice wrong, you perform wrong.
• A lot of people want to sing like Fantasia, but Fantasia has been singing like Fantasia all her life. You’ve got to learn technique, find a comfort zone, and develop your own style. Someone who is good at that is Macy Gray. She’s found her niche and hasn’t conformed to what others think she should sound like. Tina Turner, same thing.
• What keeps my own passion alive is the day-to-day walk with God. You can’t sing gospel without it.
• I have always wanted gospel to have the “unboxable” title. Because it can go anywhere. I’ve been so fortunate to have a following in the R&B, jazz, and hip-hop genres. Santana listens to my music, Quincy Jones listens to it, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg.
• The climate of the world right now calls for gospel music. We will always need truth, we will always need revelation, and we will always need a word from God. That’s what gospel music is: It’s a word from God in song.