Hailed as the best selling Gospel female artist of all time and best known as the younger sibling of platinum selling duo, BeBe & CeCe Winans, CeCe Winans, an undisputed legend, has managed to snag on her own as a solo artist; 10 Grammy Awards, 20 Dove Awards, 7 Stellar Awards, and a slew of other accolades. And if you just happen to be in Los Angeles, CA around the Hollywood Walk of Fame you could very well be stepping over CeCe Winans’ star!
Now on her latest release “Let Them Fall In Love” Winans’ message remains the same that is God is truly faithful, but ironically, her new sound is vintage, with a retro, throwback feel. And by the overwhelmingly positive response from her absence, it’s clear that “old” is taking on a whole new meaning!
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?? AND WHY WERE YOU AWAY SO LONG?
(LOL) Well I didn’t mean for that much time to go by honestly. It just kind of happened. But, Bebe and I released our last CD “STILL” about 5 years ago and my husband and I started a church called Nashville Life, which took all of my focus! I was still doing dates here and there, but I just hadn’t had time to focus on new music. And when I finally got time, they told me it had almost been ten years. I was like you have to be kidding me?!? It wasn’t my plan to be away that long, but I had another call.
SINCE YOU HAD BEEN AWAY FOR SO LONG, WERE YOU NERVOUS AT ALL ABOUT RETURNING TO MUSIC?
(more laughing) No, I wasn’t nervous. I mean you still want people to love what you do and be blessed by it, but I wouldn’t say I was nervous. And I definitely hoped they understood where I am now. At this stage in my life, you have to know who you are and what you’re called to do. And even when it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, it’s ok. I’ve been through enough at this point in my life that I really don’t get nervous about doing what I’ve been called to do. I think that has everything to do with me being 52 now too. When I started out I was 17. That’s how long I’ve been doing this. BUT you still approach every project like it’s your first one. You can’t sit back and say, “Oh they liked it last time, so they’ll like it again.” That’s not a guarantee. People change. You change. The generation changes. And the music industry definitely changes. That’s why it’s so important to be who you are and stay true to what God called you to do. So if they don’t like it, you still did what God wanted you to do. And so you can be pleased with it. Everything else is just the icing on the cake!
ARE YOU HAVING AN ICING ON THE CAKE MOMENT RIGHT NOW WITH YOUR NEW ALBUM “LET THEM FALL IN LOVE?”
We are. I say we because it’s a team effort. We’re still hoping for sales to increase and again the industry has changed a lot, but we’re happy. And social media is huge now, so that is something new added to the equation. But I’m getting better reviews than I’ve ever gotten before on a project. I’ve seen people embrace it and they are getting it. It’s exciting. It’s affecting all the generations. I was just talking to someone and they were telling me how much their 16 year old son loves the project. I just started crying because it is truly amazing. I can’t take credit though because my son came to me 6 years ago with this whole vision for the record. He said mom just trust me. I’m thinking why would I trust you when you’ve never produced a whole record before! (lol) He said what you think is out of style is back in style now! You’re still going to have the same bold lyrics, but it’s going to be something fresh and new, with a retro feel. He had a complete vision and when I finally got it, I was all in. But I was driving him crazy at first.
HAS IT BEEN AN ADJUSTMENT GETTING BACK OUT ON THE ROAD AND TOURING?
It has been years since I’ve been out on tour and I knew it would be a challenge because things always change in this industry, but we’ve literally had the best time. People have really embraced the new music. Of course we do some of the old material, but the majority of the show is new music. To lookout and see the audience singing songs from the new album is awesome! I go back to what you asked me earlier about getting nervous. It’s not a nervousness, but more of an excitement…like Lord what are You going to do this time?! That’s why serving Him never gets old. He always has something different for you. And different can look completely opposite of what you thought it was going to look like. For example, starting a church was not in my plan. But my plan is simply for God to be glorified. So if it’s God plan, then that’s what I’m going to do.
SINCE YOU’D BEEN AWAY FOR SO LONG, DID YOU HAVE TO DUST THE PIPES OFF OR DID YOU JUST FALL RIGHT BACK IN?
Remember my son came to me with this idea 6 years ago, so i’ve been listening to some of these songs as he working on them. But still the hardest thing for me was I really realized how out of shape I was. I had to start working out again, watching what I ate and drank, and build my vocal chords back up. But this was the first time I had sat with most of the songs for my album for such a long time, so they were settled in me. I had lived with them for a really long time, so that made it easier. But my son worked me…HARD! There were a few times when I didn’t even want to see Alvin. But he had such a vision and knew exactly what he wanted. Some nights I would just come home and weep after our sessions because I could just feel God moving and what he was doing through my son was incredible. I could say nothing but Lord you’re faithful! I was more excited for him than myself. That’s been my prayer for both my children that they fall in love with God the way I have. And that they will use all their gifts and talents for Him. It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed every minute of it because it stretched me. You want to always have something new and it should push you beyond your comfort zone.
DOES CECE WINANS HAVE BAD DAYS? AND IF SO WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE AND HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THEM?
The media has a way of making your life look like it’s perfect. They only see a photograph of you after you’ve been in makeup and hair for hours or they see you on an award show, but that’s only a small part. They only see that you’ve been married almost 33 years, but they aren’t there during the rough days. As a public figure you probably have more rough days, than good, because the enemy targets you and the ones you love. So I don’t want to say I have bad days, but I do have bad moments. I understand I’m in a fight. I understand I have to fight with the weapons God has given me. I have to walk out what I teach. So bad moments come, but that’s when I cry out to God. I confess life over my life, even when it looks like death. And that’s what I do with my children. Because they have their dumb days too. (lol) I speak life over them. The seed of the righteous will be delivered. So yes I have bad moments, but not bad days because I refuse to give the devil that much. You know when I lost my brother Ronald that was extremely hard. It still hurts. I remember my sister Debbie asking me, “CeCe how are we going to make it?” And I said, “I don’t know, but God knows.” And He brought us through one day at a time. He’s faithful. I get through with prayer, praise, and confession. The bible says worship will lift the spirit of heaviness. Especially now that I’m pastoring this millennial generation, a lot of times they aren’t happy to hear that. I think sometimes they want a more difficult answer, but praise really does work. You don’t have to live in depression. You don’t have to allow your circumstances to dictate your praise. If you praise God according to His greatness, then He’ll come through for you!