Exclusive: CeCe Winans Talks About Her New Christmas Album and More!
12x Grammy Award-Winning Gospel Singer, CeCe Winans, has been committed to blessing the world in song for more than 3 decades. While she is the best-selling female Gospel artist of all-time, her passion for Christ and her reputation as “The Sweetheart of Gospel Music” only compliment the incredible gift we’ve all enjoyed for so long. Her catalog of music is like no other in Gospel music and has inspired millions of people around the world.
Her brand new holiday project “Something’s Happening: A Christmas Album” remains true to her legacy and her catalog as a unique and cohesive body of work. Produced by her son Alvin Love III, the album is Winans first solo Christmas album since 1998’s “His Gift”.
Gospel Guru’s Terrell Smith had the opportunity to briefly catch up with CeCe to talk about her new album and get a preview of where she’s headed next musically!
Just recently, you released “Something’s Happening: A Christmas Album”, which is the first holiday album you’ve released since 1998’s “His Gift”. What was it like collaborating with your son Alvin Love III on this new project and what do you think separates this holiday album from your previous one(s)?
CeCe Winans: Well, working with my son on this album was a lot of fun. It was exciting for me. We just won 2 Grammy’s earlier this year for “Let Them Fall in Love” which was completely his idea conceptually, so I was pretty proud of him and excited about that and what God allowed us to do with it. “Let Them Fall in Love” was the first time my son had produced a full album for me, so I gave him a really hard time with the last album. (Laughs). This time around, I trusted him a lot more and felt even more at peace and we just had a really good time. With this particular Christmas record, the main difference is we used a live orchestra from beginning to end, which I absolutely love. That alone makes me really excited about the project. Tim Akers, who conducted the live orchestra, is just absolutely amazing. So I’m very proud of this album. It really does put you in the Christmas spirit.
So having won 2 Grammy’s for your last album “Let Them Fall in Love”, which is a great accomplishment, how proud of your son were you as a Mom knowing that he produced the entire album and it was mainly his brainchild, to see the project go on to achieve so much success and high acclaim?
CeCe Winans: Oh, I was extremely proud of him. I still am. Very proud. I think this time around I had a lot more confidence in him. With the last album, as I said, I gave him a really hard time. Mainly because it was his first time doing an entire album for me. So after hearing the outcome of the last project, I was able to be more confident this time around. I was very convinced that I could really trust him with all of the details and the instruments and key parts to producing a record. So, when the time came to get in the studio I was a lot easier to manage than I was last time around. (Laughs) We had fun. The songs are fun. They’re very meaningful and they embody everything that Christmas is really about. The title of the album is “Something’s Happening” because when Jesus came, something amazing really did take place. He brought us everything that we need.
The new album consists of 5 brand new songs and 5 covers of classic Christmas songs. How did you go about selecting which songs you wanted to cover on this project, being that there’s so many great ones out there to choose from?
CeCe Winans: There’s so many traditional holiday songs that I love, so it was definitely a process. The original songs Alvin wrote are just amazing….they really are. He played them for me and I loved them, so it was a lot of fun doing the new songs. We basically just had to sit down and really commit to which songs we wanted on the project and how we wanted things to flow on the record. So yes, we have 5 brand new songs that my son wrote which are incredible and then I recorded 5 covers of songs most people already know and love. We did “O Come, O Come, Emanuel”. We did “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing!”….”Silent Night”. So it all came together great, which is a blessing.
You’ve always managed to do a great job at approaching the contemporary songs just as well as you do the more traditional/worship styled music. Your catalog is one of a very unique balance of Contemporary Gospel and Traditional Gospel which is usually rooted in Praise & Worship. Do you have an idea of what direction you want to go in musically for your next album at this time?
CeCe Winans: Honestly, I love all of the different styles of music. I really do, but at heart I’m just a worshipper, so more than likely that’ll be the direction of my next album. I love the sound Alvin and I have created and what the Lord has blessed us to be able to do musically. So I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure my next album will be a worship album. I’m ready to do another one. That’s how I’m feeling right now, but I have to continue to pray and see what the Lord has to say. I can’t give you definite answer. So we’ll see!
Lastly, What would you like for listeners to take away from “Something’s Happening” once they get a chance to listen?
CeCe Winans: First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who has loved and supported me all these years and for all of your prayers. I don’t take it for granted, nor do I take it lightly. I’d love for the world to be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas and that is Jesus. My prayer is that this project will remind people of that and that it puts them all in the holiday spirit. I recorded this album with that intention in mind and so I pray that it resonates with each and every listener. So yes, holiday season is here and “Something’s Happening” is out! I really hope the people enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it and that they’re blessed by it.
CeCe’s new album “Something’s Happening: A Christmas Album” is available everywhere now!
Editor: Terrell Smith