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CeCe Winans Breaks Her Silence

After nine years, CeCe Winans breaks her silence with a new album.

Written By:  Sarah Carter

Photographers:  Supplied

Photo by Jeremy Cowart

When CeCe Winans, winner of nine Grammy Awards, tells you to “buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the ride,” you do it. This is exactly the message Winans sends to longtime fans with her new album, Let Them Fall in Love. The album, which takes Winans’ gospel R&B sound in a classic direction and is out this month on the singer’s own Pure Springs Gospel label, is a long-anticipated break from the singer’s nine-year silence—which was a message in and of itself.

On first considering the project, Winans says, “I told God it really had to count.” The best-selling female gospel singer of all time, Winans shifted her focus five years ago from her music to building a place where the message of her music can be shared weekly. She has helped grow Nashville Life Church—which she pastors with her husband—from a handful of college students meeting in their living room to a thriving congregation. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, pausing her own career to invest in the lives of others is more than devotion—it’s pure love.

That love, reflected in the record’s title and in its February release date, might lead some to think of it as an album of romantic love songs, but it’s not. Winans’ hope is that these tracks make listeners fall in love with God, she says. Through tracks like “Never Have to Be Alone” and “He’s Never Failed Me Yet,” the singer points to what she feels is a way toward peace in today’s turbulent climate: renewed personal belief.

“In this time, it is urgent that we find faith as a country,” she stresses.

One of the things that gives the record life in both sacred and secular circles is that it’s really, really good. Tracks like “Hey, Devil,” featuring gospel mavens The Clark Sisters, are more Staples Singers and Sharon Jones than they are Shirley Caesar. As for the person responsible for this vintage groove, Winans thanks her son, Alvin III, and producer Tommy Sims. Alvin III’s stylistic vision is still “tied to the old landmark” of Winan’s signature sound, she says, and it adds a modern feel, while also nodding to vintage gospel music.

Though Winans is no stranger to working with family members—she and her brother, BeBe, have won three Grammys together—working with her son gave new dimension to their relationship.

“I’m more excited for him,” she says of their collaboration. “It was rewarding to me as a mom.”

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