Platinum selling artist and ‘darling’ of the music industry, CeCe Winans, is back and better than ever with a brand new, breakthrough album entitled, Let Them Fall In Love. The 10 tailor made songs add up to a perfect ’10’ in terms of its musicality and message. CeCe reinvents herself, over the course of this album, both as an artist and emissary of the Gospel, as she sings each song with ease and excellence. The result is an album that will certainly reintroduce CeCe to a new generation of Gospel fans.
It’s hard to believe that CeCe’s career dates back nearly 30 years, beginning as part of Gospel music’s iconic duo, BeBe & CeCe Winans. It’s been a remarkable journey that’s included credits as songwriter, actress, talk show host and motivational speaker. In recent years, Mrs Winans has added ‘First Lady’ to her title, establishing a church with her husband, Alvin Love. Fortunately for her music fans, CeCe was able to set time aside enough time to return to the studio and spawn another album for the ages. BlackGospel.com spoke with one of the most respected figures in Gospel music about the new album, who CeCe enjoys listening to these days and if there’s any plans for another BeBe & CeCe Winans release.
Christopher Heron: Cece, let’s begin with the question that begs for an answer. Why did you go on a 9-year hiatus as a solo artist?
Cece Winans: I never meant for this much time to go by. I wish it was a plan where I said, ‘’I’m just going to take time off.’’ It’s almost 10 years. My brother and I released a project about 5 years ago and my husband and I started a church here in Nashville, Tennessee called the Nashville Home. My focus was really on the church, making disciples, and doing all that fun stuff. About a year ago, I was able to carve out some time for this project. We finally got it finished and here we are, 9 years later.
Christopher Heron: As far as this album is concerned, it sounds like a bit of a departure in style, it’s more musically ambitious. Does this album still capture who Cece Winans is or would you say you’re evolving as an artist?
The 10-time GRAMMY and 20-time Dove Award-winner CeCe Winans channels everything on "Let Them Fall In Love" from the golden era of girl groups to big band horns, contemporary R&B, beautiful ballads and a few trips to a tambourine-raising church. ~CCM Magazine Review
Cece Winans: I think I’m evolving. I think it captures who I am but I wanted to do something different, I wanted to explore, and I think we accomplished that too. I wanted to create something that those who have followed me for years would love but also do something new that would gain new listeners as well.
Christopher Heron: I love your vocal collaborations with The Clark Sisters on Hey Devil and Dancing in the Spirit with Bishop Hezekiah Walker & LFCC. Why did you showcase these friends of yours?
Cece Winans: Well, I think the songs dictated it. When we were working on Hey Devil, my son said, ‘’Mom, it would be great to have The Clark Sisters on this song.’’ And I was like, ‘’Let’s call them.’’ So we did. Oh my God, we had so much fun. They did it like nobody can. They’ve been my friends and sisters for years. Karen Clark Sheard and I went to the same high school. So we go back. They’ve never changed, and nobody can sing like them. I mean, forget about it. As for Dancing in The Spirit, Hezekiah Walkers’ choir is one of the best. We knew they would give us the sound we needed. We called him up and he was like, ‘’Sure.’’ We went to New York and did that song in the studio there. I’m just grateful that they, being who they are, as incredible and as busy as they are, were willing to be a part of this. I’m so grateful.
Christopher Heron: I had a conversation recently with Kirk Franklin and he mentioned that there’s always a degree of insecurity as an artist, as to whether the public will embrace new music, even after all the trophies and billboard chart topping albums, would you agree with that?
Cece Winans: I wasn’t nervous on the release date of Let Them Fall In Love and I think that says a lot of things. As an artist, you release many times over the years. I’ve lived with this record for a long time before its release. So when I’m in the studio I’m not going in nervous. I’m going in trying to stay true to myself, trying to do what God wants me to do. I’m always praying for His personal will to be done. You have that feeling of release and appreciation and humility when people say, ‘’Oh, I really like it.’’ I am so overwhelmed by the responses that I’ve already heard. It hits me when I hear the feedback. It feels like your first one because each one is like your baby. We want something that is going to touch people’s hearts. We want to take Gospel to another level. And now to hear people saying those words back to you is like, ‘’Oh, this is amazing.’’
Christopher Heron: Will there be another BeBe & CeCe Winans album?
Cece Winans: Not right now. We don’t have anything planned. I told somebody, ‘’You don’t understand how insane it is to say, ‘’Oh my God, I actually finished this project.’’’ This is a miracle that we’re looking at right now. I would never say never. BeBe is my brother, I love him, we have a chemistry together that is just amazing, but nothing is in the making, at this point.
Christopher Heron: So many people, particularly women, just marvel at how beautiful and well-preserved you are. Any beauty tips you could share?
Cece Winans: Well, I think beauty comes from within. I really do. I do laugh a lot. Even through rough times you’ve got to learn how to laugh. You have to find the joy. I really enjoy life, and I appreciate all that God has done. I would say that my relationship with God refreshes me every day. We all go through challenges but Jesus proves himself to be a wonderful Lord and Savior. So my faith is number one. You have to have your priorities straight.
And so because I make sure that my priorities are intact then everything I do comes out of that, it’s the overflow of that. My joy does not depend on this project. You’ve got to know how to have joy, even if your album never hits the charts. You have to know who you are. I think that’s beauty, when you know who you are and you’re satisfied with who you are. I’m always trying to lose weight and all that stuff. I have that challenge like every other woman that wants to be the best that they can be but you’ve got to have balance, and you have to understand what’s the most important thing.
And then other than that, washing your face and putting Vaseline on it. Nothing fancy. My mom to this day washes her face with Vaseline on it. It’s like, ‘’Wow, mom. If I can have a skin like yours when I get to your age, I would be doing good.’’ Just keep the things simple. I think women are so hard on themselves. We have to learn to really appreciate who God has made us to be, complement one another and laugh.
Christopher Heron: And what was your favorite gospel album of 2016?
Cece Winans: I have fallen in love with Travis Greene and the song, You Made A Way and Intentional, oh my goodness! I got a chance to experience him live. He is amazing. I was so blessed. I get excited to see younger people, and I just pray that God will just bless him. That would be the one.
Christopher Heron: Let’s close with this final question. What are you saying in your title when you say Let Them Fall In Love?
Cece Winans: I knew I wanted this to be the title of the CD before we were done writing and producing the album. Since I had been away a long time, I wanted the CD to be impactful. It’s my prayer for the CD. I found the secret to life and it’s falling in love with Jesus. So my prayer is that when people hear this record, their hearts will be turned towards Him, fall in love with His Word and His precepts. You asked me about the beauty secret…salvation is beautiful, loving people, loving God, forgiving people, forgiving yourself, that’s what happens when you fall in love. So I want them to fall in love with Him.
For more info on CeCe Winans and the new album, Let Them Fall In Love, visit her official website at www.cecewinans.com.