Once in a while, an artist comes along with such wide appeal that they are embraced with open arms by fans of multiple musical genres, and with that mass appeal comes an incredible opportunity. Vicki Yohe is such an artist – one embraced by the black gospel community as well as the CCM community – and she feels that God has a reason behind this that’s much bigger than musical enjoyment.
“I believe that God is in the process of tearing down walls between the 'black church' and the 'white church',” says Vicki. “There is one church – the church of Jesus Christ. That’s the church I belong to and I’m encouraged as I travel and minister, as I’m witnessing this change in philosophy more and more. Faith is not a color, and the Lord loves all of His children the same.”
The last several years have been an incredible journey for the acclaimed Praise & Worship artist. Her ministry has taken her all around the world, singing, leading worship and doing missions work far away from her home in Franklin, TN, including trips to Africa, Europe, and Asia. Through Vicki Yohe Ministries, she is in the planning stages of an orphanage in Uganda that is slated to open by summer 2006. There is a new addition to her household, baby son Walker Winston Hodges. There is a spot on the “One Church Tour” with gospel greats Kurt Carr, Smokie Norful and RiZen in the fall. And there is a new, highly anticipated album, He’s Been Faithful on PureSprings Gospel label, owned by Christian music superstar CeCe Winans.
Vicki’s rise to national recognition has been rapid. Her rendition of Martha Munizzi’s praise ballad “Because of Who You Are” (from Yohe’s Top Ten gospel CD I Just Want You) became a massive gospel radio smash in 2004 and earned the diminutive blond with the big voice her first Dove Award nomination and the designation of “overnight sensation” in the gospel market. Many in the CCM market had already discovered her via her signature Christian radio hit “The Mercy Seat,” which was an integral part of the spiritual phenomenon known as the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Florida. The song was sung every night during the altar call over the course of the four-year revival that was covered by CNN and led to over four million people dedicating their lives to the Lord. Sales of the sound track for the song have surpassed 60,000 units – making it one of the Top Ten best-selling Christian accompaniment tapes of all time.
On He's Been Faithful, Vicki teams up with legendary producer Sanchez Harley (Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, RiZen, Aretha Franklin), acclaimed songwriter/producer Geron Davis (songwriter of “Holy Ground,” recorded by Barbara Streisand) and newcomer Ay'Ron Lewis (RiZen) to create an album that appeals to lovers of black gospel and contemporary Christian music alike.
The first radio singles off of the album—gospel’s “Deliverance Is Available To You,” and the dual-release AC and INSPO singles “I Simply Love You” and “I'll Run to You”—are currently going for adds on stations nationwide.
“This new album has taken my music to a whole new place musically and spiritually, and I love every song,” says Vicki. “It’s very close to my heart in lots of ways, because it really reflects where I am right now in my ministry and in my daily walk with the Lord.”
Vicki’s daily walk is an exciting and happy one these days. She and her husband, Troy Hodges, had prayed for a child during their nine years of marriage. This past year God answered their prayers, but not in the way they had expected.
“We had faith that God would give us a baby, although we had never really considered adoption,” Vicki recalls. But in March of 2005, her good friend Darlene Bishop, who founded Darlene Bishop Home for Life in Monroe, Ohio, called Vicki and said that they were looking for a Christian couple to adopt a biracial baby that was soon to be born to one of the girls at the home. Vicki felt in her heart that this was her child.
“It’s a miracle that this baby was born at all,” says Vicki. “Many people around the young girl wanted her to consider abortion. But the young birth-mother, who was just a freshman in high school, didn’t want to do that and stood firm on her decision.” Vicki and Troy had the privilege of being in the delivery room with her as their son, Walker Winston Hodges, was born. “I got to cut the cord,” Yohe remembers. “And when Walker came out, this young girl said to me, `Vicki, hold your baby.’ I was the first one to hold him.”
“When the Lord blessed us with Walker, it was around the same time that we were deciding what to name the new CD project,” she says. “ I thought about everything that was going on in my life and my career. The Lord really has been faithful to me. I’ve been singing Brooklyn Tabernacle’s song ‘He’s Been Faithful’ for years and had decided to put that on the CD, so that made the perfect title.”
God’s faithfulness is not just a recent occurrence in Vicki’s life. She was born the daughter of a preacher and a housewife, and though very strict, the Yohe home jumped with music and worship. In this atmosphere where her earliest musical influences were Tramaine Hawkins and Aretha Franklin, Vicki wrote and sang her first song at the age of five. She became a choir director after attending Jackson College of Ministries, and released her first CD after her family surprised her with funding for the project.
With all of the changes in her life over the past several years, the Lord has continually brought Vicki back to the realization that “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” I’m just so blessed by all that God has done and is continuing to do in my life, my family and my ministry,” says Vicki. “I can truly testify that He’s been faithful.”
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