Between the Liner Notes
Vickie Winans: Spreading the Holiday Cheer
By Kimberly Ann Lilly
Surprisingly, gospel recording artist Vickie Winans has never released a Christmas album until now. But it’s true. Winans released her first ever Christmas album entitled, Happy Holidays from Vickie Winans, on October 2. The CD landed at No. 12 on Billboard charts the first week it was released, becoming the highest Billboard gospel sales album chart debut for a holiday CD in seven years. The first single, “Special Day,” is now being played on gospel and non-gospel radio stations, and a track entitled “Holiday Jam” is expected to be heard soon.
“It was a blessing to hear that [the album] is doing so well,” said Winans. “I am really excited about the release of this CD, because it is on my own record label after 22 years. After all the hard work and being able to be a blessing to another label, I now get to benefit from my own.”
Winans’ new holiday album is dedicated to her long time friend, Kayla Parker, who passed earlier this year after losing a 10-year battle with cancer. She and Parker were friends for 25 years, after attending the same church.
Parker, a songwriter, producer and backup singer for many music artists, including Winans, was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, but never spoke much publicly about her illness. “Kayla was a private person,” said Winans of her positive friend. “She was the most unique person I have ever met.”
Parker wrote the song “It’s Alright” on Winans’ album, Woman to Woman: Songs of Life, which quickly became a hit.
“She amazed me in the studio. Her musical talent was off the charts! I loved her voice and her ability to create write and sing phenomenal harmonies," shared Winans.
Happy Holidays from Vickie Winans includes 15 tracks ranging from fast to slow tempos. All in which Winans adds her own unique spin to, including Christmas classics such as “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
While Winans' rendition of “Joy to the World” has a smooth acoustic sound, “Silent Night" has a soulful groove. “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” which features the Winans family, still maintains its original upbeat tempo. However, the song no longer speaks of “figgy pudding,” but “banana pudding.”
“You have to be different; otherwise, you’ll die out of this business. You won't make it,” said Winans.
In a business where uniqueness is a must, Winans said she seeks God first and her family second to help her standout amongst other artist in the music industry.
“I ask God to keep me on my post, keeping me informed and on top of what people are interested in, and more importantly what people need to hear.”
She said it’s the young members of her family such as her sons, Marvin Winans, Jr., and Mario Winans, along with her nephew, that help keep her music “fresh.” It was her nephew who came up with the idea to use banana pudding instead of figgy pudding in “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
Winans is already in a spirit of giving. She’s not only giving her fans a new CD to purchase for the holiday, she’s also giving them a new DVD too. Recently, Winans released a two-hour-long fitness DVD entitled Laugh While You Lose. The DVD is a comedy that includes cardio workouts and more.
“People will be able to workout their abs and buns, and the video has a workout routine that features the dance known as 'the hustle'. It’s something people can have fun with,” shared Winans.
Being a lady who describes herself as some one who loves giving, it definitely doesn’t stop there. On September 14, Winans launched a singer and songwriter contest, giving fans a chance to win $10,000.
Fans were invited to write a one-minute song about love and either video tape themselves singing it or have someone else sing it for them.
The winner, Brandon Colar, was announced on October 29 and was given a $10,000 check directly from Winans, who surprised him while at work with the news.
Since the beginning of her career 20 years ago, Winans has been giving fans music that helps them celebrate Jesus, life and themselves. She has released 11 albums, including the new Christmas CD and has received many accolades including six Grammy award nominations, eight stellar awards, and an NAACP Image award. Being the head of Viviane, Inc., Winans serves as her own manager, booking the hundreds of shows that she appears on each year herself. She is the president of her own record label, Destiny Joy Records, an actress, and comedienne.
Happy Holiday from Vickie Winans is now available in stores everywhere.
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