Earnest Pugh’s “The W.I.N. Experience” debuts at top of gospel chart

Earnest Pugh. Photo provided.

Earnest Pugh. Photo provided.

Stellar Award nominated balladeer Earnest Pugh  has returned to the top of the music chart with his new, highly anticipated The W.I.N. (Worship In Nassau) Experience.  The CD debuts at No. 1 on next week’s Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart, and the radio single “More of You” climbs to #14 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart.

“It’s impossible to articulate in words what I am feeling right now,” says Pugh in a news release. “Though it’s my sixth CD release, my heart leaps with joy and appreciation today just as it did 15 years ago when I released my very first CD. I am blown away by the response, love, and support of the W.I.N. Project. I cannot take all the credit. I have been blessed with an amazing team of people to create and push this project. There are so many people to thank such as my personal staff, radio promoter Damon Stewart, TKO Marketing, Central South Distribution, plus, all of the great guest artists and singers. They all put their hands to the plow and we never looked back.”

Recorded live in Nassau, Bahamas, in the Grand Ballroom of the Atlantis Hotel, the album commemorates Pugh’s 20-15 Celebration -20 years in ministry and 15 years in the music industry. The full-length concert boasted cameos by gospel icon Shirley Caesar, Bishop Rance Allen, LeJuene Thompson and the energetic choir, Vincent Tharpe & Kenosis. The companion DVD video will soon hit retail shelves as well. For more information, visit www.earnestpugh.com.


Cancer survivor Tracy Randall understands “It Feels Good” to be alive

Tracy Randall

Tracy Randall

Lavish Records artist Tracy Randall isn’t supposed to be here. In 2006, he was diagnosed with acute blastic leukemia and after aggressive rounds of chemo and radiation therapy, his doctors gave up and in February 2007 told him to go home and prepare to die.

“The doctor told me to get my affairs in order because he didn’t know if I had 3 months or 6 months to live,” Randall  said in a news release. He left the office that cold, rainy afternoon and started walking.

“I began to pray and talk to God not about me but about my family and their survival because I’m the breadwinner,” as he walked past the 42nd Street subway where he usually caught the train and kept walking, talking. “By the time I got to 96th Street, this voice said, `You’re going to be okay.’”

Randall fought his illness back with his renewed faith and improved his diet. He also began an expensive medical therapy that isn’t covered by insurance.

“I don’t want people to think that I no longer have the illness,” Randall says. “I have pain and depression. There are times that I don’t sleep for days because I am afraid to sleep. However, my faith has grown tremendously. I am still growing, and I still get mad and ask God, ‘Why me?’ Yet, He touched my soul, and I am still here.”

It’s against this backdrop that Randall wrote his new radio single, “It Feels Good,” a bouncy track guaranteed to make the stiffest body move.

“I opened up my eyes and thanked God for a new day,” he sings on the up-tempo beat. “I’ve been blessed in so many ways if I wanted to write ’em down there wouldn’t be enough pages.”

The song is the latest single from Randall’s sophomore CD “Troubled Times” that features 14 tracks of what he calls rhythm & gospel.

“It’s gospel music,” Randall said. “But it has that urban R&B beat.”

He  just wrapped a new concept video on the track and has now incorporated pop radio with his inspiring tune “I Am All You Need” debuting at No. 36 on the Top 40 Main chart this week with almost a 50 percent increase in spins.

The Lake Charles, La., native grew up on a musical diet of Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder. After completing his undergraduate degree from LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Randall was signed to the Isley Brothers’ T-Neck/Island Records label. After Universal/Polygram took over the company in 1999, he left to start Lavish Records. He released his first gospel CD “Sinners Have Souls, too” in 2007 and has done a lot of behind the scenes work in the music industry.

Randall co-wrote four songs on Shaggy’s Grammy Award nominated “Summer in Kingston” CD that reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums chart in 2012.

Shekinah Glory Ministry hits Billboard’s Top Gospel chart with new CD “Surrender”

According to a recent news release, Chicago-based ensemble Shekinah Glory Ministry (SGM) continues to dominate and set the standard for urban praise and worship music. Their new and fifth CD, “Surrender” (Kingdom Records), has debuted at No. 8 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart. The whimsical, uplifting radio single, “Champion,” led by Danielle Nightingale Cargo’s warm soprano, is expected to debut on Nielsen BDS’ New & Active chart listing next week. In a short time span, this song has pulled in 600,000 weekly listeners in the U.S.

Kingdom Records is a leader in African-American praise and worship music with hits such as Shekinah Glory Ministry’s 2001 breakthrough smash, “Praise Is What I Do.” The million-selling SGM is not a choir. Instead, it’s a dynamic ensemble of psalmists, minstrels, and banner bearers who perform “under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.” Their Hebrew name means “the glorified presence of God.” Their CDs “Praise Is What I Do” (No. 5 peak Top Gospel Albums) and Shekinah Glory Ministry “Live” (No. 3 peak Top Gospel Albums – 103 weeks on the chart) were both certified gold in 2005 and 2008 respectively. They also have three gold or platinum DVDs to their credit and their 2010 CD, “Refreshed By Fire,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart. For more information, go to www.kingdomrecordsinc.com.