After two decades of performing as a backup singer for Mariah Carey, James Ingram and the Isley Brothers, Elaine Norwood is standing in the spotlight. After years of paying her dues, Norwood has her first bona fide national hit.
The dramatic ballad “He’s Still Working on Me” is #19 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart and building momentum.
“A lot of people think that when you get saved that you are perfect and that you have no more trials,” Norwood said in news release. “They make idols out of ordinary people, but this let’s people know that in spite of what they used to be or what they used to do, God is still working on us. We’re striving towards perfection. When you make a mistake, don’t throw in the towel because God forgives. We will be perfected when He comes back.”
On her forthcoming fourth CD Released (Highly Favored Music), Norwood shows all the dimensions to her dynamic personality. Her father, Rev. Charles Norwood, joins her on their remake of Rev. James Cleveland‘s 1976 smash, “God Has Smiled on Me.” The polished but passionate album vacillates from traditional ballads such as “Soon I Will Be Done” and a sanctified rendition of Alicia Key’s “Ain’t Got You” to churchy romps like “I’ll Say Yes!” and funky, up-tempo tracks like “Never Let a Day Go By.” Producing duties fell to ’70s funkster Leon Haywood (of “Don’t Push It, Don’t Force It” R&B fame) and gospel producer Sanchez Harley (Shirley Caesar, Mighty Clouds of Joy).
“These songs really affirm my heart,” Norwood said. “I’ve been a praise-and-worship leader since 1996. The other albums didn’t capture that side of me totally. In the studio, you are locked into the track, and when it ends, you are done but God might not be! We can sing a tag in church for ten minutes but to do that on a CD, the record label is going to say that radio needs no more than four or five minutes of the song. They aren’t going to play a ten-minute song. But, on this project, I was allowed to go longer, so I truly feel that with these songs I’ve been released.”
For more information on Norwood’s project (to be released on June 8, 2010), visit www.elainenorwood.com.