Per a recent news release, Grammy Award nominated singer-songwriter, Cheryl Fortune, has landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Gospel Recurrent chart with the song, “Fighters.” After 31 weeks on the Billboard Gospel Airplay chart, the song took the top spot on the Recurrent chart with a whopping 725 detections. In other news, the HGAG Music Video and Film Festival selected “Fighters” as best music video of the year during a screening at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs on the campus of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas.
“Fighters” is the first radio single from Fortune’s stunning debut album, Simply Cheryl (LuDawn Music/Tyscot), which debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard Gospel Albums sales chart in October. The versatile singer will release new radio singles from the urban inspirational album in January.
Soul Train Award nominated and Stellar Gospel Music Award winning recording artist Charles Jenkins’ “Holiday Praise” yuletide musical program will air at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, Dec. 25 and a repeat broadcast at 9 a.m. on Bounce TV. Check your local TV listings for this program.
The hour-long holiday celebration was filmed at the historic Fellowship Chicago church, featuring an all-star musical lineup. The exhilarating concert features performances by Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell singing “Come Let Us Adore Him” and Grammy Award nominated singer Brian Courtney Wilson reinventing Donny Hathaway’s classic “This Christmas.” Deitrick Haddon delivers a passionate take on Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song.” Jonathan McReynolds does a resplendent acoustic cover of “Mary Don’t You Weep” while gospel legend Dorinda Clark Cole sings “Away in a Manger” to a circle of children. The show also features appearances by Tasha Page Lockhart, Isaac Carree, Donishia Ballard, and Dexter Walker & Zion Movement.
Jenkins, who is the pastor of the 8,000-member Fellowship Chicago, initially appeared on the national stage when the world-renowned song “Awesome” topped Billboard Magazine’s Hot Gospel Songs chart for 22 weeks in 2012. The unforgettable “War” spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Gospel Airplay chart and was cited by the magazine as the most played gospel song of 2015. Jenkins currently has a Top 10 hit with “Winning,” and his tune “Christmas Music” just made its Hot Gospel Songs chart debut at No. 21.
The Rance Allen Group will release its 25th album and third live project “Live From San Francisco Bay” (Tyscot Records) on October 28. The group pioneered the fusion of R&B-styled rhythms with spiritual and message music themes in the 1970s. It’s a winning style that has won them fans as varied as American Idol’s Randy Jackson and ’80s rockers Huey Lewis & the News. The 11-song set “Live from San Francisco Bay” was recorded live at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium.
“The theme really is to be encouraged in a very kind of depressed time,” says Rance Allen, who sees parallels between today’s social climate and that of when his group was formed during the Civil Rights and Vietnam eras. “It’s a time of unusual stress with all of the killings going on, the political mess that’s going on and there’s just so many people who have just moved away from trusting God and believing in Jesus Christ. Our job of encouraging and uplifting will never be done. We’ll have to keep working on this until the Lord comes to take us home.”
The project features new songs such as the first radio single “All Day Long,” the ballad “My Delight” (led by Steve Allen), the quartet-styled stomper ‘Hold On” and the soulful tune “Vessel” (led by Paul Porter).
The group also brings back B-sides from past albums and gives them new arrangements such as the old school soul of “Like a Good Neighbor” and the funk of “I’m Not Givin’ Up Givin’ Out Givin’ Givin’ In” that is lead by Tom Allen. The group provides some dance-floor rhythms with songs such as “Got Me Dancin’,” “Can’t Give Up (The Groove)” and “Victory Dance.” The collection is rounded out with fan favorites such as the group’s signature songs “Miracle Worker” and “Something About the Name of Jesus.”
The Rance Allen Group was formed in 1965 in Monroe, Mich., as a self-contained band. In 1972, they signed to Stax Records’ Gospel Truth subsidiary, where they recorded a series of gritty gospel songs that won them main-stage tours with R&B headliners such as Isaac Hayes and Barry White. The group has been recording ever since and was honored with the BMI Trailblazer Award in 2008.
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.
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.