By Michael P Coleman

The legendary CeCe Winans is the best selling female gospel artist of all time. First as half of  the groundbreaking duo BeBe & CeCe, Winans has sold millions of albums and concert tickets worldwide. 

For the last 30+ years, Winans has inspired listeners with unflinching lyrics combined with first-class production, paired with a soaring alto that sets her apart from the pack.  Not many singers could hold their own with a near-peak Whitney Houston, as Winans did on the Top 10 duet “Count On Me” from the 1995 feature film Waiting To Exhale.  Winans’ solo career beckoned, and beginning with her Grammy-winning Alone In His Presence, she hasn’t looked back. 

1485965254277Winans’ 2017 collection, the ebullient Let Them Fall In Love, added another classic to her discography and is nominated for a Grammy for Best Gospel Album.  While we await this Sunday’s Grammy Award ceremony, I caught up with Winans and learned that if it had been up to her, she would never have recorded the new album.

“My husband and I started a church about five years ago, and we’ve been really focused on that,” Winans recalled by phone from her home in Nashville.  “I turned around and realized it had been about 10 years since I’d put out brand new music.  As I look back on it, God is amazing because He knew that my husband and I would be focused on the church that he was birthing out, so He literally downloaded this entire project to my son.”

You heard her:  Winans’ son, Alvin III, produced and wrote most of the new album.  God certainly didn’t skimp on musical talent with the Winans clan!  But parents won’t be surprised to hear that it wasn’t easy for the Grammy-winner to let her son steer the ship. 

“It was hilarious,” Winans laughed.  “And it was weird.  I had to humble myself, for sure! The first song Alvin played for me was a little…different.  I didn’t get it.  He said ‘Mom, trust me.’ I’m like ‘Trust YOU? I’ve been singing for years, and it’s been years since I’ve been in the studio, and you want me to trust YOU?’”  I gave him a hard time because after hearing a couple of the songs he wanted me to record, I just didn’t get it! ” 

It took me a second to “get” Let Them Fall In Love, too.  I’ve been a fan of Winans’ for years, and I can honestly say that the new album sounds nothing like anything she’d recorded before it.  It’s not quite a “throw-back” but it certainly combines an old-school vibe with contemporary elements, compelling lyrics, and superb production.

Once Winans “got it”, she said the recording of Let Them Fall In Love became an experience she’ll never forget.

“When the light finally came on with me, I had listened to everything my son had written and his orchestrations, and it was time for us to get into the studio, it was just amazing. I was floored,” Winans said.  “And Alvin was hard on me in the studio. He’s more into music than I’ve ever been.  Your prayer for your children is that they would just ‘get it’. I would come home, and I would get in my bed, and I would just cry, just weep because of God’s faithfulness.”

“I have so much fun singing these new songs,” Winans continued.  “And the album has reached so many different people.  I even have a country song on there, ‘Why Me, Lord”.  And let me tell you that it’s our favorite one to do live!  ‘Why Me’ comes for us every night!  And it was Alvin’s idea.  I’d told him I wasn’t doing it, and he insisted that that was the remake we were going to do.  I think [the new album is] my best work to-date, my best solo record.” 

Let Them Fall In Love is full of bold statements, like the raucous “Hey, Devil” with The Clark Sisters, but calling the album Winans’ best solo album is unbelievably so.  However, I’m going to give Winans a hearty “amen” on her assertion — Let Them Fall In Love is her best solo album — and I predict she’ll be bringing another Grammy home this weekend. 

Ever humble. the legend insists that while awards are great, she’s much more interested in making sure her fans know how much she appreciates them. 

“When I think about all of the years we’ve been out here,” Winans reflected, “and people still come to see us and buy our music, all I can say is ‘thank you.” 

Thank YOU, Sister Winans, for decades of inspiration.  And best of luck this weekend at the Grammy’s! 

You can catch the Grammy Awards this Sunday, January 28 at 4:30pm PST on CBS.  Info on this year’s Grammy’s is at

Info on CeCe Winans is available at

 And info on Sacramento-based freelancer Michael P Coleman is at, or follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.


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