– The co-hosts and resident tour judge of Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound gospel music celebration discuss their careers, the growing popularity of gospel music and the success of the gospel celebration —
August 17, 2011, Silver Spring, MD — TV One on One host Cathy Hughes explores the growing popularity of gospel music and sits down with three of gospel’s greatest in a special edition of TV One on One Aug. 28 at 8 PM ET, leading up to the kick-off of Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound gospel music celebration. Ms. Hughes talks with co-hosts CeCe Winans and Donald Lawrence, as well as resident tour judge Marvin Sapp, about the gospel celebration, and also about their latest projects, their personal passions and how their faith and gifts have impacted their lives. The show repeats Aug. 28 at 11:30 PM ET.
Highlights include Pastor Sapp, Ms. Winans and Mr. Lawrence in concert and in conversation. Ms. Hughes talked to CeCe Winans and Marvin Sapp from a historic mansion in New Orleans, where they are saluted during this summer’s Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. Co-host Donald Lawrence talks with Ms. Hughes from his spiritual retreat in Malibu. The show also features stirring and animated performances from previous winners of Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound, including Chicago’s Acme Missionary Baptist Church (2008); The Atlanta West Pentecostal Church (2009); and the Voices of Destiny (2010) from Compton, CA.
Gospel singer, numerous Grammy winner, author and co-host CeCe Winans jokes with Ms. Hughes about growing up with seven older brothers, saying “It’s like having eight fathers. . . They still think they can tell me what to do. I was well protected, that’s for sure. . . If you looked at my marriage tape, my husband looked like he was going to change his mind that day.”
When Ms. Hughes asks which one of her brothers influenced her music the most, Ms. Winans says, “I would have to start with Ronald and then Marvin. . .before BeBe and CeCe started, because years ago as kids, we would sing as a family, and as a group, and Ronald would always push me out of my comfort zone ““ “˜sing a little bit higher, hold the note a little bit longer. You can do it, you can do it’. He was my biggest cheerleader. And then, Marvin, of course, was always the writer of the family. And then, . .BeBe did most of the writing for BeBe and Cece, and so that style, I have to give BeBe the credit for the style of BeBe and CeCe, and, of course, he influenced me in that.”
Ms. Winans says about gospel music and the gospel celebration she co-hosts, “¦Gospel music is loved and appreciated all over the world. Every race, color, creed ““ they love it because it is a music of hope. In the world we are living in, we need to hear it. We need to see it… “when you hear How Sweet the Sound is coming to your part of town, you need to come because when you see all the thousands of people come together and rejoicing it really is an awesome, awesome moment; because we come together on one accord.. .”
When discussing his role as judge in the gospel celebration, multiple award winning singer, song writer and pastor Marvin Sapp tells Ms. Hughes that his role is far different from that of a Simon Cowell or Randy Jackson on American Idol. He says, “My role is”¦to try to give [the choirs] input that will encourage and uplift them; stuff they can use and take back to their local churches”¦My assignment is to make sure I look at the type of things most people would want to hear; that is quality of sound, pitch, choreography, just try to make sure they are . . .not a bunch of individuals trying to do their own thing.”
When Hughes asks Pastor Sapp how he prioritizes all the important roles he has to play in life, Pastor Sapp, who lost his wife to cancer last year, tells Ms. Hughes, “You are the first person to ever ask me how do I prioritize? Many people ask the question, how do you balance it? And you can’t balance it. You can’t juggle it. You have to put it in proper priority. I’m a father first. Then after being a father to my three children Marvin, Mikaila and Madisson, then I’m a pastor, and then after being a pastor, I’m a recording artist, and then everything else falls up under that, but I think if keep everything in the proper place, then I’ve been able to be successful because of that.”
Hughes talks to Grammy-winning producer, composer and recording artist Donald Lawrence about his ability to work both in the secular and gospel music worlds, where he has worked with big names in both worlds, ranging from Mary J. Blige and En Vogue to Kirk Franklin and T.D. Jakes. He also talks to Ms. Hughes about having been Stephanie Mills‘ music director for nine years early in his career and the influence that had on his life and career.
“Stephanie taught me so much when it comes to the music business. . .how to tour, how to hit the stage. . .she just trusted me. . .I would not be a producer had I not [worked with] Stephanie Mills,” Lawrence tells Hughes. “I never wanted to be a producer; however, having to duplicate what great producers had done on her records live on stage, made me study their tracks and all of a sudden a bell kicked in ““ it’s like, “˜oh, this producing,’ and that’s why you have Donald Lawrence the producer today.”
Mr Lawrence also shares his insights on what it takes to make a great choir. “It has a lot to do with great tone, great blending”¦you have great blending by making sure your sopranos and altos and tenors are the same texture”¦its kind of like making a great cake”¦when you put that together it just blends”¦when you teach them the scripture and you teach them what the lyric really, really means, it reaches their heart and then they can make it reach somebody else’s heart.”