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Interview:
Oprah Contest Winner Gets "More Comfortable" With Fame
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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The first time felt like a charm for Detroit singer LaShell Griffin. But the second time feels real.

Griffin, who came to fame as the winner of Oprah Winfrey’s Pop Star Challenge in 2004, has released her second album, “Dreams are Possible,” a contemporary gospel set she co-produced with her husband, Lee, and recorded at the Upper Room Studio in Detroit. She says that she’s “more comfortable with where I am now,” and Griffin acknowledges that some of the album — including the track “I Almost Blew It” — was inspired by grappling with her sudden and unexpected bout of fame.

“It can be intoxicating,” acknowledges Griffin, 40, who resides in east Detroit with her husband and their five children. She wrote five of the 13 tracks on the album, while her husband and two oldest sons each wrote a song as well.

“For a moment there, I got caught up in the hype and everything. I went from being a housewife and mom to being on Oprah’s stage. That can make you or break you, and in the beginning it kind of broke me.

“I had to come back to myself. I didn’t like the person that I saw, but I was able to come back and be able to enjoy where I am now — but not allow it to overwhelm me.”

In addition to the album, Griffin has joined forces with fellow gospel singer and TV One personality Jeff Majors in the Blankets For the Homeless drive, a campaign to bring supplies to and raise awareness of the homeless population around the U.S. The outreach began last Thanksgiving in Atlanta and continues this weekend in the Detroit area, with a performance Friday (Feb. 20) at Southfield’s Hope United Methodist Church and a visit on Saturday (Feb. 21) to St. Leo’s Soup Kitchen in Detroit.

“We met Jeff a couple years ago in North Carolina during a women’s empowerment seminar, and I just fell in love with this campaign,” Griffin says. “It’s so powerful being able to just share and love on your brothers and sisters that are out there and do something that really helps them out.

“It’s been a huge, huge impact, and being part of this campaign has really changed my life. I really want to share with people the importance of sowing a seed and paying it forward. You’ve really got to do that.”



LaShell Griffin performs with Jeff Majors at 7 p.m. Friday (Feb. 20) at the Hope United Methodist Church, 26275 Northwestern Highway, Southfield. Admission is free; attendees are asked to bring blankets, toiletries, coats and non-perishable food items for the homeless. Call (248) 356-1020 or visit www.hopeumc.org.

Web Site: www.hopeumc.org

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