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CeCe Winans at SoundBoard, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff

» See more SOUND CHECK

CeCe Winans may live in Nashville these days, she’s still one of Detroit’s first ladies of gospel.

On her own and as a longtime duo with her brother BeBe Winans, the 52-year-old singer has sold more than 12 million records worldwide and won 10 Grammy Awards. She’s also one of the top-selling female gospel artists of all-time and has authored both a memoir, “On A Positive Note,” and co-written two others.

Earlier this year Winans released “Let Them Fall In Love,” her first solo album of new material in nine years...

• The long gap between albums was caused, appropriately enough, by church. Winans and her husband started their Nashville Light church during the early part of 2012. And that was enough to keep her occupied and away from the studio. “For almost five years I’ve been totally focused on that,” Winans, 52, says by phone from Nashville. “It was a really big undertaking, and I really couldn’t focus on the music, and I’m one of those people who has to focus. Finally, once we got things going with the church and got a rhythm happening there, I was able to create some space and think about, ‘What do I want to do next?’”

• The answer came from her son, Alvin Love III, who co-produced “Let Them Fall In Love” with Tommy Sims and also wrote the bulk of the set’s 10 tracks, leading his mother in some new musical directions, ranging from the lively approach of “Hey Devil,” featuring the Clark Sisters, to “Lowly” and “Why Me Lord,” tracks that are more traditional than Winans’ usual crossover sound. “It took me a while to grasp everything he was saying,” Winans acknowledges. “Some of the style of the songs when I first heard them, I was like, ‘Whoa, I don’t know if I can do this. But I listened and I was like, ‘This is fresh,’ and that was his point. He was like, ‘Mom, I think you can do something that’s really awesome, that’s fresh, that’s different but yet it’s not you trying to be a teenybopper,’ and when I got it, I got it and I was really excited.”

• Though she’s anxious to play live and promote the album, Winans spends less time on the road these days due to her schedule at Nashville Light. “Most of our church is probably between 20 and 30,” she says. “With the election we’re praying. There’s a song on the record called ‘Peace From God’ that I think is the universal prayer that we would see peace -- peace in our government, peace in our community and peace in our nation. I’m trying to teach these young people that the way we respond to troubled times is to pray. We’re praying for those who are in leadership, praying for the police, praying for the black community, coming together and learning about each other. That’s an awesome opportunity during the sad things that are going on to fight the way I know how to fight -- with prayer.”

If You Go

• CeCe Winans

• 8 p.m. Friday, July 14.

• Soundboard in the Motor City Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Blvd., Detroit.

• Tickets are $33-$42.

• Call 313-309-4700 or visit motorcitycasino.com.

Web Site: www.motorcitycasino.com

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