Yolanda Adams Biography

Review The Artist (54)

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Yolanda Adams has accomplished what few singers before her have ever achieved: The ability to attract fans from all walks of life without ever straying from the intricate roots that nurtured her Grammy winning voice in the first place.

The cornerstone of her amazing career so far 1999's platinum-plus, award winning Elektra Records debut, Mountain High_Valley Low(Yolanda once described it as her coming-out album') established her as an undisputed gospel siren one of the key figures of the genre's bold renaissance. Yolanda's impressive musical range and undeniable charisma helped liberate gospel music's more formal, traditional image. She's also displayed the kind of vocal immediacy and vulnerability possessed by few pop singers. Her show stopping October 2001 performance of the classic song "Imagine," on TNT's Come Together: A Night For John Lennon as well as her performances on Oprah, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The View and countless others, sealed her reputation as gospel's most transcendent ambassador.

Honored with an incredible array of awards within the last 2 years alone, including 2000's Grammy award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, five Stellar Awards, two Soul Train Lady Of Soul Awards, and five NAACP Image Awards, Yolanda followed up with last year's holiday gift to to her fans, Christmas With Yolanda Adams, and 2001's acclaimed live album, The Experience. Now, after intense collaboration with some of the most revered producers working today, Yolanda steps back into the arena with her first collection of new material in three years _ the incredible 12-song masterpiece _Believe.

"I always get asked the same question," says Yolanda, who takes an appreciative but modest attitude in regard to her ever-widening audience. "'Will you get tired of gospel?' 'Is there a temptation to do something else?' My answer has always been the same. No way. I'm a gospel artist. There's no confusion about that. I like to sings songs that in the end touches everybody. There's a humanity to these songs that gets in your blood."

Believe runs deep with that humanity. Emboldened by another lineup of great producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, (who also produced her multi-format smash hit "Open My Heart" which spent most of 2000 at #1 on Billboard's gospel and Contemporary Christian charts), Shep Crawford, Kevin Bond, Mike City, Warryn Campbell and Buster & Shavoni - Yolanda raises the musical bar on this one, strengthening her own formidable song writing skills to meet the challenges she places on herself. "I like to work with great people because it makes me work harder," she says.

Yolanda points out that working with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis was a long awaited reunion. The superstar duo helms three songs on the new disc "I'm Gonna Be Ready," "Never Give Up," and the album's in-your-face closer, "I'm Thankful." The angelic, inspiring "Never Give Up" shines as one of Yolanda's most tender ballads, singing heartfelt lines such as: /Keep the dream alive don't ever let it die./ "It was a joy to write. Getting together with Jimmy and Terry was like having a reunion with your big brothers," she says. "They have such great spirit and heart. I believe we'll be collaborating for the rest of my career. When we get together, it's so natural, it's like OK, I have this title - I have this verse - what do you have?'"

On Believe, Yolanda switches musical gears from song to song with an amazing ability to complement each producer's unique style. She talks about some of the diverse ingredients on Believe. "There's Mike City ("A Song Of Faith," "Unconditional") who is very good with taking risks, he's a young cat who you know is going to bring some real progressive ideas," she says. "And then you have someone like Shep Crawford ("I Gotta Believe," "Fo' Sho") who lets you get in there and really express yourself." The latter song features a duet with gospel legend and recently signed Elektra artist Karen Clarke Sheard of the Clarke Sisters. "I have been a fan of hers since I was 11 years old," says Yolanda. "I was so thrilled that she could contribute something to this record. It's so wonderful when you have the opportunity to actually show your appreciation to one of your influences." Yolanda's incredible rise has been about honoring those influences, but also never being afraid to - as she puts it - "spread my wings."

Her road to the top of the musical mountain' has been filled with the kind of conviction that now causes a new generation of singers to cite her as an influence. A former schoolteacher and avid church singer, the Houston Texas native - and the eldest of six siblings - diligently pursued a singing career.

She caught the eye of prolific composer/producer Thomas Whitfield, who helmed her first-ever record with the prophetic title, Just As I Am, in 1987. It wasn't too long before the young singer was drawing comparisons to Aretha Franklin. Subsequent albums (on gospel labels Verity and Tribute), including 1991's Through The Storm, netted Yolanda several Stellar Awards, and 1995's R&B flavored, award winning More Than A Melody would establish her as a force to be reckoned with gospel or otherwise. The latter disc garnered Yolanda her first Soul Train Lady Of Soul Award, as well as her first Grammy nomination.

Yolanda also began to establish herself as one of the genre's most sought after live attractions. Her incredible performances would soon become legendary throughout the entire music industry. Her 1996 album Yolanda Live In Washington furthered her reputation as a one-of-a-kind performer, and landed her yet another Stellar Award and another Grammy nomination. But it was the ground breaking Elektra debut, Mountain High Valley Low that would change Yolanda's life forever.

A veritable testament to Yolanda's tremendous faith, it was also a nod to her incredible musical savvy. Enlisting producers such as Keith Thomas and the above-mentioned Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Yolanda saw the move to Elektra as a chance to expand her reach without "watering down" her message. Only her seventh album, it captured the amazing potential of Yolanda without sacrificing her commitment to God. Said one rave review: "Much of the album recalls Stevie Wonder or Bob Marley, where spirituality is at the center but it doesn't limit the musical expression."

The album spawned a host of sold out tours, such as her Sisters In The Spirit Tour (with gospel superstars Shirley Caesar, Mary Mary and Angela Christie), from which her live CD, The Experience, was born. There was no doubt that Yolanda's inventive, unforgettable performances were attracting new and old fans alike.

Despite all the accolades Yolanda's crowning achievement was the birth of her baby girl, Taylor Ayanna. Says Yolanda about that 'experience': "You really don't know what love is until you have a child. No matter how tired I am after a show or how distracted I might be after a long recording session - all I have to do is see her little smile and I know everything is right in the world."

With the completion of her greatly anticipated album, Believe, she is again excited by the prospects of sharing her new music with the world. "I've grown as a songwriter and a performer and I'm eager to spread those creative wings again," she says. Aware that the country may be hungering even more for a spiritual message these days, Yolanda's album title hints at what the new disc can offer in the way of spiritual redemption. "Music has always been a potent force. I'm proud that this album addresses the spectrum of life. It deals with struggles and relationships and sadness and joy. Our music - gospel music - has always been a comfort to those who are looking for some kind of encouragement in their lives."

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the prayer | Reviewer: elisia | 10/9/14

My dear, God richly bless you for your inspirational songs, please i will be very happy if you can help me sing like you cos i take delight in singing Gospel song, may God continue to bless you and your family.

Herstory: Women of Faith Hebrews 11:1 | Reviewer: Cheryl Brito | 3/13/14

Dear Yolanda, I can feel tears ready to come just as I'm typing this message to you. I am So Inspired by Your Spirit & Your Music as a Christian.I know God in Heaven Welcomes Your singing. Your voice is so Beautiful.I use to sing in Chorus & My Chuch Choir while growing up.I'm Doing a Presentation of your Biography to My Church Co-op City Baptist Church, Bronx NY on March 30th, 2014.I So wish You Could Be There.I Would Be So So Happy. I come downstairs in The mornings & I Turn on Our Computer to Your Songs on U Tube that Play throughout the day.I am a Christian. A True Believer in God's Word.My Kids & I are Survivors of Domestic Violence to Homeless in NY To Escaping to a Shelter in Palm Bay,FL called Serene Harbor. Where God & The Staff there at Serene Harbor Helped My Kids & Myself get Back on My Feet as far as a Car that was Donated to us I found a Job & then I found Our Apartment in Palm Bay, FL.We Stayed in Sunday School & Church Every Sunday. As I myself grew up in church from a little girl. I Felt I'm Obligated to God to Raise My Kids in Nursery, Sunday School & Church as well. Knowmatter where we were that was The Deal.I'm 56yrs old & I work as a Certified Nurse Assistant of 36yrs. I'm in Prayer that I want to go into Acting. There's an Acting School here in NY. I want to go & visit The School. I have No money to Nearly get Started.I'm Just Hoping & Praying that God will Honor my request. Yolanda, God Bless You, I Love You & I Pray that Someday I Get to Meet You.I listen to Your Album Believe & I'm Gonna be Ready & Fo Sho & The Others.Thank You for Inspiring such a Woman as myself.And I Thank God with All My Heart that You Will Not Allowe Yourself,Your Spirit to be tempted to do other music besides Gospel.And Yes,Your Music, Gospel Music Always goes straight to The Heart. Straight to my heart to Uplift,Encourage me & Let's me know that God Is Always Close to me.Thank You So Very Much

inspiration | Reviewer: jamequia | 1/22/13

you inspire me to fight for my dream and believe in myself , and your a very strong women im writing a four page journal on you in my english class , i hope too meet you one day im your biggest fan (:

Reverend | Reviewer: Regina M. Ibanez | 12/23/12

I want to send you a letter news station that I recieved from my Son Jeremy Ibanez who is in prions at Onieda County Correctional Jail, 6075 Judo Road, Oransikany, New York 13425. I have sent a copy by fax to The New York State Commission of Correction who is over all the Prison's in new located at Alfred E. Smith State Office Building, 80 South Swan Street, 12th Floor, Albany, New York 12210 & mailed a copy also to the U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Aveneu, NW, Washington, Dc 20530. He says he has been beaten for (6) weeks now, about the head by the gurads, refused a shower & when he try to shower he is tased, peper sprayed, shackled naked & led through the jail with a bag on his head to the recreation room, where he is forced to lay face down! Please send me a fax number or address where I can send a copy of his letter. Please! Regina M. Ibanez

My Favorite Song | Reviewer: shae sellers | 11/7/12

Dear Yolanda,
i am a big fan of your hit song I Believe because we are going through all the troubles through school or at home burt if we believe, we can dance for the people without the faith

Your inspiration and blessing | Reviewer: Efe Benyi | 4/27/12

U know what as i speak to i'm gonna perform the deut The Prayer on Mothers Day. I'm 12 and will turn 13 on 05/28. Your own of my favourite musicians and my role model. When ever you sing i get blessed. Thank God for person like u. Your voice and the lyric of ur songs inspire me to sing for Christ and Him alone. I love your songs Fragile Heart and Victory. The song The Prayer Drives me crazy for Christ. I love u and Christ. I hope to meet u one day. Hope my performance goes wild just like urs with Donnie McClurkin. I ask for ur Prayers, pls. Bless

never give up | Reviewer: olyvia from Ghana | 12/11/11

hi yolanda,thank GOD for your life,im a child of GOD with the gift of singin and healin,its my lifelong wish that i be ur trainee,that you would help me fulfil Gods purpose through me.you can call me on +2330245249978.thank u miss

Need your "Help" | Reviewer: Margaret | 11/15/11

Dear Ms. Adams, I am writing to you because I have been given a "Seed" and I am not able to bring it to "fruition." I live "paycheck to paycheck" being on "Unemployment" and I have a cell phone that I so many times do not have the finances to put minutes on it so I have to take steps as I am doing by sending you the contact information in this manner. I am a "GOD" fearing Christian woman and because of my "financial" position I find that "GOD" has given me that "Mustard seed Blessing" and without the "financial" support at this time the "steps" that I have taken become "stagnant." I have been given a "Design" and have "Created" the "Diagram" that it will be larger than "Facebook" but it takes "finances" to move forward. I pray always for "Stability" in my life and now "GOD" has given me the means to make it "Stable" and because of the "finances" I am at a stand still. I come to you through "Prayer and fasting" to ask for your "Help?" I know that your schedule is so busy but I know that "GOD" would not of put your name on my "Heart" and then I be writing to you. I come to the neighborhood "Library" to use the Computer. My information is listed below so that when "GOD" instructs you then it will be a complete circle now "Closed." My information is below.

Margaret Turner
2541 W. Georgia Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85017
I know "GOD" is in the plan, and that you will contact me. GOD Bless and I wait patiently to hear from you.

Fragile Heart & I Gotta Believe | Reviewer: nancy brewer | 3/31/11

Mrs. Adams, may the Spirit of the living God continue to bless you, a year and half ago on June 4 I lost my only child a girl, name Terryl We called her Chuckie, she went in for a operation to remove a tumor in her stomach. But the Divine Spirt knew best, we are only hear on lone, and nothing belongs to us, God makes no mistakes. But I just want to tell you that these songs and many other of yours brought me threw. But God is Good, he is my Bright and morning Star. I pray that the Divine Spirit continues to Bless you and the family threw His Grace and Mercy

I'm aspiring to be... | Reviewer: Charisse Norwood | 7/14/10

so much like you...we are so very similar when it comes to the Lord and inspiring and encouraging His people. It's what I live for...and will die for. With love...your sister
P.S. Your songs have touched me so deep within and have had an impact on my life and have made me believe all the more. The Holy Spirit is in you Yolanda.

Someone Watching Over You. | Reviewer: Christopher Wishing | 6/9/10

A channel dug for the fountains of the Lord's love; has most certainly been excavated far and deep in this gifted river.

This song comes into one with the lyrical potency of: the wisdom from the beginning of solomons songs...To end with an all love powered
delivery, to stand as testament to the Almighty Father's, "Fiery Ones".

Thank you, for blessing Me. | Reviewer: kimberly Frederick | 5/28/10




I would First like to say praise GOD for You being you.. Thank you Yolanda Adams for your encouraging words. I must say I have been going through the struggles of life; finiacial, emotional and spiritually. Until I was given this Gospel CD. This one song has made a big inpact in my life. (Be Blessed!) I've learned to let go and let GOD. I'm so touch and blessed to have heard thoes words. for now I know that he will get me through all that I'm going. Thank you again Yolanda, my days are brighter and I sleep well at night.


Glory be to our GOD Almighty | Reviewer: Tee Worseryawo Karto | 5/12/10

I want to praise our GOD for creating a Special being like you.you're are very gifted by the one and True GOD.I felt love and peace just recently after I was touched by one of your songs.I believed that I also have the gift of music but i've not have the opportunity to bring it to reality.my prayer for you is, GOD Almighty should look upon you and the family.Be BLESSED

Thank you Yolanda , I'm not the same any more... | Reviewer: JOY from Burundi | 4/27/10

Dear Yolanda, just to tell you that since I work my voice on your songs, I'm not the same any more ... it is now two years since I discovered your music, your talent and your anointing! Also, God often spoke to me through your songs and your heart of worship ... and if I have a dream is to meet the person that God used to convince me that I was destined to change the world through my music talent! and you're that person! I love you, I respect you and I pray for you.

i love too much | Reviewer: eleonore gbahi | 4/6/10

thanks God for your life in this world.when i see you sing, i can feel the love ,the love of God.i pray for you everyday,for your ministry.i would like you to be me adviser in the ministry.i love love love you.


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