Grammy Winner CeCe Winans On Her New Album, Working With Carrie Underwood & Finding Hope In The Darkness

Cece WinansPhoto Credit: Elijah Rodney

Grammy Award-winning artist CeCe Winans has done it again! With a longstanding career and array of accolades – including the distinction as most-awarded female gospel artist of all time – her new album, Believe For It, is slated to climb the charts yet again. It’s the first time fans will be able to hear her awe-inspiring voice on a record album, her first since 2017. We chatted with CeCe about why she decided to release this live album (her first), the secret to her success and what she loved most about working with Carrie Underwood. 

Cece WinansPhoto Credit: Elijah Rodney

Can you tell us about the inspiration for your new album Believe For It?

The inspiration was really to gather people together and enter into a time of praying and celebrating. We also have songs on here that I think inspire people to believe. I am inspired to really encourage people, I know when I look around and see people who are discouraged, people who are depressed, people who have really gone through a lot, I want to do something that is going to uplift their spirits. So I think it is love that inspires me and inspired this album.

This is your first live album. What inspired its release now?

My first live album…wow…I have to give some credit to my management who thought it would be a great idea for me to do one. I have thought about doing a live record for years, whenever I am doing a tour, whenever I am singing and worshiping God live on stage… there is nothing that compares to that. I think whenever I get a chance to express the love I have for God and his people, it is explosive. I love connecting with the people…when you are in the studio, you are imagining that people are there, but live…there’s nothing like connecting with those people. We all know in the studio you can do it over and over again but live it is like ‘OK bring it.’ I sang from my heart and hopefully it will touch the hearts of those who hear it.

You’re the best-selling female gospel artist of all time. How would you describe your path to this level of success?

I am always blown away when people bring that to my attention.I think first of all…I have been doing this for a long time. I started really really young. God has blessed me to be successful throughout the years. Some albums have sold more than others, but I have these incredible people all over the world, throughout my whole career, who have embraced my songs, my ministry. They have allowed my songs to be the soundtrack to their lives. I think when you have people who support you and pray for you, you are going to enjoy success. I don’t take it lightly, I am honored and humbled by it. I just appreciate people, because they really determine how successful you are going to be. I would just like to say thank you to anyone who has ever bought a record, a ticket to a concert, prayed for me. It is because of them and of course God, His love, mercy, purpose and plan, it is because of that combination, that we have been able to be successful.

Cece WinansPhoto Credit: Marissa Roberts

What has the past year taught you about yourself? About life?

The past year has taught me that I’ve been an inward focused person. It has taught me to care about everybody, it has taught me that we are more alike than we are different. It has taught me that when people hurt, I hurt. So I think it really has taught me to care, to appreciate life more than ever before because we have seen so many people who were here today and gone tomorrow. I value life, value people, and value my health more than ever before. I think out of all of it I have become more grateful but also more aware that I need to pray for people and also take out time to care for people.

Carrie Underwood was featured on your ‘Compassion: A Night of Thanksgiving’ special. What was your favorite thing about working with her? What was one thing about your interaction that stuck out to you?

The thing that stuck out is she’s a really cool person, she’s very nice and that she has a heart for helping others. For her to take out time to be a part of my Compassion Live special lets me know and the world know that she really cares. She really cares about teaming up with me to help kids be sponsored, to help those who cannot help themselves, to make sure kids have food and water and that they can have an education…all the things that Compassion Live does for those dealing with poverty at the most extreme level. I think that speaks volumes about Carrie. Also, watching her perform live just confirmed too … and everyone heard… that she can just SING. She is so talented, so amazing, she has accomplished great things and I think she is really just beginning.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming musicians?

I just want to encourage them and let them know that you are going to have good days and you’re going to have bad days but to just keep believing and stay focused. Be who you were created to be and don’t let all the changes of the industry discourage you. It might not happen when you want it to happen or the way you want it to happen but whatever God has put in you, it is something the world needs to hear. It is something people will appreciate but you just have to stay focused and keep perfecting your craft…so that when the door opens, you’ll be ready.

Cece WinansPhoto Credit: Marissa Roberts

What musician might people be surprised that you listen to and when are you most likely to put that album on? What’s your favorite song by that artist? (Do you listen to rap while you’re cleaning, Randy Travis while you’re driving, etc)?

I don’t know if people will be surprised by this but I love instrumental records, to just hear beautiful music. Of course, the majority of the music I listen to is Gospel music but, I love classical music. I put it on when I need peace, if I feel like I am stressed out, I go somewhere and put music on. Music totally relaxes me and keeps me in a peaceful frame of mind.

How do you live your life in a luxurious way, a “haute” way?

I think because of what I do, I was kind of pushed into that. Whenever you’re living a good majority of your life in front of the public eye, whether you’re doing your first album cover or covers of magazines, you get introduced to incredible stylists and people. Things that you wouldn’t normally have if you weren’t in the public. I think that began the train of thought of trying to keep it together and present myself in a way that is timeless and classic. I am not one to embrace the different trends that come again and go, I have done it in the past and I have lived to regret it. I love to invest in classic wardrobe pieces and items that are beautiful now and will still be years from now. That’s the way I try to live my life, in a way that brings class and luxury. I think luxury is a part of every part of your life. I love to surround myself with the best people, eat the best type of food, I understand the importance of rest and I think your fashion is part of your lifestyle. It’s a part of who you are and how you express who you are and what you love the most.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

I think one of the greatest luxuries in life to have a peaceful home. I travel a lot, I am blessed to go to beautiful places and beautiful hotels. One of my favorite places to hang out is somewhere in front of the ocean but you know, there is nothing like home. I can’t imagine what life would be like if I didn’t have peace and love in front of my home. I appreciate that more than anything…to me that is priceless.

Cece Winans