Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past. So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.
Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits. Today, we rewind to the genesis of Cece Winans solo career – 1995’s award-winning ‘Alone In His Presence’:
Today, Grammy, Stellar, and Dove Award winning songstress Cece Winans is undoubtedly one of gospel’s most prized acts. Often attributed as part of the pioneering force of the modern contemporary gospel movement, the powerhouse vocalist has made a career out of sonically mixing Urban pop with praise.
Blasting to the spotlight as one of the youngest members of gospel’s most celebrated family The Winans, the earliest part of her career saw her teamed with brother Bebe to bring hits like ‘Heaven’ and ‘Addictive Love’ to R&B and gospel charts:
But after dominating charts with her older sibling, the soaring singer (whose stylings were often likened to friend Whitney Houston’s) sought to place a solo stamp on charts. Enter 1995’s ‘Alone In His Presence’. Led by single ‘Every Time’..
Though some critics initially feared fans would hesitate to embrace the gospel diva by her lonesome, the warm reception of ‘Every Time’ swiftly proved otherwise. Interestingly, despite its radio-friendliness, the rest of the album is less reflective of her contemporary offerings with her brother.
Tunes like ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’, ‘I Surrender All’, and fan-favorite ‘His Strength Is Perfect’ sonically lend themselves to more traditional praise and worship offerings.
‘His Strength Is Perfect’
The album would not only later reach platinum status, but also give Cece her first solo Grammy win a mere year later. And, though nearly two decades of hits like ‘Alabaster Box’, ‘Well, Alright’, and ‘Hallelujah Praise’ fill her catalogue, many-a-fan still cite the singer’s debut solo offering as a favorite.
Singer Brandy presents CeCe Winans with first solo Grammy
If anything, it remains the catalyst that effortlessly allows the singer to straddle the fences between contemporary gospel and traditional praise/worship tunes. For that, we ode ‘Alone’ for the solid body of work that it is and continue to play it side by side with Cece’s later releases.
‘Alone In His Presence’ (title track)