Monday, November 7, 2016


                     The Story of Yolanda Adams

                  YOLANDA ADAMS Blessed - playlist

Yolanda Adams was a school teacher in Houston during the mid-'80s and occasionally did modeling work. Her mother had studied music while at college, so Adams grew up listening to jazz and classical music as well as gospel artists such as James Cleveland and the Edwin Hawkins Singers .

Yolanda Yvette Adams was born August 27, 1961 The oldest of six siblings, Adams was born in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Sterling High School in Houston in 1979. After graduating from Texas Southern University, she began a career as a schoolteacher and part-time model in Houston.

Adams first attracted the attention of Thomas Whitfield and Sound of Gospel Records as a lead singer with Houston's Southeast Inspirational Choir affiliated with the Church of God in Christ, under the direction of Carl Preacher, Brenda Waters, and Shirley Joiner. The choir released the single in 1982 "For My Liberty" with Adams as the featured vocalist. In 1986, Adams was featured on the Edwin Hawkins Music and Arts Seminar Choir released Give Us Peace, with a performance entitled "My Trust Lies In You". Later, she signed a recording contract with Sound of Gospel which yielded her first album Just As I Am in 1987.  In 1990, she was discovered by producer/keyboardist Ben Tankard, and signed to his independent label Tribute Records and released Through The Storm. Tankard's goal with Tribute Records during this time was to develop an audience for a smoother gospel/jazz sound. He featured Yolanda's jazzy vocals on his album and concept video single "You Bring Out The Best In Me" on his 1994 release Play Me In
Your Key. The collaboration received positive response from gospel, jazz and "quiet storm" formats. Though she was initially criticized in the Christian community for embracing secular music and fashion to accompany her gospel-themed music, the growth of publicly popular gospel in the mid-'90s pushed her into the spotlight.

One year later, Adams followed with Save the World, which included her first signature song "The Battle Is The Lord's". Her next release was 1995's More Than a Melody, which featured more production work from Tankard with contributions from O'Landa Draper, and BeBe Winans. The single "Gotta Have Love," from that album featuring Tony Terry on background vocals, gained mainstream notoriety and was her first single and music video. Yolanda... Live In Washington, released the following year, featured versions of material from her first three albums. The footage from this recording was released as a collection of two videos on VHS initially, and later as a single set on DVD and CD. During this time Tribute Records' parent company Diadem Music Group merged with Benson Music Group, which was eventually bought by New York-based Zomba/Verity Records.

Songs from the Heart was her final release for Verity Records, including "Only Believe", which was popular songs on contemporary radio. The album also included "Still I Rise," a dedication to Rosa Parks, which was inspired by the Maya Angelou poem of the same name.

Adams toured with Kirk Franklin & the Family, and her 1996 album Yolanda Live in Washington was nominated for a Grammy. Songs From the Heart followed in 1998, and a year later she returned with Mountain High Valley Low which topped her live album by winning a Grammy. In 2000 she ventured into new territory by issuing a Christmas album, A Yolanda Adams Christmas. Experience followed a year later.

2001 she released a live album (The Experience). The Experience netted Adams a second Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. Believe, which included the hit "Never Give Up" was released in 2001 and reached gold status according to the RIAA. She would later go on to perform this song at "The Salute to Gospel Music" at the White House during President George W. Bush's administration. In 2001, Adams also released a compilation CD entitled The Divas of Gospel; it included the legendary Grammy Award winner Albertina Walker, who is considered the "queen of gospel music".

Adams recorded a song for the 2003 film Honey entitled "I Believe", which played during the last scene in the final dance.

Adams was also a judge for the 2nd annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.  She is also credited as the Queen of Contemporary Gospel Music.

                 YOLANDA ADAMS

                   Yolanda Adams - The Experience

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