Yolanda Adams Biography

Yolanda Adams Biography on Monsters and Critics

Summary

"Yolanda Yvette Adams" (born August 27, 1961 in Houston, Texas) is an American singer. She is one of the most popular contemporary gospel music artists. Along with Kirk Franklin, Adams is among the artists who have achieved the greatest critical and commercial success in blending R&B styles and gospel music. Although this achievement was initially criticised within the conservative Christian church, it helped gospel gain airplay in secular venues.

Life and career

Raised as the oldest of six siblings in Houston, Texas, Adams grew up in a household where she was exposed to musical influences ranging from classical to gospel to Motown. She sang throughout her teen years, performing on weekends. Adams 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, Texas. Inspired by her mother, she pursued music and garnered significant attention as a lead singer. Eventually she gave up teaching to perform full-time.

Early career

As a lead singer in the Southeast Inspirational Choir, she attracted the attention of Thomas Whitfield and Sound of Gospel Records. Sound of Gospel signed her to a recording contract which yielded her first album "Just As I Am" in 1987. Her strong, soulful voice and striking, statuesque beauty scored quickly with Gospel audiences, and her debut album hit the Gospel Top 10. In 1990, she signed to Ben Tankard's independent label Tribute Records and released "Through The Storm", which was the first of a string of Top 10 Gospel albums. The album included such staples as 'You Know That I Know' and 'Even Me.' The title track, 'Through the Storm,' quickly became an early signature tune.

Two years later, Adams followed with the equally well-received set "Save The World", which included favorites such as 'The Battle Is The Lord's.' Her next release was 1995's "More Than A Melody", which featured more progressive production work from Ben Tankard, O'Landa Draper, and BeBe Winans. The album also gave rise to her first mainstream single and music video, with 'Gotta Have Love,' featuring Tony Terry on background vocals. The next year, Yolanda's touchstone release "Live In Washington" featured spontaneous and energetic versions of material from her first two albums. The live footage was initially released as a collection of two videos on VHS, and later as a single set on DVD.

Her last release, for Verity Records, was a collection of hymns entitled "Songs From The Heart" which also included two contemporary radio offerings with 'Only Believe' and 'God Will Take Care Of You.' The set also included 'Still I Rise,' dedicated to Rosa Parks-- inspired by the Maya Angelou poem of the same name.

1999: Mountain High...Valley Low Fame

" A decade after her arrival, Adams received her first significant attention outside the realm of Gospel by signing with Elektra Records and releasing "Mountain High... Valley Low" in 1999. Working with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson, Boyz II Men), James 'Big Jim' Wright,(Mariah Carey, Nicole C. Mullen) Warryn Campbell (Mary Mary, Brandy) and Keith Thomas (BeBe & CeCe Winans), she released a contemporary urban album while retaining the conservative sound her core fanbase was built on.

"Mountain High" bore a basket of popular cuts, including the up-tempo 'Time to Change' and 'Yeah', as well as 'Fragile Heart,' dedicated to the memory of Yolanda's long time road manager who died in 1998. The album's biggest single came in the form of the ballad 'Open My Heart' which received heavy airplay on Urban Adult Contemporary radio stations. This would be Adams' first ever top 5 R&B and top 40 Pop hit. 'Open My Heart' stayed on the charts for over a year. It was also instrumental in winning Adams her first Grammy award, for 'Best Contemporary Soul Gospel'.

After releasing a Christmas album in 2000, Adams followed up "Mountain High" with a live album in 2001 which was simply entitled "The Experience". Consisting mainly of material from "Mountain High... Valley Low", the album featured a standout cover of R. Kelly's 'I Believe I Can Fly.' The album netted her yet another Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album.

Adams' next endeavor "Believe", was released later in 2001 it featured in the independent film Honey starring Jessica Alba and Romeo . It was a safer, less ambitious disc that scored moderately with the single 'Never Give Up,' but failed to match the critical accomplishment of its predecessor. Adams then took a four year hiatus that included both a new baby and and a divorce. Adams' also served as a spokesperson for the FILA Corporation's Operation Rebound program, addressing the concerns of inner city school children.

2005: Back After Four Years Hiatus

"The end of Adams' hiatus was perfectly timed to miss the label shuffle that resulted in Elektra Records' merger with Atlantic Records. Her comeback album, "Day By Day", was well received, and featured the singles 'This Too Shall Pass' as well as 'Victory.' The latter was featured prominently in the movie "The Gospel". A new CD is forthcoming in 2007, and she will also debut her new clothing line.

Adams has been referred to as 'First Lady of Modern Gospel' and 'the Whitney Houston of gospel music'. She is the host of "The Yolanda Adams Morning Show" airing on Urban Gospel stations owned by Radio One.

Adams sang the national anthem at the AFC Championship in 2007 and in an appearance on ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. She also recently appeared on the talent show "America's Got Talent" practicing with Bianca Ryan.

2007: A New Label & Holiday Album

After Atlantic Records released a greatest hits collection entitled "The Best of Me", Columbia Records announced Yolanda Adams as a recent signing. The first release, planned under the new recording contract, is a holiday collection produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and James 'Big Jim' Wright. It is slated for October 16th, 2007, and there are also reports of a 2008 studio release entitled"Intimacy".

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The holiday album entitled "What a Wonderful Time" is set to release October 17th, and will include Jazz and R&B oriented Christmas songs. Some of the producers expected to contribute are Michael J. Powell (Anita Baker), Warryn Campbell (Mary Mary), and Gordon Chambers. The album will be her first release for Columbia.

Personal life

In 1997, Adams married former NFL player Tim Crawford. They had one daughter, Taylor Ayanna, in 2001. However, in August 2004, Adams obtained a divorce.

Discography

"Just As I Am" (Sound of Gospel, 1987)

"Through The Storm" (Tribute, 1991)

"Save the World" (Tribute, 1993)

"More Than A Melody" (Tribute, 1995)

"Yolanda... Live In Washington" (Tribute/Verity, 1996)

"Songs from the Heart" (Verity, 1998)

"Mountain High... Valley Low" (Elektra, 1999)

"Christmas With Yolanda Adams" (Elektra, 2000)

"The Experience" (Elektra, 2001)

"Believe" (Elektra, 2001)

"Day By Day" (Atlantic, 2005)

"What a Wonderful Time" (Columbia, October 2007)

"TBA-Studio album" (Columbia, 2008)

Awards

;Won Four Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards

1992 Traditional Gospel Album of the Year - Through the Storm

1992 Traditional Gospel Song of the Year - Through the Storm

1999 Traditional Gospel Song of the Year - Is Your All on the Altar

2005 Special Event Cd of the Year - The Passion of Christ (song: How Many Lashes)

;Won Seven NAACP Image Awards

2000 Outstanding Gospel Artist, Contemporary

2001 Outstanding Song for 'Open My Heart'

2001 Outstanding Gospel Artist, Contemporary

2001 Outstanding Female Artist

2001 Outstanding Performance in a Variety Series or Special - Soul Train Awards

2002 Outstanding Gospel Artist, Contemporary

2006 Outstanding Gospel Artist

;Won Four Grammy Awards

1999 Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album - Mountain High, Valley Low

2001 Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album - The Experience

2005 Best Gospel Song - Be Blessed from Day by Day

2006 Best Gospel Performance - Victory from Day by Day & Gospel Soundtrack

;Won One American Music Award

2001 Contemporary/Inspirational Artist (first to win in this category)

;Won One Soul Train Music Award

2001 Best R&B Soul Single, Female - Open My Heart

;Won Three BET Awards

2001 - Best Gospel Artist

2002 - Best Gospel Artist

2003 - Best Gospel Artist

RIAA Certifications

Mountain High, Valley Low - certified Platinum - September 14, 2000

Believe - Certified Gold - July 16, 2002

The Best of Yolanda Adams - certified Gold - November 5, 2004

Credit

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Yolanda Adams.

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