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Vickie Winans (born Viviane Bowman on October 18, 1953) is an American Gospel recording artist.
The seventh of ten children, Vickie was born in Detroit, Michigan to a housewife mother and a father who worked at various times as a laborer, contractor, carpenter and mason.
She began singing in church, the International Gospel Center, at the age of eight.
As a teenager she sang with a group known as the International Sounds of Deliverance. After high school, she married Bishop Ronald Brown of Faith Tabernacle Deliverance Temple in Orangeburg, South Carolina, producing a son, Mario.
and her son Mario took on the Winans family name.
It was her marriage to Marvin that led Vickie Winans to consider a career in music. She was asked to, and joined, Winans Part II, a group that included then in-laws BeBe and CeCe Winans and later brother Daniel Winans. However, the group never took off as BeBe and CeCe left to join the PTL Singers of long-running Christian television show, The PTL Club.
The Winans became the best selling act on their record label, Light Records, and this enabled husband Marvin to secure her a recording contract. Her solo album Be Encouraged was released in 1985 and became a major gospel hit.
The LP included a cover of Dottie Rambo's "We Shall Behold Him", as well as "First Trumpet Sound", a gospelized remake of Gladys Knight & The Pips' "Midnight Train To Georgia."
Be Encouraged netted a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, a Stellar Award for Album of the Year, and an Excellence Award for Best Female Contemporary Artist.
Vickie Winans followup album, Total Victory was markedly less successful, due in part to the financial floundering of Light Records after flagship group The Winans left to join Quincy Jones' Qwest Records.
Unfortunately, Geffen was bought by Universal Records and Vickie's contract was shifted to sister label MCA Records. Dealing with a company that hadn't signed her, she found herself being subtly pushed to tone down the Christian message in her music.
"They don't tell you, but you get the vibe," she said in 1999. "I don't ever, ever, ever want to be in that predicament again. It's one thing when you just sing a song where you don't use the actual name of Jesus, but it's a whole 'nother thing when you TRY not to use the name. For me, the name of Jesus will never be distasteful in my mouth. He's always the answer."
Her 1991 MCA release was The Lady which included production by R. Kelly, husband Marvin Winans, and her son Mario. The nine-song album was missing the name Jesus and controversially contained a rendition of West Side Story's "Somewhere."
MCA then sent Vickie Winans to that year's Stellar Awards television broadcast with dancers – a move that shocked the conservative Christian community, leading to Winans having to issue a public apology.
This controversy led to the Gospel community not backing the album, and after also failing to break through on contemporary R&B radio, MCA eventually dropped Winans from their roster.
The stress of the divorce caused her to develop ulcers on her esophagus and diabetes and began to eat excessively putting on a lot of weight. "I gained the bulk of the weight right after I divorced Marvin," she said. "I really went through a lot. I got ulcers and I was on medication. I was sick from the stress of the divorce."
After 3 years without a recording contract, former Word Records executive James Bullard signed Vickie Winans to Intersound Records, an Atlanta-based classical recording label, for which he was forming a gospel music division.
Her label debut Vickie Winans rose to #10 on the gospel charts, spawning the hits Work It Out and We Shall Behold Him. However, she developed nodes on her vocal cords, causing her to fail to hit all the right notes in her re-recording of We Shall Behold Him.
Vickie Winans ran across a James Cleveland classic tune from the 1960s called As Long As I Got King of Jesus.
She used it as the lead single and megahit for a traditionally-styled album in 1997 titled Live In Detroit.
Recorded live at Bishop Andrew Merrit's Straight Gate Church, Winans recorded simple arrangements of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness,"
Another James Cleveland classic, "No Cross, No Crown", was also a hit from the album.
Intersound/CGI financed a video for "Long As I Got King Jesus", that boosted the sales of the album. It eventually sold 200,000 units. The album earned Winans a Grammy nomination for Best Soul Gospel Album and two Stellar Award nominations for Best Female Vocalist and Best Video ("Long As I Got King Jesus").
and announced a hugely ambitious plan to release THREE Vickie Winans albums in 1999 – a May release of 'Live In Detroit II', followed by the 'Share The Laughter' comedy album in July and capping the year with an October release called 'Woman To Woman: Songs Of Survival'. CGI rolled out the big guns.
They launched their most expensive marketing campaign ever to promote the project. They bought full page color ads in magazines, shot a concept video for the song "Already Been To The Water" and hired Capital Entertainment (which handled CeCe Winans and Bishop T. D. Jakes at the time) to handle Winans' press coverage.
They were able to book Vickie on Queen Latifah, various BET shows and Jenny Jones, among other high profile television programs and got her the most press coverage she'd had since she toured with the Winans Family Tour in 1992.
Live in Detroit II was a major success, reaching #3 on the gospel charts, only failing to top the charts because of Kirk Franklin's success with The Nu Nation Project in the same year.
Share the Laughter did not do as well, but for a standup comedy album, it's sales were far from disappointing considering Intersound/CGI was on its last legs and soon closed.
Vickie Winans troubles with recording companies continued after Intersound/CGI closed and released her from her contract. In early 2000, she signed with Tommy Boy Gospel. Woman To Woman was scheduled as the third album in the trilogy, but the label folded before the album could be released.
at the invitation of her longtime friend Max Siegel who had assumed leadership of the label.
After a four-year hiatus, in 2003, Winans released Bringing It All Together which featured "Shake Yourself Loose", written and produced by her son, Mario. Leaving nothing to chance, she dipped deep into her own pockets to create a marketing strategy that most gospel labels would never spend on a project.
She spent well over $200,000 creating five music videos, hiring independent radio teams, promotional marketing teams and creating a 50 city-promotional concert tour to launch the CD.
The strategy paid off as the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard gospel music charts. It spent nine weeks at #1 and a full year in the Top 10. The album also garnered 8 Stellar Awards nominations, winning 5 and a Grammy nomination. Woman to Woman: Songs of Life, was released on August 8, 2006.
At the end of 2003, Vickie married businessman Joe McLemore. Most recently, Winans requested and was granted a release from her recording contract with Verity Records in order to pursue her independent venture, Destiny Joy Records.
"Right after I had my son, Coconut (Marvin Winans Jr.), I got pregnant with a little girl. We were planning to name her Destiny Joy Winans. Unfortunately, However, I miscarried during my fifth month and lost my baby who only weighed one pound.
I named that baby Marvlyn Loreal Winans after her father Marvin Lawrence Winans Sr and kept the name Destiny Joy alive - not knowing one day that I would start this label and name it after her."
Through Destiny Joy, she intends to release a fitness DVD titled Laugh While You Lose, a comedy DVD, and a Christmas album, in addition to releases from signees Denise Tichenor and Datisha Pickett.
Her profile on BET's Sunday morning TV series "Lift Every Voice" remains the most watched episode in that program's history with over 800,000 viewers.
Vickie lost her mother Evangelist Mattie Bowman on December 12, 2006.
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