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Yolanda Adams: Co-host of "How Sweet the Sound" (Interview)

Interviewed and written by Elder Lee M Harris, Sr

Elder Harris: Good morning Yolanda, how are you doing?
Yolanda Adams: Good morning! Fantastic, thank you so much!

EH: So we’re going to interview you this morning and try to get some information out on the new event.
YA: Yes, “How Sweet the Sound.”

EH: First of all, I’m Elder Lee M. Harris with Consciousness Magazine. I’d like to get started by asking about your involvement with “How Sweet the Sound.”
YA: This year I get the chance to co-host with Donald Lawrence who has been the main host of “How Sweet the Sound” for the past five years. “How Sweet the Sound” has been a Verizon project and now it is going to a bigger stage with huge audiences anywhere from five to fifteen thousand.

EH: With the community choirs being a part of this event, what is the motivation or what is expected to come from the community choir to be awarded?
YA: “How Sweet the Sound” awards like $50,000.00; so, anybody that has a chance to be in the last five has a chance. Verizon made sure that when they did the competition in every city, there was a cash award for the winner of that city and that winner gets a chance to compete in a two day finals. So there’s so many prizes that the choirs get such as new robes. The church gets recognition along with their pastors. So, Verizon really gives to the communities in a great way.

EH: You have a variety of sho-nuff singers there; you have Hezekiah, Fred Hammond, Erica Campbell, yourself, CeCe Winans, which is quite a choice! Did you guys actually put this thing together or did a committee choose you, because they have a great line-up here?
YA: I think Donald, the folks with “How Sweet the Sound,” Mr. Mars and the executive producers pretty much came together. Most of the people on the panel of judges have been there before such as CeCe. I think the only new ones are myself, Erica and maybe Fred Hammond.

EH: Is there anything else about “How Sweet the Sound” which is the main reason for our interview that you may want to share with us?
YA: I really appreciate the fact that “How Sweet the Sound” is taking it a step further and making sure that church choirs get the platform. A lot of times we know recording choirs and community choirs that are all over television and radio, but church choirs doesn’t really have that platform.

EH: It is a great opportunity for the church choir and as a matter of fact, it’s very seldom that you’ll see a church choir open the show for a particular gospel artist. Is there a deadline as far as the signing dates for the competition?
YA: Yes, the deadline is August 31, 2012, but go to howsweetthesound.com and they will give you everything it takes to be a part of it. Even if they can’t do it this year, there’s always next year.

EH: I would like to talk to you a little bit about Yolanda, it that okay?
YA: Yep!

EH: Yolanda you have twelve albums, did you write much of the music for the albums?
YA: Yes I did!

EH: I can tell because there are a lot of specifics in your music that actually takes me back. I do want to tell you that in 2003 I released a book called From Birth to Eternity and I dedicated that book to Yolanda Adams. It was in reference to the song, “Never Give Up!”
YA: Thank you so much, I appreciate that!

EH: I always wanted to tell you that, but God works in His own way and in his own time.
YA: It’s always so good to hear it, thank you so much sir!

EH: You are a native of Houston, Texas; tell me a little about growing up in Houston for Yolanda.
YA: Oh man, “fun!” I had a lovely God-fearing family. It was a fun house and I grew up with a really cool family where God would go to the skating rink with us. That’s how cool He was in our house. I’m glad I grew up that way and didn’t have any restrictions and limitations because I was always one that could do anything I put my mind to.

EH: Tell me about your American Gospel Music Award for a Contemporary Gospel Artist which you were the first?
YA: First of all, it was historic to be the first person to win one in the year the category was founded, “It was amazing!” What we do as artist is make music we hope people will enjoy, get people through the tough times and we make music that we hope gets people in a place of joy with God. There are a lot of people out there just like me that want to live their life in a way that not only does it please God, but it serves man.

EH: Tell me a little bit about what inspired you to do the Yolanda Morning Show.
YA: I am a single mom with an eleven year old daughter and of course she’s growing up and becoming such a wonderful young lady, a great student, she loves God and she’s just a ball of energy. It happened maybe seven years ago when I asked God to take me off the road and replace that income with something that I loved to do. My degree is in Radio TV Journalism, but I didn’t ask anything in specific. I told God that I got to be here for her and see her grow up. CeCe Winans and I had a conversation and she was saying that she loved the fact that I took Taylor everywhere I went because she missed that part of her daughter Ashley’s life because she and BeBe were on the road a lot. Thank God for her husband, but she was saying that if she could do anything again, that was what she would do. CeCe and I have been friends for years and I said, “You know God, that compliment was just for me!” There was a reason why that happened so it could make a way, so that I could stay at home Monday through Friday or Monday through Thursday and do my traveling on the weekend.

EH: So, you felt the peace?
YA:  Oh, I felt the peace then. See, I’m not one of those people that pray and say, “Oh God what are you going to do or how are you going to do it?” I pray and let Him do it because a lot of times we are so into trying to figure out how God is going to bless us that we miss the blessing of quiet. God will do it in His way and His way is perfect.

EH: I want to talk a little about your book, “The Points of Power.”
YA: The book is doing very well and was on the New York Times Best Sellers list which is going into a third printing, which is the first printing of it in paperback. We are really excited and working on our second book called, “Happy.” I’m a writer, so people know me for my writing when it comes to songs. I also write and teach the word of God, so it is easy for me to expound on a subject when people want to know well, “why are you so happy?”

I’ve had bishops ask me that question, “well how can I get my choir to do this or get my young ladies ministry to do that?” I would say, “All you have to do is make sure they look at their lives as a blessing and not a disaster!” A lot of times we look at what we don’t have, where we wish we were and how we want to look like Halley Berry and want to sound like Mahalia Jackson. You’re missing the beauty of who God created you to be. So that’s what the next book is going to be about, “happy where you are!”

EH: One other thing I want to run by you Yolanda is the song, “This Too Shall Pass.” Were you a part of the writing on that?
YA: I wasn’t a part of the writing, but I got a chance to do this wonderful project with a young lady named Cheryl Wagner. She’s a great writer in the CCM Market and we did this project called, “Sisters” -myself, CeCe Winans, Babbie Mason, Amy Grant, Kathy Troccoli and a whole lot of people. Crystal Lewis who was about nineteen years old got a chance to do the song as a duet. I said that whenever I got the chance, I was definitely going to do that song again as a solo because I love the song. I love the message of the song. “This Too Shall Pass” is an amazing song because sometimes people believe that it’s all over and they don’t believe they will ever make it anymore. So, it’s like, “no, no, no, no, This Too Shall Pass!”

EH: I put this song on CD for my Sister-in-law Yvonne, at the time she was 51 years old. She had cancer. This is the song she listened to until she went to the hospital and passed.
What’s strange is that the songs you didn’t write are all songs, that they seem to have known who to get to sing them and you expressed them very well.
YA: Thank you!

EH: Have there been any more of a contemporary change or update in the way you prepare a song?
YA: No. Song writing to me has a method, whether it’s first verse chorus, or verse verse verse chorus, there’s a science to it, but it all has to make sense to me as a gospel writer to make sense biblically.

EH: Well, in closing Yolanda, is there anything else you would like us to put out in reference to “How Sweet the Sound “ or to yourself dealing with personal projects?
YA: Definitely go to www.howsweetthesound.com and get tickets for the actual performances in your cities. We have a new CD titled “Becoming” in Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and wherever good music is sold. They can go to Yolanda Adams Live and check out everything that has to do with Yolanda.

EH: Well Yolanda, on behalf of myself and Consciousness Magazine, I’d like to say thank you for your time because that’s something that you can’t get back. We really appreciate the opportunity to put this information and most of all for myself getting the opportunity to talk with you and share some of the personal things concerning Yolanda Adams, your ministry and everything you’re doing.
YA: Thank you so much and I appreciate it Elder Harris!

EH: I’ll be talking with CeCe tomorrow.
YA: She a sweetie pie!

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Consciousness Magazine had the opportunity to interview Verizon's How Sweet The Sound hosts and judges. Here is what they had to say about this remarkable event as they travel to various cities around the country. These gospel artists also share valuable information regarding their life and career, in hopes to empower and enlighten our readers and their fans.

Donald Lawrence (Read Interview)
Fred Hammond (Read Interview)
Erica Campbell (Read Interview)
Hezekiah Walker (Read Interview)
CeCe Winans (Read Interview)
VaShawn Mitchell (Read Interview)