The numbers tell part of the story of CeCe Winans and her stellar career: 15 Grammy awards, 31 Grammy nominations, 29 Dove awards, 15 Stellar Awards, just to name a few. Plus, she’s sold 17 million records worldwide.
The Christian music veteran counts a different legacy, however. She’s grateful for all God has done in her life over the years.
“I’m very humbled and amazed about what God has done,” she said. “And then the other thought is, wow, you know, I’ve been doing this now for, I’m 58 years old and I started professionally when I was about 17, so I’ve been in the industry for a long time. So, I’m blown away again not just by the accomplishments, but how long I’ve been doing this.”
Winans started her career in her home church in Detroit but began singing professionally every day on the Jim and Tammy Bakker Show. She remembers the dresses they had to wear, which her son reminded her of after watching old YouTube clips of her.
“He came to me laughing after watching the clips,” she explained. “I thought to myself not only how long that had been but that he was laughing at his mother.” Despite her career successes, Winans doesn’t take herself too seriously.
She’s now in the middle of a nationwide tour and has released a new book, Believe for It, which is based on her acclaimed new song of the same title.
When considering why she’s still singing and telling her story, Winans goes back to her roots and her calling.
“People are asking me, ‘What keeps you going?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, the same thing that started me. You know, I love God. I love his people. I love worship.’ I’ve never sat back and said, ‘Oh, well, we’ve done this and that.’ You’re always trying to evolve into something more. You’re trying to become what God wants you to be so that you’ll be ready for whatever door that he opens.
“It is a blessing that people still even want to hear what I have to say or hear me sing a note, you know?”
“I realize it is a blessing that people still even want to hear what I have to say or hear me sing a note, you know? So, sometimes that hits me like, whoa, OK, it’s been over 40 years and I’m still relevant. People feel like I’m still relevant.”
With that many years of ministry behind her, she’s reaching new generations with her music.
“I thank God for all the people who grew up with me, you know? So now I’m a grandmother, so I go to the concerts now, and I tell people in the concerts that it started out with, ‘Hey, can you give me your autograph?’ Then it goes to, ‘My mom would love your autograph.’ And now it’s like, ‘My grandmother would like your autograph.’”
That’s fine with her. She’s thankful to have people who have journeyed with her and is hoping when they see her in concert that they will join her in singing and in worship of the God who gave her the music.
“I want people to experience and encounter Jesus when they hear me sing,” she said. “So, that’s my prayer. That’s what I fasted for. That’s what I had intercessors praying for. It was extra praying on this record because this was during the pandemic when we knew people wanted to give up. When we knew people had lost loved ones. When I knew people did not need to be entertained. But they really needed a touch from God. They needed to experience his presence.
“They did not need to just hear me sing. They needed to hear and experience the power of God.”
“To hear the testimonies while on tour, it’s been exciting hearing how God’s been faithful to the people on the other side of the album listening to the music God gave me. I’m so blessed that people are being blessed, because they did not need to just hear me sing. They needed to hear and experience the power of God.”
She continued: “It’s been a joint oneness during the concert, unified praise every single night. They come in, I mean they’re crying, singing, you know, all my life you’ve been faithful. And the miracles people have been really expecting when they sing, “Believe for It.” It’s been a mighty move of God every night.
“So, I leave off totally floored, blessed by his presence but hearing the testimonies of the people. But it’s because they came expecting something from God.”