ANDREA CROUCH TALK ABOUT MICHAEL JACKSON IN GHANA
Both Andrae’s artistic integrity and musical acumen are backed up by a lifetime of experience, a rich history that encompasses many of the most significant musical moments of the last half-century. Hailing from Los Angeles, Andrae cut his creative teeth singing and playing piano in his father’s church. Despite being entirely self-taught, he was writing his own songs by age ten and went on to form the Church Of God In Christ Singers along with keyboard great Billy Preston and his sister Sandra Crouch.
It was in the mid-Sixties that he brought together a fledgling group more of young vocalists and musicians to create the world-renowned Disciples, writing, arranging and producing music that transformed the appeal and artistry of gospel music forever.
As the leader and creative spark of The Disciples, Andrae’s God-given gifts earned him an international following unprecedented among gospel artists. During their two-decade tenure, they performed for sold out crowds in over 50 countries, and recorded such enduring gospel classics as “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” “Through It All” and “Bless His Holy Name,” – all written by Andrae. Another Crouch original, “My Tribute” has been covered by over 600 artists around the globe. Garnering an international audience both young and old, black and white, and of every conceivable musical persuasion, Andrae Crouch & The Disciples were, in the truest sense of the term, authentic originals.
But Andrae was just getting started. Launching a solo career in the mid-Eighties, he would go on to leave his distinctive musical mark as a writer and arranger on chart topping hits that effortlessly crossed the pop/gospel divide, working with everyone from Madonna to Diana Ross to Elton John – and a host of others. As founder of the famed Andrae Crouch Singers, he oversaw the group’s pivotal participation on Quincy Jones’ landmark 1990 release, Back On The Block. The group would also be front and center on both Michael Jackson’s smash “Man In The Mirror,” for which Andrae served as a vocal arranger, as well as Jackson’s much-anticipated 2001 comeback album, Invincible. He also made notable contributions to the soundtracks of such hit films as The Color Purple (again collaborating closely with Quincy Jones); The Lion King; and Free Willy, for which he wrote yet another Michael Jackson hit, “You Will Be There.”
Such outstanding contributions to the musical state of the art naturally led to numerous awards and honors, including no less than eight Grammy’s and a recent induction into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame. In 2005, he received a Life Time Achievement Award at the inaugural Salute To Gospel Music held by NARAS in Los Angeles. In 2004, he became the only living contemporary gospel artist to have his star enshrined in the prestigious Hollywood Walk Of Fame, and only the third gospel artist in history to receive the honor.
Andrae is an electrifying live performer with a global reputation and has played in over 68 countries and consistently sells out concert venues in Asia, America and Europe. In South Africa, a longtime Crouch stronghold, a local gospel choir even named themselves after him. In Norway, Andrae served as a special guest performer on several projects with the Oslo Gospel Choir, which featured many of his classic recordings.
Such is his stature among his peers that, in 1996, a host of contemporary Christian stars, including The Winans, Ce Ce Winans, Twila Paris, Michael W. Smith and Bryan Duncan gathered to pay him a unique tribute on an album titled, appropriately, Tribute: The Songs Of Andrae Crouch, which received a Grammy Award.
Yet, for all his conspicuous success, Andrae was never far from the source of his musical inspiration and remained dedicated to the enduring spiritual principles that are the bedrock of his faith. That faith was severely tested when, in the late Nineties, he suffered the untimely death of his mother, his father and his brother and made the momentous choice to assume leadership of the church his parents had founded.
Since then, Andrae has divided his time between his musical career and serving as Co-Pastor with his twin sister, Sandra Crouch of Christ Memorial Church in the San Fernando Valley, which was originally established by his father. “It was a clear call from God,” he says of his decision. “Some might say it was a humbling thing to do, but I don’t see it that way. Music is still a big part of what happens in the sanctuary every Sunday and whether it’s 1,000 thousand people or 10,000 people, the Spirit moves the same way.”
Over the past several years, Andrae has continued to spread his musical ministry around the world through live performances in Japan, South Africa, Scandinavia, and Germany and throughout the US. This year he’s already committed to performing in Ghana, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, and Nigeria. He also continues to collect more honors. Last year he received the Pioneer in Gospel Music
Award from the NABOB (National Association Of Black Owned Broadcasters), and this year received a similar Pioneer Award from BMI acknowledging his illustrious contributions as an award-winning songwriter. He also contributed musical arrangements to international pop star Mika’s last CD, and to the documentary, FOR THE LOVE OF LIBERTY, hosted by Halle Berry, which chronicles history of African-American’s in the armed forces. The documentary will be televised nationally on PBS-TV. And last June, he directed a 35-member adult choir and 25-member youth choir that performed at his long time friend and pop icon Michael Jackson’s memorial service. And in 2008, he starred in his own television special,
ANDRAE CROUCH AND FRIENDS, with special guests Yolanda Adams, Walter Hawkins, and Natalie Cole. The special was produced by Feed The Children, and was broadcast on all their affiliated networks to help raise funds for the organization’s ongoing international relief efforts to fight hunger and starvation of impoverished and deprived children and families around the world.
Andrae is currently writing and producing new material for his next album, and is excited about entering yet another decade in his incomparable career. “It doesn’t matter what I’m doing,” he revealed, “I still have to look to God for strength and guidance and encouragement. And he’s never let me down yet.”
Source: Kwadwo Yeboah BREMAN