Gospel powerhouse Beverly Crawford is not just a singer, but she's a preacher too! She and her husband Todd Crawfordtogether co-pastor the Gainesville Family Worship Center in Gainesville, Fla.
In the wake of the Bishop Eddie Long scandal and the amount of scrutiny on churchgoing Christians as a whole, Crawford is teaching her members that only God is perfect!
"It is critical that we place our hope in God and not in man because man is imperfect and is subject to moral failure. When you put your trust in man, you set yourself up for disappointment and discouragement. I tell the members all the time at our church to put their trust in God and to develop a relationship with Him for themselves. Pastor Beverly is flesh and blood and is subject to let them down but they can always depend on God," she told BV Buzz, before adding: "For He never fails!"
The 49-year-old vocalist won her first Stellar Award for "Traditional Female Vocalist of the Year" in 2009 for her CD, 'Live in Los Angeles - Vol. 1.' That album featured the hit song, 'He's Done Enough,' a tune Fantasia has performed on several television specials and during concerts.
Crawford shared with BV Buzz that she could relate to the 'American Idol' winner's recent suicide attempt and like Fantasia; she survived to tell the story.
"Like Fantasia, I've been in situations where I thought I just couldn't take it any longer and would rather give up on life than go on. I too attempted suicide but I thank God that I am still here," she confessed.
Though she hasn't seen Fantasia since the incident occurred, Crawford said that she's been constantly praying for the VH1 reality show star.
"I say to my sister Fantasia, 'don't give up! Trust God and love yourself! Use your testimony from this experience to encourage yourself and help someone else. The devil meant it for bad but God turned it around for good!' Hey, you gonna make me preach up in here," she sermonized. "Things will get better for Fantasia! All she has to do is trust in God and He will see her through everything. I love her and pray for her strength in the Lord daily, because she has such a great anointing on her life! Thank God we serve a God of a second chance!"
Many singers who also preach begin to lose vocal quality and range. That hasn't been the case with Crawford, whose energetic singing delivery and soaring range has earned her comparisons to Patti LaBelle.
"First of all, I thank my father for giving me his genes. As a preacher and singer, he rarely ever got hoarse, so it's certainly a gift from God that our family is blessed with strong voices and durability. But I definitely don't take my vocal gift for granted. The most important thing for me in taking care of my voice is getting plenty of rest. I also drink herbal tea which helps tremendously right before I sing. But getting lots of rest is the most important thing for me," she enlightened.
Fans can hear Crawford's vocal gift on her latest CD, 'Live in Los Angeles - Vol. 2' (JDI Records), which was released on Sept. 14 and features collaborations with Shirley Murdock, Shawn McLemore and her daughter, Trina Crawford.
"'Live in Los Angeles - Vol. 1' was such an awesome experience, so as we began planning for the follow-up project, going back to Los Angeles was a no-brainer. Bishop Kenneth and First Lady Ulmer at Faithful Central are dear friends so it was a natural choice. Like 'Vol. 1,' the atmosphere of 'Vol. 2' was simply electric! The atmosphere was set for praise and worship from the outset and the Lord just really showed up and showed out! What I like most about the recording is that the producers, Michael Bereal and Professor James Roberson, really allowed me to do what I do and just minister. The result is what you hear on the recording! Oh man, we danced, we cried, we praised, we worshipped and I believe that people are going to mightily blessed by the music and the message on 'Live in Los Angeles - Vol. 2,'" she expressed.
Crawford, who once sang with Dr. Bobby Jones' New Life Singers and was previously signed to Bishop T.D. Jakes' Dexterity Sounds Record Label, said ultimately she wants this CD to offer listeners hope during these tough times.
"With everything that is going on in the world, especially in the times we're living in, I want the people to know that 'It's About Time For a Miracle' in their lives. So no matter what you're going through – financial trouble, health challenges, marital problems, whatever – just hang in there and know that God has not forgotten you," she closed.
3/19/09: Rihanna / Chris Brown
Contrary to previous claims that Rihanna and Chris Brown reunited in the studio last month to record a new duet, record producer Polow Da Don recently confirmed that the couple recorded the newly surfaced track last year. "The reports are inaccurate," Polow's publicist, Laura Wright, told US magazine. "The duet was recorded long before the incident." According to People, the track, reportedly titled 'Bad Girl,' was intended to be on the soundtrack for 'Confessions of a Shopaholic,' but the song was eventually recorded by the Pussycat Dolls.
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3/19/09: Kanye West / The Dream
Seven years ago this month, music heavyweights R. Kelly and Jay-Z released their highly anticipated collaborative album 'The Best of Both Worlds.' Now it appears Kanye West and The Dream are vying to work on a similar project. "Everybody is trying to talk us into it," Dream told 'MTV News' of his and West's friends and business associates. "It was first thought of by me. I was in Miami at the time, and I gave Kanye a call and said, 'The best thing would be for me and you to do an album.'... Let's take the best of both worlds and put it on a CD and try to make something we can sell to the consumers. He says he's with it. We're gonna try to make it happen." For now, you can catch Kanye on Dream's potential third single 'Walking on the Moon,' which is featured on his newly released album 'Love vs. Money.'
3/19/09: The Miracles
Legendary Motown group The Miracles is the latest musical act to receive a Hollywood star on the world-renowned Walk of Fame. The 'Ooo Baby, Baby' singers were presented with the 2,381st star on March 20 by Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Leron Gubler. Motown founder Berry Gordy and Stevie Wonder were also on hand as guest speakers for the ceremony.
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3/19/09: Chester Gregory
After several years of blowing audiences away on the 'Great White Way,' Broadway Star and R&B soul recording artist Chester Gregory is preparing the release of his debut album 'In Search of High Love.' The March 31 release finds the multitalented singer introducing himself as a thoughtful and sensitive songwriter blessed with a voice that captivates and demands attention. "While I've thoroughly enjoyed performing on Broadway -- eight shows a week and telling other people's amazing stories -- now it's time for me to share my own," explained Gregory. Highlights of 'In Search of High Love' include the poetic 'Clouds to the Ground,' the crossover-bound 'Say it's Over' and Jackie Wilson's soaring 1967 chart-topper 'Higher and Higher.'
Jemal Countess, WireImage
3/19/09: Sammy Davis Jr. Altovise Davis, the widow of Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr. , recently died at the age of 65. Two days prior to her death, she was admitted to Los Angeles'Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after suffering a stroke. The couple, who met in 1967 on the set of the musical 'Golden Boy,' married in 1970 and remained together until Davis' untimely death of throat cancer in 1990.
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3/19/09: Earth, Wind & Fire
Iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Earth, Wind & Fire is set to hit the road this summer for a 30-city tour beginning June 5 in Orange Beach, AL. In addition to Maurice White and company gracing the stage will be pop-rock band Chicago, which will perform a full show before joining for a final set together, according to Billboard. The tour will conclude on Aug. 1 in Lake Tahoe, NV.
Santiago Llanquin / AP
3/19/09: Kim Burrell
Gospel vocalist Kim Burrell is on deck to release her first new album in nine years titled 'No Ways Tired.' The project's title is inspired by gospel pioneer James Cleveland's classic of the same name. In addition to covering Cleveland's hit, Burrell also tapped other timeless classics including 'My Faith Looks Up to Thee,' 'What a Friend We Have in Jesus,' 'O Lamb of God,' and 'I Surrender All.' There are also a few originals. 'No Ways Tired' is set to hit stores April 7 via Shanachie Records.
3/19/09: Mike Jones
Despite being on hiatus since the release of his debut album 'Who Is Mike Jones?' Houston's own Mike Jones is ready to make his mark on the charts once again with the release of 'The Voice.' Jones' sophomore effort is packed with some of the industry's most talented artist including, Lil' Wayne, T-Pain, Devin the Dude, Hurricane Chris and Twista. He's had recent success with his latest single 'Next To You,' which is currently number 16 on Radio and Records Rhythmic charts. "For the past four years, I have been doing a lot of restructuring, getting this record right, making sure my business is right and more," Jones said of his hiatus. "Now, I am ready to finish what I started. I'm hoping my fans will feel 'The Voice' was worth the wait." Mike Jones 'The Voice' is due in stores April 28.
Gilbert Carrasquillo, FilmMagic
With the recent announcement that Michael Jackson will return to the stage this summer, another influential artist is also planning to make his return. Beginning March 25, Prince will be performing on the 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno' for three consecutive nights. In addition, the 'Little Red Corvette' singer is also readying the Mar. 29 release of his two new albums 'LOtUSFLOW3R' and 'MPLSoUND.' Prince is the latest artist to promote a release through multiple late-night talk show performances. U2 also recently performed five nights in a row on the 'Late Show with David Letterman' in support of its new album 'No Line on the Horizon.'
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