(Soundbite of music)

Ms. VICKIE WINANS: (Singing) As long as I've got King Jesus. As long as I've got King Jesus. As long, as long, as long as I've got him, don't need nobody else. Come on.

ED GORDON, host:

She's been called the hardest working women in gospel and Vickie Winans has the resume to prove it. Among her many titles--producer, singer, actress, songwriter and playwright--Vickie is also known for her dynamic presence on stage. She's in the midst of the Vickie Winans Rising Star Tour, but she's taken time out to talk to us from our hometown of Detroit.

Vickie, good to have you.

Ms. WINANS: Hi, Ed. How are you?

GORDON: I'm good. How you doing?

Ms. WINANS: I'm so blessed.

GORDON: You're springing out with the Rising Star Tour and I know that's close to your heart because not only does it give your fans an opportunity to see you but it really is seeking out new gospel talent.

Ms. WINANS: Yes, it is, Ed. Three different component to the tour. Number one, we want to teach our young people and everybody about financial stability, and if you do have back credit, we take you to the credit emergency room and get you all fixed up. But then they also have the talent search portion where you can win a two-year lease on a 2006 Chrysler 300C and also you will be the first artist on my new record label, which is Destiny Joy Records. And when you sign, you'll get a $10,000 signing bonus.

GORDON: You and I have known each other for a long, long time now and I know that there was a time where, you know, you had vocal surgery. There was a question of whether you'd be able to sing or not and you dealt with divorce in your life, though you and Marvin have remained amicable in raising your kids and the like, but you faced many of the problems that so many of us face. I would imagine at a point it may have even tested your faith, but I'm sure faith is what brought you through. What do you tell people as they go through these kinds of things?

Ms. WINANS: Everything needs a different kind of prescription, and the one prescription that you always use is the faith and the trust that you have in the Lord. You have to continue to have faith in God to believe that he can continue to bring you through this stuff because, Ed, I'm going to tell you, it'll take you under, and to listen to the music of the gospel artists and whatever music that you choose to help to sooth situations. Trust me, continue to take those prescriptions and apply them to your everyday life, and God and heaven knows that's the only way you can make it through.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) He ...(unintelligible) inside. All just about my (unintelligible).

GORDON: You know what's amazing? And I was going to bring that aspect up to you, the idea of prayer and music, the medicinal purpose of music and prayer to so many people. Talk to me about the importance of music in helping and allowing people to get through hard times.

Ms. WINANS: Well, I'm going to tell you something that my mom is going through dialysis three times a week, and the other day, Ed, they were just changing her shunt. And as she was lying there on the bed, they did take her under, and as they were trying to pull the shunt out, her heart rate started raising, raising, raising and she just flat-lined just like that. And it happened so fast until the doctors had to beat her in her chest. They didn't even have time to get defibrillators, beat her in her chest to bring her heart back. The Lord brought her back. I got off the plane and they hit me with that. I had to go to a song--I went to a song that I had in my bac--one of my old songs. (Singing) `There's not a friend like the Lord.' It's an old one but it's a good one. You know what I'm saying? So that's where music can come in and relieve some of the stress that you're feeling for these everyday situations. I mean, that's why artists should be so careful when they sing those songs because it's always about helping people. If you're not going to help anybody--some songs are cool, you know, to dance to, but make sure that the lyrics are great like "You Shake Yourself Loose."

(Soundbite from "You Shake Yourself Loose")

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Don't jump, don't start to shaking. Those chains you start to breaking.

Backup Singers: I want you to know...

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Yeah.

Backup Singers: ...know about your breakthrough.

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Jesus.

Backup Singers: Jesus is the king...

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Oh, yeah.

Backup Singers: ...and gave them to you.

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Here's what you've got to do.

Backup Singers: Shake loose...

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Yeah.

Backup Singers: ...everything thing that binds you up.

GORDON: Vickie, what is it about you personally that has with this tour the financial message? I know a few years back, you were talking about diabetes and your mom. You make sure that, as Tom Joyner has said, we party with the purpose, so the music brings beyond the soothing of just the song something that they can work with on a day-to-day basis. What makes you want to do that?

Ms. WINANS: Well, it's because I'm a giver. I am a philanthropist whether it's tangible or whether it's with my knowledge or just in my smile. And to be able to watch people--we had our first show in Detroit at the State Theatre. We're coming back to Masonic for the finale show, but 3,000 screaming people were there. It just makes me cry to be able to help people in whatever way. I mean, I love to help the Detroit Rescue Mission. If I'm not giving, I'm not living.

GORDON: Let me ask you one other question before we let you go, Vickie, and this is most important I think. There are so many people out there who catch the dream of wanting to be a celebrity, a star, but there is a business side to show business. And one of the things and one of the most interesting aspects that I think can be learned through your career is you have taken hold of your career and are guiding it and doing a lot of the things that people pay others and ofttimes unscrupulous others. Talk to me about that a bit.

Ms. WINANS: People think that their voices and their vocal cords are going to get them to where they need to go. Honey, let me just reassure you, hit you right in the top of the head. In Detroit, Michigan, alone, on every street corner, in every church, there is a talent, but it's not just about your vocals. You have to be savvy. You have to be smart and also get the attention of corporations like McDonald's and the corporations that I've gone with, with Quaker Oats. I was with them for six years. And then Chrysler Financial--these are phenomenal billion-dollar companies that come over into the gospel music. And to be able to get that, it's not just because you can sing so good. They're looking at something else that you may possibly have that could bless them and also bless yourself. And I do. I manage myself. I book myself. And it's working for me, and I thank God for it. It's a blessing.

GORDON: Well, it don't hurt that you can show enough sing, girl, and that's part of it. The latest CD is called "Bringing It All Together." Vickie Winans, you've already had a huge hit with "Shake Yourself Loose," and one of the interesting songs on here--all of us remember this song--"Happy and You Know It."

Ms. WINANS: Yeah, Lord.

GORDON: So for those of you who immediately hear that, it takes you back to your youth and that's always fun. And the tour is Vickie Winans Rising Star Tour. Look for it as it hits 10 cities across the country.

Vickie, always good to talk to you.

Ms. WINANS: I love you, Ed.

(Soundbite from "Happy and You Know It")

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Now if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.

GORDON: There's video of Vickie Winans' performance live at a recent church appearance on our Web site. You can find it at npr.org.

(Soundbite from "Happy and You Know It")

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) You can do it.

Backup Singers: If you're happy...

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Oh, yeah.

Backup Singers: ...and you know it, clap your hands.

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Well, if you're happy, let me know it, stomp your feet.

Backup Singers: Your feet.

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Oh, pick them up, put them down, you can stomp your feet.

Backup Singers: Your feet.

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Stomp your feet. Stomp your feet.

Backup Singers: Your feet.

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Come on give us a hand.

Backup Singers: If you're happy and you know it, stomp your feet.

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) Well, if...

GORDON: Thank you for joining us. That's our program for today.

To listen to this show, visit npr.org. If you'd like to comment, log on to npr.org and click on `contact us' or give us a call at (202) 408-3330. NEWS & NOTES was created by NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium.

(Soundbite from "Happy and You Know It")

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) ...turn around and say amen.

Backup Singers: Amen.

Ms. WINANS: (Singing) If you're happy and you know it, you are forced to clap your hands, stomp your feet, turn around and say amen.

Backup Singers: Amen.

GORDON: I'm Ed Gordon. This is NEWS & NOTES.

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