Le'Andria Johnson: A homeless mother now a Grammy winning star

Sunday 11th March 2012

Tony Cummings reports on the phenomenal rise of gospel diva Le'Andria Johnson

Le'Andria Johnson
Le'Andria Johnson

In America's gospel chart this week there is only one artist with two CDs in the Top 10. In fact, Le'Andria Johnson from Orlando, Florida has made a meteoric rise to gospel stardom. As her biography so rightly observes, "Le'Andria Johnson's journey to a recording career almost ran like the plot for a made-for-TV movie of the week as she overcame obstacles, hardships and personal disasters to get there. Born on 23rd January 1983, Johnson was the twice-divorced single mother of three children when she fell on hard times, losing her home to foreclosure the day before a friend convinced her to drive to New Orleans in a borrowed car to audition for the cable TV show Sunday Best. The daughter of a preacher, Johnson had sung in front of her father's congregations since she was two years old, but she had hardly considered a professional career as a gospel singer. Johnson arrived at the audition with little time to spare, and wearing flip-flops and the clothes she drove there in, she was amazed to be selected as a contestant. Johnson ended up being declared the winner at the end of the show's third season in 2010, a placing that not only came with the gift of a new car and a cash prize, but also a recording deal."

The 29 year old singer vividly remembers the Sunday Best audition. She told Associated Press how some of the contestants were staring at her. "The whole time, some were like 'Oh, what does she have on?' Or, 'Why does she dress like that?' I got those looks. I dealt with all that. I almost left. But it was a little voice in me that told me to stand [still]. From there, I've watched God change my life one episode at a time."

After winning Sunday Best, Le'Andria was signed by showbiz entrepreneur and father of Beyonce, Matthew Knowles, to Music World Gospel, in a joint venture with BET and the Sunday Best brand. Matthew said Johnson's soulful voice and honest lyrics remind him of Mary J Blige. "That's why fans are buying her music, because of her honesty. I call her the Mary J Blige of gospel music. She's just a real person. She's extremely raw sometimes."

The seven song 'The Awakening Of Le'Andria Johnson' topped Billboard's Gospel Albums chart when released in mid-September 2011 and has been there ever since. Now another seven song EP 'The Evolution Of Le'Andria Johnson' is at number two in the charts and fans can buy all 14 songs in an album package 'The Awakening Of Le'Andria Johnson DeLuxe'. In January Le'Andria won a Grammy Award as Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance for "Jesus" from 'The Awakening Of Le'Andria Johnson'. Needless to say, for her appearance on that stage, she was dressed beautifully. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


Reader Comments

Posted by Tamanda Garth in Aberdeen, MS @ 18:31 on Dec 6 2017

Better Days is my prayer request and what I have to look forward to. Thank you for allowing God to shine through you. Thank you for touching my life on so many different levels. I'm definitely looking forward to singing your song, "Better Days" one day. God bless you and may you always seek His face; always keep God first because that's what He loves.

Posted by Ndifreke in Nigeria @ 13:19 on Feb 22 2016

I have followed this Woman's rising and I know it's been God all the way, we would love to have you in Nigeria come minister to us, if you will

Posted by Joel cosby in ATLANTA. GEORGIA @ 03:25 on Jun 24 2015

L'eandria you are so anointing I had seen u on Your first Sunday best auditio . And you touch me so I love all your music I'm a praise dancer and I'm planning on doin a praise dance off of your song Jesus I love that song I all day on my phone I even have it on my fb I love u keep doing God work and keep blessing others with your gift thank you and may God continued to keep you !

Posted by virgie vines in greenville nc @ 22:27 on Mar 5 2015


Posted by Beatrice Barros in Laurel, MS @ 16:27 on Dec 9 2014

I hear your voice and your story you told its very touching i cry everytime i hear your voice i watching every sunday best episode god got you in his arms i am just excited about you please keepe in your prayers i am from Laurel, MS.

Posted by Monica Nelson @ 05:48 on Sep 27 2014

Amen it's something about the name JESUS and this young lady had defined it. Le'Andria your music is saving souls and changing life's, God continue to keep you in his ever lasting arms.

Posted by vivian allen in cleveland ohio @ 19:59 on Apr 4 2014

I enjoy your CD (the experience) so much I bought my. 45year old daughter one for herself and to share with her. Daughters (24 and 28)thank you and God Bless.

Posted by Chiquanda Fuller in Childersburg, AL @ 03:35 on Dec 27 2013

Lele fascinates me in almost every way because she reminds me much of myself. The majority of her struggles, I either have already experienced or I am currently experiencing them now. I cannot say I will ever be able to sing such as she but I will say, it is His gospel that takes to place of peace. I am most grateful that she has allowed Him to dwell in her spirit whereabouts she knows completely where her help comes from. Lele, please keep on ministering, it is reaching souls more than you may know. Thank you so much for being that vessel that God could use to do His will.

Posted by VANITO HOGGARD GOODM in SUFFOLK VA. @ 11:16 on Oct 2 2013


Posted by Shy Neal in Toledo Ohio @ 18:35 on Feb 23 2013

You have a true gift from god i was wondering when are you going to do a show in toledo.

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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