Tony Cummings reports on the unexpected re-emergence of Detroit's 3 WINANS BROTHERS
The emergence of 3 Winans Brothers brings back into the spotlight one of the greatest success stories in the history of gospel music. The extended family from Detroit has seen extraordinary success with the four-man group The Winans and brother and sister duo BeBe & CeCe Winans catapulting songs of faith into the modern world of pop and R&B. Now with 3 Winans Brothers, consisting of BeBe, Marvin and Carvin, releasing a much praised album 'Foreign Land' there are obviously more twists in the convoluted Winans dynasty tale.
Since BeBe Winans split from CeCe in 1995 this most arresting of soulful baritones has enjoyed numerous ups and downs in his public and private life. Signed to Motown Records in 2000 his mainstream projects didn't do as well as expected while his short-lived record label The Movement Group again rather underachieved. Some acting appearances in films were recently followed by BeBe writing a play about his journey to stardom with CeCe (tentatively titled From Detroit To Pineville). In fact, in recent times singing has taken a back seat. He told Essence magazine, "I stopped singing for a long time because it just wasn't something I was very passionate about."
The Winans group (originally Marvin, Carvin, Ron and Michael) ceased functioning in 2009 with the death of Ron Winans. Then in 2013 an idea struck BeBe and he phoned pastor and singer Marvin and suggested the possibility of forming 3WB (3 Winans Brothers). BeBe, of course, had never been a member of The Winans. He recalled, "What's funny is I never wanted to be in their group, but I always supported it. I used to drive for them before CeCe and I started our group. Long story short is that we understood that with the passing of my brother Ron, The Winans was done as The Winans. I had told CeCe for a while 'I'm about to quit. I'm tired of going out. . .' So afterward, an idea hit me and the funny thing is it hit my brother Marvin at the same time. . . I'm very excited about the material we've done. I think it's going to speak to this generation."
3WB brought in two top producers, Daniel Weatherspoon (Marvin Winans, VaShawn Mitchell) and Rodney Jerkins (Lady Gaga, Ciara), and began working on songs. One of them was released as the powerful single "I Really Miss You". The song had actually been written by BeBe in memory of the Winans' late brother Ronald and first performed following Marvin's emotional eulogy at Whitney Houston's 2012 funeral. The track followed 3 Winans Brothers' extraordinary 2013 debut single, "If God Be For Us", and the vibrant, brass-driven "Move In Me", which proved a Gospel radio hit upon its release earlier this year. Written by Marvin and featuring Earth Wind & Fire's world-famous Phenix Horns, the "Move In Me" radio single was produced by Daniel Weatherspoon and remixed by the Grammy-winning producer Warryn Campbell (Mary Mary, Alicia Keys).
To promote "Move In Me" a star-studded video was shot with guest appearances from several longtime Winans friends and fans including Mike Tyson, Terry Crews, MC Hammer and Sugar Ray Leonard. 3 Winans Brothers made their live debut at last year's historic 50th Anniversary March On Washington ceremonies, performing "If God Be For Us" at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Penned by BeBe Winans, "If God Be For Us" is one of the standout tracks on 'Foreign Land'. Also on the album is "Dance" on which the legendary Clark Sisters guest. On its release BeBe told Examiner.com's AXS Entertainment, "It's really been a joy and I think it's something special. We took our time and wrote songs, it was like a breath of fresh air."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.