Annatoria: The Zimbabwe-born R&B gospel diva

Monday 27th November 2023

The Voice UK winner ANNATORIA demonstrates she's prepared for the long haul. Tony Cummings reports.

You've heard her on the radio (check out her "Stay With Me" single). You've seen her on TV (it seems only yesterday that she won The Voice UK TV contest). Now she's preparing for her second album release. Clearly things are moving upwards for Annatoria, or to give her her birth name, Blessing Annatoria Chitapa. The captivating music of the R&B gospel singer with a hint of Afrobeat has caught all our attention. Born in Harare, Zimbabwe and relocating to Dudley, West Midlands when she was seven years old, Annatoria was raised in church and learned to love and follow the Lord Jesus. It was music that gave her direction in her teenage years. She said, "I grew up on a lot of gospel music, from powerful musicians such as Tasha Cobbs, Donnie McClurkin and Kierra Sheard. These musicians inspired me to use my gift as a vocal piece for the good news. Singing hymns also played a big part in moulding me to be the singer and person that I am today."

Entering the TV talent search The Voice UK in 2020 proved to pivotal and her stunning performances of R&B and pop standards ended up in her winning the competition and being signed to Island Records. On 12th March 2021 they released her stunning version of "I Smile", the song penned by gospel music maestro Kirk Franklin, followed in April by her debut album 'Count My Blessings' on which her rendition of the modern worship classic "In Christ Alone" is truly uplifting.

Now her "Stay With Me" single is showing again that the British Church is able to produce singers as good, or better, than any artist on the international music scene. 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.


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