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Another in the line of gospel artists putting the soul and fervor back in R&B music, Yolanda Adams was a school teacher in Houston during the mid-'80s and occasionally did modeling work. Her mother had studied music while at college, so Adams grew up listening to jazz and classical music as well as gospel artists such as James Cleveland and the Edwin Hawkins Singers and R&B vocalists like Stevie Wonder and Nancy Wilson.
Yolanda Adams' debut album, Just as I Am appeared in 1988 on Sounds of Gospel. Though she was initially criticized in the Christian community for embracing secular music and fashion to accompany her gospel-themed music, the growth of publicly popular gospel in the mid-'90s pushed her into the spotlight; Adams toured with Kirk Franklin & the Family, and her 1996 album Yolanda Live in Washington was nominated for a Grammy. Songs From the Heart followed in 1998, and a year later she returned with Mountain High Valley Low which topped her live album by winning a Grammy. In 2000 she ventured into new territory by issuing a Christmas album, A Yolanda Adams Christmas. Experience followed a year later.
Yolanda Yvette Adams (born August 27, 1961) is an American gospel singer, record producer, actress, and radio host on WBLS. As of September 2009, she had sold 4.5 million albums since 1991 in the United States, and nearly 8 million albums worldwide according to SoundScan.
On December 11, 2009, Billboard Magazine named her the No. 1 Gospel Artist of the last decade. In the same chart, her album Mountain High...Valley Low was acknowledged as the best gospel album."Ask Billboard: Madonna, Yoko Ono, Gospel". Billboard. September 18, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2010. "Billboard Decade End Charts, Gospel Artists". Billboard. December 11, 2009. Retrieved March 27, 2010. "Billboard Decade End Charts, Gospel Albums". Billboard. December 11, 2009. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
The oldest of six siblings, Adams was born in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Sterling High School in Houston in 1979. After graduating from Texas Southern University, she began a career as a schoolteacher and part-time model in Houston. Eventually she gave up teaching to perform full-time as a lead singer."Distinguished Alumni". Houston Independent School District. "About TSU > TSU Administration > Office of the President > Welcome". Texas Southern University. June 29, 2006. "Yolanda Adams — The Experience". GospelCity.com. April 23, 2001.
ContentsMusical career1.1 Beginnings1.2 Mainstream breakthrough1.3 Day By Day1.4 Morning radio show and book release1.5 Becoming1.6 New Album
Adams first attracted the attention of Thomas Whitfield and Sound of Gospel Records as a lead singer with Houston's Southeast Inspirational Choir affiliated with the Church of God in Christ, under the direction of Carl Preacher, Brenda Waters, and Shirley Joiner. The choir released the single in 1982 "For My Liberty" with Adams as the featured vocalist. In 1986, Adams was featured on the Edwin Hawkins Music and Arts Seminar Choir released Give Us Peace, with a performance entitled "My Trust Lies In You". Later, she signed a recording contract with Sound of Gospel which yielded her first album Just As I Am in 1987. In 1990, she was discovered by producer/keyboardist Ben Tankard, and signed to his independent label Tribute Records and released Through The Storm. Tankard's goal with Tribute Records during this time was to develop an audience for a smoother gospel/jazz sound. He featured Yolanda's jazzy vocals on his album and concept video single "You Bring Out The Best In Me" on his 1994 release Play Me In Your Key. The collaboration received positive response from gospel, jazz and "quiet storm" formats.
One year later, Adams followed with Save the World, which included her first signature song "The Battle Is The Lord's". Her next release was 1995's More Than a Melody, which featured more production work from Tankard with contributions from O'Landa Draper, and BeBe Winans. The single "Gotta Have Love," from that album featuring Tony Terry on background vocals, gained mainstream notoriety and was her first single and music video. Yolanda... Live In Washington, released the following year, featured versions of material from her first three albums. The footage from this recording was released as a collection of two videos on VHS initially, and later as a single set on DVD and CD. During this time Tribute Records' parent company Diadem Music Group merged with Benson Music Group, which was eventually bought by New York-based Zomba/Verity Records.
Songs from the Heart was her final release for Verity Records, including "Only Believe", which was popular songs on contemporary radio. The album also included "Still I Rise," a dedication to Rosa Parks, which was inspired by the Maya Angelou poem of the same name.
Adams' first significant attention outside the urban contemporary gospel arena came with the release of Mountain High... Valley Low in 1999 on Elektra Records. Several mainstream artists and producers helped in the production of this album including Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson, Boyz II Men), James "Big Jim" Wright (Mariah Carey, Nicole C. Mullen), Warryn Campbell (Mary Mary, Brandy), and Keith Thomas (BeBe & CeCe Winans). The album went 2x Platinum in 2000 and won Adams a Grammy Award. Notable singles from the album include "Yeah", "Fragile Heart", and "Open My Heart". "Fragile Heart", was dedicated to the memory of Adams' long-time road manager, who died in 1998.
In 2000, Adams released a Christmas album, and in 2001 she released a live album (The Experience). The Experience netted Adams a second Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. Believe, which included the hit "Never Give Up" was released in 2001 and reached gold status according to the RIAA. She would later go on to perform this song at "The Salute to Gospel Music" at the White House during President George W. Bush's administration. In 2001, Adams also released a compilation CD entitled The Divas of Gospel; it included the legendary Grammy Award winner Albertina Walker, who is considered the "queen of gospel music".
Adams recorded a song for the 2003 film Honey entitled "I Believe", which played during the last scene in the final dance.
Adams was also a judge for the 2nd annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers. She is also credited as the Queen of Contemporary Gospel Music.
Day By Day
After nearly four years without releasing an album, Adams returned in 2005 with Day By Day. Although charting higher than Mountain High...Valley Low on the Billboard 100 and Billboard R&B Albums chart, it did not receive RIAA certification. The album featured the singles "Be Blessed," "Someone Watching Over You," "This Too Shall Pass", and "Victory" (which was prominently featured in the movie The Gospel).
After ending her long association with Atlantic Records, Atlantic released a greatest hits collection entitled The Best of Me in May 2007.
Adams signed with Columbia Records in 2007. Columbia released What a Wonderful Time, her second holiday collection, in October 2007. "Hold On" was released as the lead single.
Morning radio show and book release
After the release of "What a Wonderful Time", Adams embarked on the radio market with her "The Yolanda Adams Morning Show" On New York's hit gospel station, WBLS. The show proved to be a huge success, taking over 26 markets in just two years. Currently, the show is heard in 39 markets. In 2014, Emmis Communications, a radio and publishing company purchased WLIB.
On December 25, 2009, Adams performed on BET's The Mo'Nique Show, where she sang "Already Alright," from her 1999 Mountain High...Valley Low album. Mo'Nique stated that the song is one of her favorites.
In 2010, Adams released her book "Points of Power", based on one of the segments of her radio show Points of Power.
Yolanda Adams appeared on the 2011 BET Honors to sing her signature song "The Battle Is the Lord's" in honor of Cicely Tyson. Later, Adams appeared at the  53rd Grammy Awards, taking part in a tribute to Aretha Franklin, along with Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine, and Martina McBride Adams performed "Spirit in the Dark" - Franklin's classic from 1970. On several occasions, Franklin stated that she "especially loved" Yolanda's performance. On May 29, 2011, Yolanda sang at the prestigious National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, DC, to honor the U.S. soldiers.
Adams' eleventh studio album, Becoming, was released on May 3, 2011 produced by Steve Bracey. The new single, "Be Still", by Drathoven, debuted on Tuesday, April 19 on the Yolanda Adams Morning show. Becoming was released by Walmart as an exclusive deal. At The BET Awards 2012, Adams' won the award for Best Gospel Artist for the 4th time in her career having won the most since the first BET Awards in 2001.
On an April 2013 episode of BET's "Lift Every Voice," Adams' announced that she was working on her twelfth studio album. The album title and release date has yet to be announced, but she announced songwriting and producing credits from the likes of super gospel producers Donald Lawrence, Israel Haughton & Kirk Franklin. She also mentioned a song and studio session with Grammy, Billboard & ASCAP award-winning global hit songwriter Diane Warren (Whitney Houston, Patti Labelle, Tina Turner, Elton John)."Yolanda Adams". CBN Music. Retrieved February 20, 2008. "Yolanda Adams: Mountain High... Valley Low Review". GospelFlava.com. Retrieved February 20, 2007. "Past Judges". Independent Music Awards. Retrieved November 20, 2013. "Aretha Franklin reveals weight loss secrets". Daily Mail (London). March 6, 2011. Retrieved March 6, 2011. "Aretha Franklin on the Wendy Williams Show". March 6, 2011. Retrieved March 6, 2011.
Adams released her first book Points of Power in 2010. It is a Christian book in reference to living a pure, spirit-filled Christian life.
The Yolanda Adams Morning Show on radio
Adams is the host of The Yolanda Adams Morning Show, which currently airs on Urban Gospel stations owned by Radio One.
Morning Show cities and affiliates as of July 21, 2009"Yolanda's Music Box". Radio One and MediaSpan. Archived from the original on January 20, 2008. Retrieved January 23, 2008.
In 1997, Yolanda Adams married former NFL player Tim Crawford. The couple divorced in August 2004 after seven years. Adams and Crawford had one daughter, Taylor Adams Crawford, born in 2001.
Adams served as a spokesperson for the FILA Corporation's Operation Rebound, a program that addressed the concern of inner-city schoolchildren."Yolanda Adams Biography". Christianmusic.about.com. August 27, 1961. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
AwardsMain article: List of awards received by Yolanda Adams
In total, Adams has won four Grammy Awards, sixteen Stellar Gospel Music Awards, four of the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards, one American Music Award, seven NAACP Image Awards, one Soul Train Music Award, and five BET Awards.