Andrae Crouch's musical 'Journey' is far from over

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It has been said that gospel music legend Andrae Crouch makes the kind of music that touches you in the pit of the heart.

It is music, according to another legend, Rance Allen, that people love because of the impact it has on a person when they hear it.

“God has truly blessed him with the ability to do a gospel music that is pleasing,” said Allen. “And not only that, it has longevity written all over it.”

For Crouch, it has simply been him expressing just how good God has been to him and his thankfulness for God’s love.

“It all seems like a fairytale,” said the Grammy award winner. “I am so thankful that God has favored me and opened so many doors.”

Five years since his last project, Crouch is releasing a new CD, Journey. Crouch enlisted the creativity and talents of Kim Burrell & Take 6, Chaka Khan and Sheila E, along with Allen and Pastor Marvin Winans for his newest project.

“Every song is different,” he said. “I did not want to try and be something that I am not on this project. I wanted to be true to myself and who I am as a musician and communicator.”

Even though Crouch is lauded for him impact and influence on the gospel music industry, he continues to be humbled. He finds himself a fan of great singers and talent, and oftentimes finds himself acting as a fan to such artists as Winans and Burrell.

He said Winans blew him away, as well as Burrell.

“I was surprised that some of these people said yes when I asked them to be a part of this project,” he said. “I have always loved their music, their concepts, and the gift that God has given them. I did not think they would be so willing to sing a song with me or for me.”

Crouch laughs as he remembers how Burrell got involved. He ran into her one day and she asked him, “When are you going to let me sing on one of your records, boy?”

He told her he was working on Journey and asked if she was really serious.

”’Are you kidding,’ she said to me. God has opened so many doors for me,” he said. “I am so grateful that the Lord has favored me to be acquainted me with such wonderful talent. ”
Allen understands the shock and awe that Crouch experiences. He said being able to reach such different generations is an unexplainable type of joy.

For more than 50 years Allen has been involved in gospel music in some capacity. Crouch came on the scene around 1960.

“I don’t want to sound too churchy or anything, but I believe the Lord has allowed me and the people around me to keep our fingers on the pulse of the day,” Allen said. “I think it is due to a genuine love for people and the fact that we do want to be relevant.”

Allen’s long career has allowed him to witness the several shifts in gospel music over the years. He said he could see the shift back in the day when Crouch made his entrance from the days of Mahalia Jackson and Roberta Martin.

He remembers a time when gospel music was only played for a couple hours on Sunday mornings on the radio.

“Now our music is being played every day,” he said. “We were just doing it because we loved doing it.”

As it pertains to Crouch and his influence, Allen said Crouch’s incredible ability to play music is a God-given talent. Any gospel music artist would pray and hope that God would give them that kind of music that would be that touching and long lasting as well, he said.

“I have been around Andrae and just sitting at the piano. You give him a line and he could play a whole song around it,” he said. “We have had that kind of relationship that has been gratifying when we see each other. Whenever I see him I know I am looking at a true man of God.”

Crouch believes one of the ways of becoming successful and staying relevant today in the industry is for artists to keep hold of the gift God has blessed them with.

He said when they started out, churches and audiences wanted to witness their walk with God.
“Pastors would send representatives to our shows or to meet us to see what our priorities were,” he said. “When they knew we were focused on wanting to save people, they booked us. We never needed a place to sing, God open up those doors.”

Some would suggest that gospel music has been more influenced by the world than gospel has influenced the world. This opinion angers Crouch, he said.

“I hope we do not get too far out there that people can’t see Jesus in us by just talking to us,” he said. “I love good music with a beat, whether it is hip or not. I do not like that we try to look like everybody that we liken the world. I want people who love the Lord stand out. We should not be ashamed to stand out.”

Words to consider from someone Allen consider a gospel music hero.

“The world is so much better because of Andrae Crouch,” Allen said.