SR Gospel: Smokie Norful Almost Gave Up Gospel!, Plus Vanessa Bell Armstrong Records Live Album !

He touched us with the songs “I Need You (now)” and “I Understand” but Smokie Norful says if it weren’t for God, family, friends and members of his congregation he would have stepped away from Gospel music ! In a surprising interview, Norful told the Associated Press: “Before I did this project I was in a very (similar) crossroads. … I had a decision to make. Am I going to continue to do this ?” “(…)full time and on the run, doing these interviews, being away from home and church and family — I was really there (considering leaving). I started telling my church: “Pastor’s backing out of the industry.” And everybody, my parents were like “… Really be prayerful about that because we know that since you were born you have been called for this,” Norful shared. Thankfully the Stellar, Grammy and Dove Award-winning recording artist and pastor decided to record his recently released album titled “Smokie Norful Live”. Led by the single “Justified,” Norful’s struggle with the “industry” and what he calls a “facade” comes through in inspirational form on his Live! album. In fact, Norful sings “when the enemy said you couldn’t God said you’re covered by my awesome, powerful blood” on “Justified”. (for more of Norful’s interview with the AP click here) In related news, Smokie Norful recently shot a video for Rolling Out Magazine’s Gospel Music Video Countdown (watch below). In other Inspirational news, legendary gospel artist Vanessa Bell Armstrong wrapped up a special Live! recording in Chicago, Illinois earlier this week. The recording, set to be released as a CD titled “The Experience,” features a bevy of Armstrong’s past hits and brand new music produced by Donald Lawrence ! According to EMI Gospel sources, Armstrong’s “The Experience” project will also include an in depth conversation with Chicago radio personality Dedry Jones. Recorded at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, “The Experience” was open to the public and followed Armstrong’s 2007 effort “Walking Miracle”. This Week’s Top 10 Gospel Singles (according to the weekly Gospel National Airplay chart) 1. “Souled Out” Hezekiah Walker & LFC (eleven weeks at no. 1) 2. “Back II Eden” Donald Lawrence & Co. 3. “It Ain’t Over (Until GOD Says It’s Over)” Maurette Brown-Clark 4. “Praise Him In Advance” Marvin Sapp 5. “Peace & Favor Rest On Us” Kurt Carr & The Kurt Carr Singers 6. “God In Me” Mary Mary feat. Kierra Kiki Sheard 7. “I Trust You” James Fortune & FIYA 8. “Justified” Smokie Norful 9. “Wait On The Lord” Donnie McClurkin feat. Karen Clark Sheard 10. “Praise Him Now” Kierra Sheard Inspirational Video of the Week: Smokie Norful “Rolling Out Magazine Countdown”


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