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Posted: 2012 02-23
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Yolanda Adams (born Yolanda Yvette Adams on August 27, 1961 is an American Grammy- and Dove-award-winning gospel singer, record producer, actress, and radio host. As of September 2009, according to SoundScan she had sold 4.5 million albums since 1991 in the United States.

On December 11, 2009 Billboard Magazine named her the #1 Gospel Artist of the last decade. In the same chart, her album "Mountain High...Valley Low" was acknowledged as the best gospel 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 release "Give Us Peace", with a performance titled "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, 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 and included "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 her 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 titled "I Believe" that 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.

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