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Gospel Superstar CeCe Winans Talks Lifting Up Others, Turning 60 and Her Secret to Strength (EXCLUSIVE)

Plus, learn some of the spiritual teachings that keep her going in good times and bad

CeCe Winans recently performed her stirring gospel anthem “Goodness of God” with contestant Roman Collins on the season finale of American Idol, and if you weren’t already a fan of the 15-time Grammy winning vocalist before that stunning performance, you likely are now. The veteran performer set social media on fire, with countless people sharing the inspiring clip.

Throughout her career, CeCe Winans has won acclaim for her powerful voice, but the artist is just as well known for her ebullient personality, generous spirit and infectious laugh.

“I’m a happy, happy person!” she tells Woman’s World in an exclusive interview for our latest cover (on sale at local grocery stores and online at the link below). “I love the church. I love fellowshipping with other people.”

Woman's World Cover with Cece Winans
Woman’s World

CeCe Winans dishes on her latest album

Winans has always found joy in making music, and her latest album, More Than This, was a labor of love for the Tennessee-based artist.

“It was recorded here in Nashville. We did it at the end of last year, before the holiday season. And I have a good problem right now. The last record is still doing very well and it continues to blow our minds,” she says of her previous album, the Grammy-winning Believe for It.

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CeCe Winans, 2021
CeCe Winans in 2021Jason Kempin/ACMA2021/Getty for ACM

Reflecting on the recording of More Than This, Winans says, “It was a powerful worship experience and that was my first live record I ever did. But we couldn’t have people then because it was recorded during the pandemic.” She continues, “Other people have done live records before and had audiences singing, but for me, it was my first time, and to capture the audience to me, it makes this album to me more powerful than my last one.”

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Winans recorded the album at Rocketown, a faith-based venue in Nashville, and recruited worship teams from local churches to come and sing. “It was filled with people who do this every week and it was just heavenly to me,” she says.

CeCe Winans showcases her songwriting prowess

In addition to having a stellar voice, Winans is also an accomplished songwriter. Among the songs she penned for the new album is the uplifting “Be Still and Know.”

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CeCe Winans, 2023
CeCe Winans in 2023Gabe Ginsberg/Getty

Asked about her process for the song, Winans says, “Oh my goodness! The Lord gave me that in the middle of the night. I was like, ‘Oh, this is on my heart,’ so I got up, got my recorder and started singing it and I just think it’s going to touch people’s hearts right where they are. It’s extremely powerful.”

Winans worked on the song with her son, Alvin Love III, and producer and songwriter Kyle Lee. She speaks movingly about her inspirations, saying, “That scripture alone is just so powerful: Be still and know that I’m God. Sometimes we just have to do that because we see no way out. Everything is overwhelming and when you don’t know what to do, just be still and get reconnected with who loves you, who is on your side, and that’s our heavenly Father who already has the answer to everything.”

CeCe Winans, 2022
CeCe Winans performing in 2022Erika Goldring/Getty for BMI

Another one of Winans’ favorite songs on the new album is “Too Late to Lose,” which she co-wrote with Lee and Mitch Wong.

“I fell in love with the message,” she says. “It’s one of those that really is going to help us have a whole different perspective, because you can look at a situation, whether it’s a long sickness, temptation or a trial that you’re going through, and it could seem so hopeless, but then you are reminded that Jesus on the cross finished it.”

She elaborates, “No matter on this side of heaven or the other side, we win. It’s too late to lose as a believer. You don’t lose. It’s just our way and I think as believers we forget that. We forget that we’re fighting from a place of victory. Like they say, the fight is already fixed.”

That’s My King” is a rousing anthem that Lee found and suggested for the album. “When I heard it, I was like, ‘I love it! This is fun and upbeat!’” Winans says, adding with a smile, “It’s also a declaration. We serve the risen savior. We serve God who loves everybody, who gave His best for us. I’m not only grateful, but I want to tell the world about him. When you find a good deal, you want to tell people about it.”

CeCe Winans, 2021
CeCe Winans onstage in 2021Jason Kempin/Getty

Turning to music in times of heartache

Music, faith and family have always been cornerstones of Winans’ life. Growing up as one of 10 children in a musically gifted family, she saw her older brothers blaze a trail in both gospel and R&B music as the Winans in the ’80s, and she soon followed them into the spotlight, performing as a duo with her older brother, BeBe, before establishing her solo career.

Bebe and Cece Winans in 1993
BeBe & CeCe Winans on 11/19/93 in Chicago, Il. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)Paul Natkin/Getty

Though she’s experienced an abundance of blessings, Winans has also known her share of heartaches, among them losing one of her brothers, Ronald, to heart disease at age 48 in 2005. “We were not expecting to lose him at that tender age,” she says solemnly.

Winans remembers an emotional moment following Ronald’s passing: “I was on tour at the time and I was about to sing, ‘He’s Concerned.’ One of the lyrics says, ‘While your tears are running through your time of mourning, He is here to lift your heavy heart.’ I was concerned about making it through the song, but I had to walk out what I preach.”

She continues: “I’d never lost a sibling. I never want to lose another one. But in the song, it says He’s concerned about you and that He’ll carry you through your rough times. So, singing that lyric for the audience and singing it for myself was an amazing experience when I look back on it. You’re encouraging others, and the beauty of gospel music is that encouraging others will always encourage you.”

Winans has words of encouragement for others facing adversity and loss. “The best way that I found to get through hard times in life is to look up to the God who I know is concerned and the God who has all answers, but I’ve also learned to give out,” she says.

CeCe Winans, 2023
CeCe Winans performs in 2023John Medina/Getty

“When you take out time to think of others, it always brings blessings on your life,” she says. “I always leave more blessed than when I came. When we take our time and give to the poor, it’s amazing because throughout scripture there are promises connected to generosity. You don’t give to get, but it’s like sowing seed. A farmer sows seed because he knows that at a time a harvest is going to come.”

“Sometimes when I’m out on tour, I’m tired and I feel like, ‘Oh God really? I’ve got to get on a tour bus?’” Winans admits. “But when I get on that stage and when I get a chance to give out, I’m always poured into. I always leave stronger. So think of others. Give to others. Get your mind off yourself. Who can you bless today?”

CeCe Winans looks to the future

This year, Winans will be celebrating some big milestones. She and her husband, Alvin Love II, will celebrate 40 years of marriage on June 23. The couple started the Nashville Life Church, and their son, Alvin III, is now the Lead Pastor.

“We just celebrated 12 years of ministry and my son has been the Lead Pastor now for almost three years,” she says proudly. “We have three services now and it’s been awesome. My son is doing a great job. We’re growing and it’s been very rewarding. There is no better way to spend your life than serving God and serving people.”

Another milestone Winans will hit this year is turning 60, and she has a refreshingly positive attitude about aging. “I don’t mind it at all. I figured a long time ago either I’m older or I’m dead, so I’ll take older,” the grandmother of three says with a laugh. “I’m ready to go to heaven whenever God is ready, but while I’m here, let me keep going.”

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