2016: The Year in Charts

Winans 'Dream' May Be One Of His Last

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

BeBe Winans seems to be everywhere these days —- and he's loving every minute of it.

Winans hosts a syndicated radio show. He also appeared in "The Manchurian Candidate" with Denzel Washington and had a strong-selling holiday album, "My Christmas Prayer."

Now he is gearing up for the release of his new album, "Dream," on his own TMG Records in conjunction with Hidden Beach's inspirational imprint, Still Waters Recordings. Epic is distributing the project to the general market, and Integrity Music will handle it for Christian retail.

"It had everything to do with having fun," Winans says of making the record. "I did it in Nashville, and called a friend of mine, Tom Hemby, who co-produced it with me."

Freedom fuels creativity, and Winans enjoyed not having to answer to anyone. "The album just took on a whole form, very transparent songs, a whole different feel," he explains. "I think that took place because there weren't any record companies, agents, managers or A&R people. This record defines who I am and what I'm all about."

Surprisingly, he admits it may also be one of his last. "I feel there are a couple more albums inside of me, and [then] the chapter of being a recording artist is going to close," Winans says. He wants to devote more time to acting and to running his company, the Movement Group, which includes TMG Records as well as management and publishing divisions.

"I'm very excited about other things that are related to music," Winans says. "Some doors have been opened because of my music that I'm going to pursue... The fact is, you can't get to the second chapter until you close chapter one."

Winans remains busy working on the current chapter. "Dream" includes the sultry duet "Miracle of Love," with Angie Stone, and the introspective, confessional ballad "Love Me Anyway."

The powerful title track features authorized excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. It was the first song Winans wrote for the album six years ago. He had heard a tribute to King on CNN; afterward a friend sent him the speech.

"It was the first time I read the speech from beginning to end. It blew me away," says Winans. "It caused me to really think. Before I knew it, I was in the piano room; about five minutes later, this song was written. I remember sitting there saying, 'This is bigger than me,' and I was willing to be as patient as I needed to be for this song to be presented in a way that I thought it should be presented."

A yearlong promotion is planned for the song. Numerous stations aired the track to celebrate King's birthday last month and are doing so now in conjunction with Black History Month.

Along with a host of promotional appearances planned on television and radio, Winans will embark on the Dream tour this spring with Gladys Knight.

Winans has had success in the gospel and mainstream markets. When asked who he sees as the audience for "Dream," he replies, "The world. My ministry is for the world. God is so much bigger than any marketing plan you can come up with."

Excerpted from the Feb. 26, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.

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