Multiple award-winning artist Smokie Norful has released “Smokie Norful Live,” his fourth CD offering and DVD released simultaneously in stores on April 7. The session was recorded live at The Cannon Center in Memphis.
The 10-track projects deliver both musically as well as visually. With this EMI Gospel release, Smokie Norful will once again display his talents as a prolific songwriter who can deliver relevant songs that speak grace, hope and truth to a public that is in need of these qualities during today’s trying times.
Produced by Smokie Norful and Jason Tyson, “Smokie Norful Live” is infused with an energy that only an enthusiastic sold out audience can bring. The audience’s fervor can be heard throughout the CD and also viewed on the accompanying DVD.
Lending their support to Norful on the new album are guest performances by Heather Headley and Stellar Award winner Tye Tribbett. The first single is “Justified” and it will impact on Gospel radio on February 23, 2009.
One of the highlighted tracks featured on “Smokie Norful Live” is “Jesus is Love.” Smokie Norful teams up with Heather Headley to re-record the Gospel classic written and produced by Lionel Richie, showcasing the incredible vocal talents of both artists. “Jesus Is Love” is featured on both Norful and Headley’s CDs. The song is garnering national attention from Gospel and Urban AC programmers alike.
“My colleagues and I agree,” says Alvin Stowe, Program Director of WQMZ-FM and WPZS-FM in Charlotte, NC; “this rendition of ‘Jesus Is Love‘ is as good, if not better than the original.”
“She’s a sweetheart. I love her spirit and her personality,” comments Norful on working with the former Broadway star. “Since I’ve been in this industry, of all the people I’ve worked with, Heather was the first person to ever send me a personal, handwritten thank-you card.”
Smokie Norful’s flair for writing songs that cover a wide range of themes-each one speaking to someone’s need is in the CD beginning with the opening proclamation, “God’s Gonna Do It,” featuring Tye Tribbett, to “Dear God,” a personal letter from Smokie Norful to the Lord.
“Where I thrive and flourish the most is in a live environment,” comments Norful on why he decided to record a live album. “I’m really just a church kid. I have other components to add to the flavoring, but the bottom line is I’m just a church kid who loves gospel music, loves God, and loves the Word of God. Where I have a natural tendency to excel is in a live setting. It’s just a comfort zone that I’ve fallen into. I’m giving people some Sunday-morning material.”
“Smokie Norful Live” is a family affair of sorts with many of the participants coming from Norful’s church family. Several of the band musicians playing on the recording were from Norful’s church; Jason Tyson, co-producer and musical director for the project also serves as Norful’s musical director on the road and is the minister of music at the church.
Tyson, considered a “little brother” and a friend by Norful, is additionally a business partner in their production company, One Wordd Productions. Tim Bailey, Assistant Pastor at Victory Cathedral Worship Center, also joined in on working on the project, co-writing some of the songs along with Norful. Singers Keisha McFarland, Denise Rutledge, Moiro Konchellah and Tiffany Gatlin are also key parts of the music ministry of Victory Cathedral Worship Center.
Smokie Norful will began the New Year with a performance at the American Music Legends Inaugural Ball on January 20 in Washington, DC, followed by a debut performance of “Jesus Is Love” on BET’s 9th Annual Celebration of Gospel, premiering on January 25th at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
During the highly-anticipated gospel program, hosted by Steve Harvey, Smokie Norful is joined on stage by Heather Headley for a dynamic rendition of “Jesus Is Love.” Additional promotional activities will follow including performances on TBN, The Gospel Music Channel, a dedicated YouTube.com channel (to include audio and video teasers), online listening parties and streams, and a world premiere of the “Justified” video on Gospel City.