Posted: August 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

The label debut of Y’Anna Crawley, one of go-go’s best-known vocalists and the winner of the 2009 BET talent competition Sunday Best, is out today. And there isn’t so much as a rototom to be found anywhere on the album.

The disc, released on the Universal Music Christian imprint Imago Dei is called Promise, and the project showcases the sort of gospel music Crawley performed on Sunday Best, rather than the work she has done for Rare Essence, Familiar Faces, and Lissen.

“I always tell people, it wasn’t like a switchover, it was a transition,” Crawley says of going from go-go to gospel. “I always knew I was going to sing songs for the soul, encouraging, uplifting songs that touch every emotion. If that’s what you think of as gospel, than that’s what I do. But you’re in D.C., you can’t get away from go-go.” The singer began performing with Lissen band around 2002. “We were all high school friends, most of us went to Eastern, and there were some members who went to Woodson.”

Crawley says she used to sit in with the group, which started as a four-man R&B outfit, on occasion, but fans wanted to see her more often.  “Eventually people were saying, ‘We don’t just wanna see just the guys, we wanna see Yannie, too.” she says. “We performed for six years, seven nights a week. I made a living singing with that band. I moved out of my mama’s house with the money I was making with Lissen.”

Before being chosen as a contestant on Sunday Best, Crawley also spent a long time lending background vocal work to artists such as Mya, Jennifer Lopez, Ledisi, and Raheem DeVaughn. But her break came with the television show that allowed her to return to her gospel roots. She won Sunday Best in May with some 1.2 million votes, the majority coming from D.C. and Florida . “Out of the 1.2 million votes, 400,000 were from Florida alone,” she says. “It was just random, but it was awesome. I was like, ‘OK Florida, thanks!”

Crawley is hoping to get the same sort of love with Promise, which she started working on in September 2009.

Crawley’s two fave tracks of the ten on the disc are “The Promise,” her first single and “Stronger,“ an auto-biographical track that details everything from her pregnancy at 17 to the faith that helped her get where she is today.

“It’s about learning to stop looking to be validated by a man,” she says.  “Even though I didn’t get the ring or the man, I’m still stronger. I think it will hit home with a lot of teenage moms and young ladies dealing with self-esteem issues.”

Those who worked on the album include gospel singer Natalie Wilson, James “Big Jim” Wright, who is the musical director on the Mo’Nique Show and Lou “Buster” Brown, who has worked with Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams.


Comments are closed.