With 15 Grammy Awards, 29 Dove Awards, and 15 Stellar Awards, the legendary CeCe Winans is the best-selling and most-awarded female gospel artist of all time, and now you can also add the honors of the Aretha Franklin Icon Award and Rich Mullins Impact Award to her amazing list of accolades.
“Oh my goodness, it’s very humbling. It’s very exciting whenever you’re encouraged by your peers or by an organization for what you’ve done with your music. To me, it’s always surprising, and it’s always humbling,” CeCe said. “I remember when I got my first Grammy that I ever received. I was just like, ‘Oh, my God! For real? You’re doing this?’”
What a lot of people do not realize is there’s a lot of great music that never gets recognized. I mean a lot of good stuff. As a musician, I know that. So for me knowing that, it always puts me up in a humble position and posture of ‘God, I thank You.’ And I pray to the Lord that the platform that He gives me I will use for His glory.”
She laughed as she noted it’s kind of a balancing act now with all the awards. “I have different cases for them, and I have so many awards now. I look down at them and I’m like, “Lord, I thank You, but where am I going to put them? What am I going to do?’ she said. “So I walk around and I say,
‘Wow, He’s allowed this to happen.’ And I’m grateful. I’m really, really grateful.”
Gratitude is also how CeCe summed up her widely successful Believe For It Tour. “It was awesome to see the responses of the people. Not just coming, but coming to participate and coming to worship,” she said. “I just felt a unity in the body of Christ. Unity across the whole tour. I just saw the power of God be evident in each spot, and for that I’m even more grateful. I realized that if He doesn’t show up, nothing eternal happens. And it wasn’t the performance; it was His presence there.”
After hearing some of the testimonies from the tour, CeCe realized it was more than just something on her calendar; it was something that God ordained. “It just kept going higher and higher. And I believe for it to finish very strongly with the wonderful Dulaney and Jenn Johnson coming with me. I’ve been so blessed by both of their ministries, and we’re better together.”
One of the amazing testimonies she received was from a woman attending the concert in CeCe’s home city of Nashville. CeCe asked attendees to believe God for the miracles they’re praying. “This woman was praying for her niece who had lung cancer. One of her lungs had collapsed. The doctors were at the point of nothing that they could do. And she believed. She dared to believe. She said she was kind of scared to believe but she did. She had lost her husband a few years back, so she just didn’t feel like her belief really counted, but she released her faith,” CeCe said.
“Not long after, her niece was ministering before the people about how her whole life was saved and turned around. So I shared it with the team, and they said, ‘Oh my God, thank You! This is why we do what we do.’ So the stories have been a testament to God’s miraculous powers.”
But don’t think for a second that the 59-year-old icon is even close to retirement. With her Generations podcast and conference, she wants all generations to ignite a fire and keep the fire going.
“We’re all fathers and mothers of nations and it’s our privilege, it’s our opportunity. But it’s also our responsibility to make sure we’re pouring the faith of God into somebody.
That we’re sharing the faith of God with people who are coming after us,” she said. “I am only here because of those who cared enough to lay down their lives for me. And it’s my turn. I’ve got to lay down my life for somebody else.”
She said her music, the Believe For It book, the Generations Live Conference (May 10–11), and podcast—all of it is really to say to everybody that we gotta wake up, we gotta get up. “First of all, in the Kingdom of God, we never retire. We never retire from the Kingdom of God.
No matter who you are, there’s so much value in who you are,” CeCe said.
“Some people feel like they hit a certain age, and there’s nothing else they can give. But no. Our culture is totally backward when it comes to that. The older we get, according to Scripture, the more valuable we become.”
She wants everybody to understand that you need to be pouring into somebody. She wants the young and elderly people both to be honored and realize that we all have something to learn from each other. “It is such a blessing for us and such a blessing for them,” CeCe said.
“My mom is 87 now, and as long as I have her I want to get wisdom from her. And then I need my daughter. Who understands technology like these young people? Nobody! We need their understanding of technology, their energy, and their perspective.
We as an older generation have to learn to listen to the younger generation, and the younger generation has to listen to us. Because when we work together and worship in together there’s nothing more powerful.”
CeCe noted this is why the enemy loves to break up families, churches, and communities. He understands that there’s power in unity in every generation. But our God is the God of every generation.
“He’s the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He worked with the generations together. That’s what we want God to do through the Generations Live conference the podcast and everything that we do. I feel like it’s spiritual, but very natural as well,” she said.
“At the age of 59, I’m young enough to still connect with the young, but I’m old enough to have some wisdom behind me. It’s urgent because we all have this window where we live. I don’t know if my day could be tomorrow. I don’t know when I will leave here. The bottom line is while I’m here, while I have this window, I want to use it to prepare who I’m going to pass the baton to,” she said. “And those prayers never end.
I look at my life and I think of my grandmother who’s gone on my grandfather, and my father who has gone on, I know God is still answering those prayers. They may see them from Heaven, but God is faithful and He will still answer those prayers.
That’s what Generations Live is all about.
And the music hasn’t stopped for CeCe either. Her latest single, her remake of “Holy Forever,” released on October 6, is the first single on her new live album. “I heard Chris Tomlin sing this song at the Dove Awards when he first performed it. I could have laid down on the floor and worshipped for the rest of the night. It’s one of the most powerful songs that we’ve heard.
The whole project is coming out in 2024; so we are doing another live record, but man, that song is just amazing,” she said. CeCe added that in some ways, the album is a continuation of Believe For It, another powerful live recording.
“It’s a worship record where we wrote a few songs and did a lot of remakes. It’s another record that will gather people and bring people into the throne room to really focus on praising God according to His greatness,” she said.
“First of all, Believe For was recorded live but it was during the pandemic. So we didn’t have many people. I think we may have had 50 people. This time, hearing the live audience sing—Oh my goodness! With the worship in one accord—it is next level powerful.”