May 21, 2006

Crouch marks four decades of gospel career

By Deborah Evans Price

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Andrae Crouch is celebrating his
40th anniversary in gospel music by releasing his first new
studio album in eight years.

"Mighty Wind," due May 30 on Verity, showcases a veteran
artist still at the forefront of contemporary gospel music. "I
started when I was 14 years old, and time has gone by so fast,"
says Crouch, who wrote the gospel classic "The Blood Will Never
Lose Its Power" for the junior choir at his father's church
when he was only 14.

Over the years, Crouch has gained worldwide acclaim as a
songwriter, producer, arranger and minister. Not only has he
shaped the face of contemporary gospel music, but he has worked
with numerous high-profile mainstream artists, among them
Madonna, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and Elton John. Crouch
is the only living gospel artist to have a star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame. He's a member of the Gospel Music Hall
of Fame and is a recipient of the Recording Academy's Lifetime
Achievement Award, presented last year at the organization's
inaugural Salute to Gospel Music.

Crouch recorded "Mighty Wind" -- co-produced with Luther
"Mano" Hanes -- on his own before signing with Verity. "I just
wanted to do what I felt the Lord was telling me to do without
anyone giving me (direction) as to what the industry wanted,"
Crouch says.

In addition to his music career, Southern California-based
Crouch serves as a pastor of the New Christ Memorial Church of
God in Christ, a post he has held since the late '90s. "When
God calls you to do something, you're not happy if you run away
from it," he says.