Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday Best's Le’Andria Johnson has a Testimony

By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog.

Whenever you think you can’t do something, read Le’Andria Johnson’s story and reconsider.

The season three winner of BET’s Sunday Best has weathered enough of life's challenges to give Job a run for his money. And like Job, she is now reaping her reward.  Her CD, The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson, is due September 6 on Music World Gospel.

Johnson was born in Orlando, Florida.  One could say she was born to sing, because she began her career (unofficially) at age two by delivering a public performance of the Williams Brothers’ “I’m Just a Nobody.”

As she got older, her musical influences included the late Rev. James Moore, Dorinda Clark Cole, Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, the Winans, and Commissioned. Still, it wasn’t until she was a teenager that she realized that she might be able to sing for a living.

While she served as praise and worship leader for her father's church, her big break came at age seventeen, when she sang in front of an audience of 8,000 at Pastor Shirley Caesar’s annual conference. “That was my first big platform, and I was shocked at the positive response by the people,” Johnson recalled.

But the road ahead wasn’t easy. Twice divorced with three children (two boys and a girl), and a succession of family tragedies and setbacks, Johnson found it difficult to ignite her dream.  For example, she saved money to enter the studio and record, but in the end had little show for it but more frustration.

She had been a fan of BET’s American Idol-style Sunday Best competition since its inception, but it never entered her mind to audition. It was her best friend, Barbara Fields, who ultimately persuaded her to participate.

“Barbara was with me when I lost my house to foreclosure,” Johnson reflected, “and she encouraged me to try out. She was persistent, like a gnat around food! She kept saying, ‘You gotta go, you gotta try out!’ I finally got up the nerve, but it wasn’t easy preparing for it. I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have a car, I didn’t have any way to get to [New Orleans], but by God’s grace I got there. It was wonderful and it turned out to be something great.”

As Johnson got closer to the finals, she thought it would end up a tie between Elder Goldwire [McClendon of the Savettes] and her. “He is such a phenomenal singer, and he was pressing really hard. He memorized songs and he kept up with us young folk. Here I am, in my twenties, and he’s like 80! I have so much respect for him. So in the end, I was very shocked and surprised when I won, but I am very grateful at the same time.”

A special treat for Johnson was when her children saw her on television and got to be part of the live audience. “I didn’t think that they would remember it, or be into it as much, but when we finally got some alone time together, my daughter started singing one of the songs I did on the show. They were calling me the ‘Sunday Best Queen!’ Now I can start a song and my three-year-old son can finish it. I thought, ‘They’re listening, they’re paying attention. That’s good!’”

Today, life is different. She picked up 15,000 followers on Twitter in three weeks' time.  She is recognized in public and receives encouragement and suggestions from her musical inspirations, such as Dorinda Clark Cole and John P. Kee. She said that Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Kim Burrell and Fred Hammond have given her “pep talks: they tell me to keep my head up.”

The singer explained that the theme behind The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson is simple. “Live and not die. I tell myself that: you shall live and not die. Always remember that the ‘yes’ inside of you is the ‘yes’ for somebody else.”

The response to the album's first single, “Jesus,” has been positive. “Team Le’Andria has been going crazy, helping to promote the single,” she said.

Johnson also singled out the opening song, “Cast the First Stone,” as carrying an important message.  “It is about not judging others. We need to keep our brothers and sisters lifted up.  Work on yourself and keep your mind focused on what you need to do, not what others think you need to do."

The Sunday Best champ and her children are now in an apartment but her desire is to eventually get back into a house. “I don’t know when, but I know it will work out in its own time. God has a very unusual way of blessing you when the time is right. I’m grateful that I’m even in an apartment.”

What advice can she give aspiring gospel artists?  “Believe in yourself, no matter what,” she said. “Go humble before the people. Always remain humble. Give glory to God and He will bring you up. Allow God to use you."

She added: “If you know that you can do something, or if you have a dream, know that you can. But also know that there will trials and tribulations, and they will make you strong. You are going to have to go through to get to. I’m a witness.”

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DBC Entertainment said...

I love her song "Jesus" Its so powerful.

June said...

To God be the glory!!!! You already are equiped with the things to keep the devil off you use them and keep blessing our souls!

Elder Jay Brown Sr. said...

I believe like many who saw her audition knew she was the going to win. I was awed by her testimony and literally moved to tears when I saw that her Cd was #1 in the nation on the Billboard Charts. God bless her in Jesus Name!

Tanya Wiggs said...

The song JESUS is my testimony.I just got out of the hospital from being on life support for ten days, from what I'm told. This week I sang at a Holy Ghost filled revival. LeAndria,I feel you. Jesus is the only name to call.

Anonymous said...

Le'Andrea is an anointed singer I got her cd as soon as it came out.
I love her song "Jesus" I play it over and over again it blesses my soul.

Le'Andrea God bless you and I thank God for you and I pray that God dontinues to bless you and you kids.

Thanks Le'Andrea for blessing us with you anointed singing keep on singing praise to God and when you song Jesus on Sunday Best finale this year girl you blessed my soul you song that song under the power keep been a blessing to the people of God.

Thank God For You!

Pdavis464 said...

Pamela loves Le'Andria CD and the entire CD is such a blessing to me. Keep praising the Lord Le'Andri and the blessings will continue to come your way!!!

BlackJewels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Ms. Le Andria Johnson is a real and true worshipper, she don't care where she at, who looking at her, or what she is wearing. She is a gift to the body of Christ and for the world to see that , you can be beautiful naturally, and dress very nice with a voice that no one else can compare and still love and serve God. After hearing LeAndria sing, if you are not touch you need to make sure that you are alive and well, each time she sing the Holy Spirit arise, she has a voice that no one can compare with. May God keep His hands on her and bless her and her family.

Antoinette said...

You are truely a Godly woman, so just stand still and watch what God does for you.


Tammie said, watching sunday's best and when leandria sang the song "JESUS' it sent a message through my soul and gave me an annointing that i never felt.leandria you have touch me in a way i never been touch with god.watching you and hearing you sing that song sends a message to people that god is real its never too late to put god first in our lives and continue to serve him; there is nothing he can't accomplish,leandria god used you and speak to others through you,so keep on singing for jesus,its a powerful thing.!

Anonymous said...

Hi Le'Andria I am from lake Wales when I heard your singing Jesus all I could say is what a blessing.such anoint voice Be blessing and let God ues you. Bless by you. B.F.

Anonymous said...

LeAndria is anointed singer with a powerful voice God has bless her with since the beginning to minister into people lives. No matter what may happens on her journey, I pray God will continue to cover her. He's not through with her just yet

Lady Bailey Gospel Artist said...

I feel in love with her from her first audition. The gift that GOD has given Her breath taking...

Anonymous said...

LeAndria needs to low down, examine herself before others tear into her. God is a loving and forgiving God, but he frowns on us when we take him for granted. She needs to first love herself before she can show loving anyone else. I will pray that she finds herself back into the good graces of the Lord.

Moe Mc said...

glory be to god and i thank him.....i just wanted to say thank you Mrs. johson for everything you have truely inspired me to step up and reap the harvest god has promised me and take back whta the devil has stold from me......i love the fact that you are a strong woman.....i've been through alot at a young age and almost gave up on life but through the mist of my triumph god blessed me with you and i heard your song jesus and new reason and i watched the old episodes of sundays best when you gave god the praise not caring that you were on tv live and that right there just took me and i praised em with you i love you so much thank you continue to do gods work and don't let the media or the world tell you no different god bless you and your family.