Contemporary gospel singer Yolanda Adams hails from Houston, Texas, where she spent her young adulthood teaching, modeling, and singing in choirs. Adams's debut, JUST AS I AM, was released in 1987, followed by SAVE THE WORLD (1989), and MORE THAN A MELODY (1995). Adams continued recording and releasing albums into the late `90s when she had a commercial breakthrough with her major label debut, MOUNTAIN HIGH.VALLEY LOW (1999). The album went platinum and netted Adams a Grammy award. THE EXPERIENCE (2001), a live album, also won a Grammy, while that year's BELIEVE, 2005's DAY BY DAY, THE BEST OF ME (a greatest-hits package), and 2007's WHAT A WONDERFUL TIME, a holiday album, continued to enjoy impressive popularity and sales.
Recognized in the last decade as one of modern gospel's seminal voices, Yolanda Adams is clearly poised to take up the torch from foremothers such as Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin with her Elektra debut, Mountain High... Valley Low. Adams brings her music to a wider audience not by watering down her message, but by making a record of supreme power, conviction, and glorious beauty, incorporating elements of traditional gospel, hip-hop, jazz, and R&B into daring arrangements. "The Things We Do" is a gorgeous ballad with samples of JFK and MLK speaking some of their most famous words of commitment. And "Yeah," easily one of 1999's best R&B singles, is a masterfully ebullient song of praise and dedication marrying thick, funky beats with divinely soulful vocals. A bright and shining testament to faith in a higher power, Adams uses her extraordinary vocal prowess to uplift her listeners and to elucidate the pure joy of spiritual and musical flight. She not just crosses but banishes lines of separation. --Paige La Grone
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