Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Grammy Award Winning Artist, Regina Belle, releases her second Gospel album, Higher following up on her award winning first gospel album Love Forever Shines on Pendulum Records, LLC in association with Walker Davis Entertainment, LLC. This project has collaborations from award-winning artists, Pastor Shirley Ceasar, Kathy Taylor, Lowell Pye, and some of the industry top producers including Pajam, Terence Vaughn, Chris Walker and Micah Stampley.
Having already reached the Top 20 on the gospel radio charts, Higher's first single, "Make An Example Out of Me, (written by Micah and Heidi Stampley)" is a soul-touching ballad which parallels Ms. Belle's real-life experiences and provides an inspiring testimony for listeners. In 2009, following the release of her last album, Love Forever Shines, Belle was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which not only threatened her career, but her life. However, she made a full recovery and attributes this to God's love and mercy, as well as her faith, which she had to remember to hold steadfastly to.
Executive produced by Ray Davis, Ruben Rodriguez, Chris Walker and Regina Belle, Higher is enriched by special appearances from gospel music powerhouses such as, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Kathy Taylor and Lowell Pye (Men of Standard). With Higher, Ms. Belle hopes to convey a simple but powerful message. "I pray that each listener has an experience. My whole objective in doing this record is to bring people into the presence of God," she says.
Over the past 25 years, Regina Belle has become loved all over the world for her chart-topping classic songs including "So Many Tears," "Baby Come to Me," "Make it Like it Was," "If I Could" and the perennial favorite, "A Whole New World (with Peabo Bryson)" from the Disney film Aladdin, which earned an Academy Award for Best Song. In addition to her stellar career, Ms. Belle is the devoted wife of former NBA player, Pastor John Battle and a loving mother of five.
Five POWERHOUSE Stars! Four time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, producer Regina Belle's most recent Christian Gospel recording is wonderful, following the highly-praised Love Forever Shines. She uses a voice/piano duo, small group with background singers, and a large musical group and choir. Now fully recovered from a brain tumor, the singing legend is back, praising Him in a mixture of traditional gospel with an adult contemporary sound that is respectful and judiciously used, striking just the right balance. In a day when some Gospel recordings obscure their religious message, Ms Belle gets right to the message of the Lord's redemption at the beginning of track 1, the uptempo "Higher". The beautiful "Make an Example Out Of Me", already a 'Top-20' gospel hit single, uses the familiar 'call-response' technique to pour on the emotion. The uplifting "God Must Have Been With You" shows His miraculous influence in a time of crisis. Pastor Shirley Ceasar joins forces with Regina on a rousing "Been So Good To Me" with her distinctive vocalizing. "Coming Back" has marvelous soulful music to reinforce the message of redemption for a prodigal daughter who is coming back to the Lord. And perhaps best of all: "Lord of All" with just Regina's fantastic voice over Zane Gipson's masterful piano, "I Will Bless The Lord" with Regina soaring over the piano and choir, and the soulful slightly 'auto-tuned' "That's How God Does" that points to His presence and love in everyday life. Marvelous gospel from the mind, voice, and spirit of the awesome Regina Belle. My Highest Recommendation!
The Industry Cosign
Her flawless alto and distinctive delivery catapulted her to success and thrust perennial songs such as "All I Want is Forever," "Baby Come to Me," "Make it Like it Was" and "If I Could" to the top of the charts.
With HIGHER, Regina Belle has a simple but powerful message. "I pray that each listener has an experience. My whole objective in doing this record is to bring people into the presence of God. Some of us don't always get there through the preached word. The music is only second to that, but I want to be able to know that I did my job and if you don't have words to say, then use my words. If you don't have a voice, then use my voice. If you don't have the music or the setting, use mine. I believe that my music helps people get to a special place." That place is a closer walk with God, one that is sweeter, deeper, richer and HIGHER!
Audio Mixer: Paul Allen.
Recording information: Canvas Studios, Houston, TX; Millenni Era Studios; PA Systems; SGC Studios, Detroit, MI.
Photographer: Drexina Nelson.
Although Regina Belle is chiefly known for her urban R&B hits like "Baby Come to Me," "If I Could," and "Please Be Mine," she has her roots deep in gospel; studied trombone, tuba, and steel drums; and is a pretty fair songwriter as well. She was in the process of moving her career from secular pop to gospel, having released her first gospel album, Love Forever Shines, in 2008, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2009. Following several surgeries and a lengthy recovery period, she regained her health and recorded this second gospel album in Houston, Texas. Belle may not be tracking secular material any longer (she still features her secular hits in her live shows, where they fit comfortably with her newer gospel numbers), but she isn't afraid to use secular music touches from jazz, hip-hop, R&B, and soul in these tracks, creating an energetic and joyous urban pop gospel style that isn't too far removed in sound from her straight pop work. Everybody wins. ~ Steve Leggett