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Interview: CeCe Winans Says Aretha Franklin’s Voice Was ‘Clearly a Gift From Heaven’

CeCe Winans, award-winning gospel artist, reflects on the late Aretha Franklin’s life and legacy and explains why anyone getting into the music industry should study the Queen of Soul.

Winans was among a select group of soul and gospel artists tapped to pay special tribute to Franklin at the 2018 American Music Awards (AMAs). Other artists paying tribute to Franklin’s gospel roots include Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, and Donnie McClurkin (who also discussed the gospel tribute with Faithfully Magazine). Music director, composer and producer, Rickey Minor served as consulting producer for the tribute.

In the following interview, Winans talks about working with Franklin, the impact of her iconic album “Amazing Grace,” and what she personally learned from the artist, who died from advanced pancreatic cancer at 76 on August 16, 2018. The interview was conducted via phone on October 8.

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Nicola A. Menzie
Nicola A. Menzie
Nicola A. Menzie a religion reporter whose bylines have appeared on the websites of the Religion News Service, The Christian Post, CBS News and Vibe magazine. Nicola is the Managing Editor at You can find her on Twitter @namenzie. Email: nicola.menzie (at)

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