Despite being from the first family of gospel music, Deborah Joy Winans never wanted to sing and only wanted to act.
“I guess God is really kind of laughing at me,” she said of her current roles as the featured choir vocalist on the church drama, “Greenleaf,” and as her aunt CeCe Winans in the hit Broadway-bound biographic musical “Born for This.”
“He’s like ‘you’re going to do what I want you to do eventually.’ I am singing more than I ever thought I would in my entire life and actually loving every minute of it.”
As a result of her pipes during season one of the OWN series, some of her songs ended up on the soundtrack, became a single and earned her a Stellar award nomination for best new artist.
Now another track, “Shine The Light,” is featured on the release this week of “Greenleaf Soundtrack: Volume 2.”
“I don’t know if there is going to be a Deborah Joy Winans CD,” she said of this recent activity. “I used to say never but now it’s like we’ll see.”
When asked who she would like to portray in a biopic, a surprising answer surfaced. “I honestly think that I could be Oprah [Winfrey] one day,” said the 33-year-old from Detroit. “Spending time with her, working with her and then seeing our similarities physically, I’m like – Hmmm … Maybe one day …”
The two actually met years ago when the whole Winans clan guested on the daytime show, but she describes her Oprah moment coming when Oprah asked her to audition for the role of the troubled Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee.
“I couldn’t breathe and my husband was like I need you to talk into the phone,” she recalled.
Winans admitted that she sometimes gets social media backlash for her character’s choices and behavior on the hit show but that most people understand.
“Charity is in a very tough spot,” she explained. “You have to look at the timing of everything. When her husband [Kevin] finally came clean about [being attracted to men] she was very, very pregnant with twins. Everybody knows pregnant women are on a different emotional level. So there are certain things you share with them and certain things you don’t.
“So finding that out, especially when you’re big and way overweight. I think Charity took all that in and didn’t know how to deal with it. She loses a baby, she has a baby and she doesn’t know where her husband stands. That’s a hard thing to deal with.
“So though some people kind of got on Charity’s case, a lot of people agreed with her decision [to get divorced].”
Winans says that a lot of people look at Jabari as a new love interest but that to Charity he is just an escape from all the drama.
“If you remember in the beginning, Charity was needing that love and appreciation from her dad,” she explained. “When she felt like she wasn’t getting it, that’s when she started getting the baby girl hissy fits. She craves that attention. So to get it from someone who respects her talents is exciting and a step out of the sort of turmoil she’s in right now.”
Before the season finale, we will see her taking steps, figuring out how to co-parent and possibly make some mistakes but don’t sleep on the show’s message.
“You’re going to see a family come together,” Winans asserted. “You’re going to see, no matter what, they love each other and they’re going to stand up as one through the sort of rocky situations that will evolve.”
CLIPPETTES: Gino Vannelli remembers those nights in Montreal and more Sept. 1 at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach …
Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman Tour hits the Greek Theatre Sept. 2; while Michel’le performs at the Blacque Takeover at the Crowne Plaza Hotel LAX and Thundercat holds forth at the Glass House Concert Hall in Pomona …
Jellybean Benitez is among the DJs occupying two decks of the Niteshift Yacht Party on Sept. 3 at Marina Del Rey’s Dock 52 …
The sixth annual Nightshift Labor Day Music Fest will be held at Grand Park on Sept. 4 with the Revolution, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Ozomatli, Poncho Sanchez, B-Side Players and Grace Potter …
Quincy Jones: The A&M Years at the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 6 shines a light on the jazz master’s three pinnacle albums: “Walking in Space, “Gula Matari” and “Smackwater Jack.” Participants include Christian McBride, Dave Grusin, Hubert Laws, Lee Ritenour, Valerie Simpson, Lewis Nash, Grégoire Maret and more as conducted by John Clayton. Richard Bona & Mandekan Cubano and Jonah Nilsson open.
MUSIC NOTES: Four-time Grammy-nominated saxophonist Boney James marks 25 years with the release of his new album, “Honestly,” featuring vocalists Avery*Sunshine and Eric Roberson, with horn arrangements by Jerry Hey, who worked on Michael Jackson’s greatest hits.
James points directly toward some of his greatest influences as having provided inspiration.
“I think about Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan and Earth, Wind & Fire,” he says, also mentioning such iconic R&B and contemporary jazz artists as the Brothers Johnson, Tower of Power and Grover Washington Jr. as having impacted him. “These are the bands that I grew up loving. And the thing that they had was this method of arranging so the music is a character itself. That’s something I aspire to create on my records.”
It was billed as Travis Greene‘s “Crossover Live” Album Release Concert Celebration, but the chart-topping two-time Grammy nominee, and seven-time Stellar Award winning star turned the evening at the packed Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center into a service.
Joining in on the praise were Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child fame, OWN reality star Pastor John Gray, the show-stopping Todd Delaney, 2016 Stellar Award winner for New Artist of the Year Casey J and a stage full of outstanding talent.
Greene just got a Dove Award nomination for Gospel Artist of the Year and will be leading his Forward City Church in a new South Carolina home in the coming months. Pick up the CD on the RCA Inspiration label and feel the passion for yourself!
TC ON TV: Sept. 1 – “Narcos – Complete Third Season” (Netflix): It’s the Cali Cartel’s turn.
Sept. 2 – “Black Love” (OWN): “Tripping Over Hurdles” “Oprah’s Master Class” (OWN): Steve Harvey
Sept. 3 – “Unsung Hollywood” (TV1): Ice-T
Sept. 4 – “TCM Remembers Jerry Lewis” (TCM): The marathon consists of “The Nutty Professor,” “The King of Comedy,” “The Stooge” “The Bellboy,” and “The Disorderly Orderly.” “Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.” (A&E): Twenty years after Christopher Wallace’s death, this first biography to be authorized by his estate promises to be the most personal and revealing documentary of the rapper that anyone has ever seen.
Sept. 5 – “Hollywood Game Night” (NBC): RuPaul, Tyson Beckford, Daymond John, Margaret Cho
Sept. 6 – “Snowfall” (FX): John Singleton directed the season finale of this fine series already renewed. They came a long way from a pilot that originally featured Jill Scott, DeRay Davis and Lauren London.
TASTY QUIP: “Poor is a state of mind you never grow out of, but being broke is just a temporary condition.” – DICK GREGORY [R.I.P.]
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.