Kisha Grandy’s new album “Epitome” is out now, and it features amazing vocals from the hidden gem. The album begins with a snippet of The Clark Sisters classic, “Endow Me” which sets the tone for the album and Grandy’s big vocals.
The first full-length song of the album is “The Pursuit” an urban gospel jam. Grandy said of this track that she wanted to show her range and for those expecting it, that she has more than a gospel squall. This was one of the first songs completed on the project and like many of the songs, has relatable elements. “The Pursuit” touches the journey for Grandy’s pursuit of a music career, saying “I dreamed of this moment happening for me, but I didn’t think it come to pass since it’s been so long.
“I decided to pursue jazz, but a lady came to me and told me I would meet a guy I didn’t know that would do my entire project” (speaking of the father and son team of KJ Productions).
The next song on the album is “Fully Committed” another urban jam which Kisha says she feels the songwriter knew her in a former life and wrote about it. “Life has been challenging so, I’ve had issues with commitment…it’s personal to me. Totally easy recording this song because it’s me, it’s my life.” Adding to the conversation of Grandy’s range, this song features more of her robust lower vocal range.
“You Did It” is the first single from the album and what many listeners may already be familiar with from the “Epitome” project. Grandy says the song resonated with what she had gone through and is now walking into. “God did it when I thought it wouldn’t happen!”
She started at St Paul MBC and continues to sing each song like it’s her last time. Her voice, still easily recognizable after many years away from major artist attention, Grandy is back with the same power singing a new song. “I don’t know how to sing any other way. When I sing, I have to give it my all!”
Since “The Family” was suddenly disbanded on the road and an era of gospel music came crashing down with little to no fanfare, Kisha Grandy has been everywhere. She’s been on stages and made an unforgettable name for herself as Vianne Griffin in “I Can Do Bad All By Myself”. She has seen so much and has taken in all the sights and sounds of an ever-evolving entertainment industry that makes little room for growing artists. But, Kisha Grandy is no growing artist. She’s an industry veteran, assuming her place where she has always belonged.
After experiencing the crushing blow of a dream that came crashing down with no recourse or recompense, it has been a long road to recover any semblance of industry potency but, Kisha Grandy is here in this moment, full circle! Kisha Grandy epitomizes the determination and willpower needed to last and survive the seasons of volatility in an ever-evolving entertainment industry.
Following the first single is a strong lead for the album’s next single, “Work It Out.” This funky, upbeat jam is one you can’t sit still to. You got to move to this one, but don’t miss the mastery in the music. There’s a breakdown in the song and an introduction to yet another layer of Kisha Grandy’s magic…scat! Grandy’s scat harkens back to her pursuit of a career as a jazz singer and she does it well. The chant during the chorus of the song title is crowd friendly and is what you will be repeating long after the song is done.
This song was a last-minute addition to the project and quite challenging but Grandy said that she was up for the challenge of adding an uptempo song, so late. All is not lost and much of what Grandy used to complete this song is “the little things” she learned while a member of “The Family” under the tutelage of Kirk Franklin.
Speaking of “The Family”, Kisha tapped “Mother” Sheila Brice to help her on the Hawkins classic, “God Is Standing By”. If you were waiting on a ‘Kisha Grandy song’, this is it. This is good old-school gospel music, what we used to hear in the car on KHVN 970 AM, and sing at church on Sunday morning. That squall you’ve been waiting for all album? You’ll find it, here. If you’re a shoe thrower, start unlacing your kicks now and be prepared to throw more than one!
When asked about the inclusion of “Mother”, Kisha says, “I was ready to record this one and I couldn’t think of anyone else to record this with-the backbone of “The Family,” Mother was always the one with reason.” For her part on the project, “Mother” said, “I asked Kisha, “Are you sure, why me?” People don’t have to be kind and don’t have to be kind to you! I thank God for everything that Kisha has done. Sometimes you think people have forgotten about you.“
Next up on the project is the best of both worlds with “All Because of You” featuring Kelton Je’Von. To sum up this track, let’s just say, ‘trap meets scat.’ Kisha was singing with a jazz group when she began work on the album so they decided to make the scat a part of the song.
Back with more of Kisha Grandy’s gospel roots, the project pushes forward with a full, a cappella rendition of the Clark Sisters classic, “Endow Me.” Kisha confesses that she’s channeling one of her influences, Evangelist Dorinda Clark- Cole as she sings with her cousins VAA’DAM. Grandy wanted to pay homage to the first ladies of gospel music and thank them for their influence on singers, musicians, and the gospel industry as a whole. Many of their songs carry intricate harmonies and melodies that aren’t easily replicated but Grandy is satisfied with her offering saying, “I can’t sing like The Clark Sisters, but I put my foot in it!”
In another ‘family reunion’, Grandy teams up with husband-and-wife tandem Pastor Darrell and Latonja Blair for “More Than Ever.” You remember Blair from “The Family” as one of the men contributing to the signature sound. Following a few adlibs from Latonja, the song evolves into a duet with Kisha and Pastor Blair. The refrain echoed throughout the song comes from the scripture 2 Chronicles 7:14. What this track lacks is made up of sheer vocal power! Aside from an a cappella cover of “Endow Me”, this is the only track with no drums. This subtraction adds to the appeal of the song and launches it into contention alongside major mainstream offerings. This song will be on repeat and hopefully on the airwaves, as well. Such a timely song with a timeless message!
“The song resonated with me, and I knew the perfect person to help me call on God was Darrell.”
Get used to seeing Kisha Grandy and Norris J, the two are regular collaborators and have teamed up for the “You Did It” remix. Norris J says it was an easy yes for him, continuing their longstanding kinship as vocalist and lyricist. GRAMMY Award-winning recording and mix engineer, Rickey “Slikk Music” Offord produced the remix adding to his list of credits on the project.
This next one’s for the singers, “For I Know” featuring Terrell Carter. TC doesn’t hold back and brings his signature vocal clarity and acrobatics to the track as the two remind listeners that “it’s gonna get better!” Grandy says that working with Carter was the most challenging because it was hard to keep up with how impeccably he could riff throughout the song. The song is a musical conversation between longtime friends since the Tour of Life in 1996. Grandy says of Carter, “Terrell has always been an intricate person in my life, whenever I call him, he’ll drop whatever he’s doing to see what I want. He’s never forgotten me and I will always be indebted to him.”
The title track of the album is what Grandy calls “the Kirk Franklin song” alluding to the fact that putting it together reminded her of the way they put songs together while singing with “The Family.” The song closes with more scatting and Grandy’s voice-over summing up the project, “Epitome…that’s me!”