Pastor Winans took a few moments with ESSENCE.com to chat about his one of his first songs, why Detroit may not be a black city anymore and saving America’s students one charter school at a time.
ESSENCE.com: Tell us about your new album, Marvin L. Winans Presents: The Praise & Worship Experience, hitting shelves today, June 26.
PASTOR MARVIN L. WINANS: It will be an explosion in your musical taste buds. It’s not eclectic but it is diverse. It has a central theme but like a good meal, it’ll be a circus in your mouth.
ESSENCE.com: You wrote your first single “Draw Me Close” as a kid?
WINANS: “Draw Me Close” is a praise and worship song that I fell in love with. It is a little different from what the Winans have done in the past, yet it draws you in because “Thy Will Be Done” is a song I wrote as a teenager. To marry that with “Draw Me Close” gives the composition a soulful twist, like sweet tea with a mint leaf.
ESSENCE.com: What do you think is the future of your embattled hometown of Detroit?
WINANS: America cannot afford to let Detroit fail. The players are going to change; it won’t be a black city but it won’t fail. It’s too important to America, considering its location and international border.
ESSENCE.com: I hear you’re expanding your charter school legacy in Detroit, which began with the Winans Academy of Performing Arts.
WINANS: We’ve been so successful that the Detroit Public Schools system has asked us to take over a school and turn it around. We’re excited and we’re also working on another Winans Academy of Performing Arts (W.A.P.A.) in St. Louis to open in 2013. Education is central to the development of this generation, when they're building more prisons than schools.
ESSENCE.com: Finally, what can people expect from your sermon at the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience?
WINANS: The first time I preached there, I told them, "Ya’ll come in here for music and the poor preacher that has to get up behind all that stuff?" It’s difficult to break that, when people are up dancing and jumping. I’ll try to be brief. What I preached last time was "Same City, Different Street." I don’t know what I’ll preach yet [this year], but I’ll be praying that the Lord will give me something just for the audience. Let the church say, "Amen."
Don’t miss Pastor Winans at the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience on July 6-8 in New Orleans -- get your tickets here!