In music today the word “legend” is too frequently thrown around and overused. It’s so frequently used, one might forget what a true legend really looks like.

Try this: 18 solo albums, eight Grammy Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an Oscar nomination and collaborations with Diana Ross and Elton John to Madonna and Michael Jackson.

Andrae Crouch is the definition of a true legend!

ESSENCE.COM sat down with Crouch to discuss his critically acclaimed new project, “The Journey,” and how after all these years he continues to make timeless music without so much as breaking a sweat.

ESSENCE.COM: You worked with Michael Jackson several times. What do you remember most about him?
CROUCH: Michael was a kind, gentle, soft-spoken, loving and giving person. Michael truly loved performing and sharing his gift with the world. But he was really shy also, especially with new people. Sometimes we would go to the studio and Quincy Jones would be behind the boards and I would ask, “Where is Michael?” He would be hiding in the studio because he knew the choir was coming in. I would always tease Michael about that, but that’s just who he was. He was a wonderful person.

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ESSENCE.COM: Do you think you will ever retire?
CROUCH: I love doing music and I plan to do it until I die or as long as I can walk to the piano. As long as God gives me the strength to still minister and create, I’ll do it. You know I still like to jump around on stage, especially when you have a nice Holy Ghost groove!

ESSENCE.COM: You have such an extensive catalogue. Do you ever go back and listen to your music?
CROUCH: I do go back and listen to my songs. I’m biting my fingernails the whole way through, but I do listen. I have a lot of songs I’ve wanted to re-record just because of how advanced technology is and the different instrument sounds that I’m more experienced with. So now when I hear about an artist recording my song, sometimes I’ll go to the session and some of things I wish I had done originally, I’ll tell them to put it on there. This way I get to hear the song the way I heard it when God gave it to me.

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ESSENCE.COM: Your new album “The Journey,” how does it stack up against your previous work?
CROUCH: I look at all my projects as a stair step to the next. My goal is to always get better and better. Honestly though, my albums never come out how I want them to. But now I just tell myself to shut up and let God’s will be done. On this new CD I was able to work with artists I’ve always admired, but was too scared to ask before. I worked with; Chaka Khan, Take 6, Kim Burrell, Rance Allen, Pastor Marvin Winans, Sheila E. and other great singers I was privileged to work with. I was just blown away when they said they have enjoyed my music and would sing on anything I’ve written.

ESSENCE.COM: What do you like to do in your downtime?
CROUCH: I love to cook! Sometimes I’ll just go in the kitchen and make up something and give it a name. I’ll call my sister Sandra and tell her I’ve cooked and she heads right over! And it always turns out good. I also just love to be around people. It helps with my creativity. My favorite TV show is “Family Feud” with my friend, Steve Harvey. I always get a good laugh from that show.

To get more Gospel interviews, news and music go to Gerald Jones’ blog and follow him on Twitter at

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