Just one listen to any of Kim Burrell’s songs is enough to make anyone who’s never heard her name —or her powerhouse voice— a life-long fan. At this year’s ESSENCE Music Festival, the gospel star wowed the crowd during her live performance, but that’s not the only thing Burrell has got going on that her fans can marvel at. For one, she will be releasing a video project to commemorate her dear friend Whitney Houston. She’ll also be starring in a much-anticipated reality TV series and releasing a new album soon, too.
We talked to the gospel great about all of her upcoming projects and how God is helping her stay steadfast through it all.
ESSENCE.com: You were amazing at the ESSENCE Music Festival! How did it feel to be on the Empowerment Experience stage?
KIM BURRELL: It feels good to be on the ESSENCE stage. It’s such a pleasure and an honor to even be considered to come, and to know that they requested me means something altogether different. The ESSENCE stage is such a historical, legendary stage to share [my music] with my people. It means the world to me.
ESSENCE.com: What’s next for you? When will we get some new music or a new album?
BURRELL: I’m actually working on two different things. I’m working on a commemorative project for Whitney Houston and I’m also talking to BET about a television show. Of course, we just entered into season five with Sunday Best so quite a bit is going on that I’m excited about. And another album is coming, too.
ESSENCE.com: Tell me a little more about the commemorative project. Will this be your tribute to her?
BURRELL: Absolutely. I’ve shot two videos to commemorate her and I’m working on a new show on Lifetime called the Houston Family Chronicles. I’m shooting with Gary, Pat and Bobbi Kristina. Whitney left me with a lot of work to do, I have to say. She left me with a list of things to do that I’m going to follow through with because of her. The pain of losing her will make me not want to do anything ever again, but because of what she left me to do, I have to follow through.
ESSENCE.com: How is Bobbi Kristina doing?
BURRELL: Bobbi Kris is doing good. As any teenager would, she has her struggles everyday but she’s pushing though. I’m proud of her that she is doing exactly what her mother told her to do and that is to live.
ESSENCE.com: You look amazing, Kim. You’ve slimmed down. How are you maintaining your new, slim physique?
BURRELL: [Being on] the road and a nine-year-old son will do it every time. Running around with him and then just being mindful of what got me here to begin with. Protecting my heart and making sure my heart is healthy so it can keep the rest of me right. I’m happy to be alive.
ESSENCE.com: You have such a joyous, beautiful spirit and a strong relationship with the Lord. What keeps your faith going strong?
BURRELL: I am interested in only what God is interested in as it pertains to my life and the world. I love the word of God, I love talking to God. My communication through prayer is everything and I am reminded if you do good to others then good is going to come back to you. I constantly remind myself that God is my ultimate source and nothing else.