From his days in gospel’s dynamic duo Bebe & CeCe Winans to his solo work on stage and screen, Bebe Winans’ music has inspired millions for nearly 35 years. But the person receiving the most solace from this moment in his career right now is himself. In an upcoming episode of ESSENCE’s Yes, Girl podcast, the Grammy Award winning gospel artist revealed why recording a cover of Luther Vandross’ iconic “Power of Love/Love Power” was healing for him.
“It was a real therapeutic thing for me,” said Winans, who also shared that another personal tragedy made it difficult processing the loss of Vandross. “Because it was, it was a double whammy for me when he passed because my brother Ronald passed right before him and so it took me some time.”
But during the recording process for “Power of Love/Love Power,” which appears on Winan’s new album, Need You, he felt Vandross’s presence. “So going into the studio and doing that was whoa. I could feel him smiling,” he said, adding “I think this is my best work ever.”
Many artists are reluctant reinterpreting the classics and the proud Detroit native initially wasn’t sure about taking on the challenge. “It took me awhile to even say, yes, I’ll do it,” said Winans. However, him attempting to take on the record was a way of paying tribute to the beautiful friendship between these two legends of song. Their mutual respect has even played a part in what songs we know and love from each artist.
“Oh, I’m telling you when it started out it was like a secret that Luther and I were on various albums. I would either fly into Los Angeles, or Luther would be here in New York, and we would ride around in the car and listen to each other’s album. He would suggest what single I should release. And I would suggest what single he should release,” said Winans on their shared reverence for each other’s work.
“He played such an intricate part,” said Winans. “On a lot of BeBe and CeCe records, [Vandross] arranged some of the background and he would sing on a lot of the background for us.”
Ultimately Winans’ was satisfied with his cover of “Power of Love/Love Power” and he wasn’t alone in knowing he did the song justice. After hearing the final remake, Winans said that Stevie Wonder, “called in and blessed it.”
And that’s one cosign we cannot deny.