The gospel music landscape has shifted. The sound has emerged to encompass more beats and drum patterns as the artists have evolved to deliver the message with unmistakable vocal capability while embracing their own unique style. Enter Latice Crawford. Make no mistake, the Queens, New York native is anointed. Blessed with a gift to sing and a distinctively characteristic package, Latice embodies the spirit of obedience and sacrifice. Deeply moved to shave her head bald after a chance encounter with a cancer patient struggling with self-esteem, the Sunday Best finalist is poised and prepared to fully walk in her unique anointing with the release of her RCA Inspiration, self-titled debut album, Latice Crawford.
For Latice, the road to walk in her blessing has not always been apparent. Suffering from social anxiety disorder as a youth, Latice shied away from people and places. Taking a leap of faith one choice day in 2009, God began to use her voice to heal her condition as she stepped off the plane in Atlanta to audition for BET's gospel competition series Sunday Best. As Latice recalls, “I could hear God saying, you can choose what I’m giving you to do, or choose what you want to do.”
Over the course of the series, Latice wowed the judges, most notably with her rendition of the James Cleveland classic, “Peace Be Still.” The result - Latice became a top three finalist during the second season of the series and her personal relationships began to shift and expand. Her once reserved father became more expressive and she met her soul mate, fellow Sunday Best participant Jeff Spain. Jeff and Latice wed and produced a son, Joshua. Their unexpected love connection led to the Centric TV reality series Almost Married and her story is still being written. “Sunday Best made me feel like I had a purpose for being here,” and being ushered outside of her comfort zone has laid the foundation to walk in her purpose.
Latice’s music ministry continued after the TV series as her family expanded in Atlanta. Traveling nationally and internationally to spread the gospel, it was a chance airport encounter with a label executive that sparked the initiation of her deal. Once officially signed in 2012, the making of her debut album was a journey of exploration to break out of the box. “It is a process to balance ministry and industry. I must be able to ask for my check and serve the people. To learn how to keep myself filled while still pouring out,” acknowledges Latice. Making the album, “I was trying to figure out what statement I wanted to make. I’m a chameleon and I wanted to find a safe way to express my versatility.”
Writing seven of the ten songs on Latice Crawford stretched the singer/songwriter to explore “relationship type songs.” Collaborating with producers Bruce Robinson (Britney Spears, Ron Isley, Justin Bieber) and Denarius “Motesart” Motes (Celine Dion, Nelly Furtado) for the album, Latice took time to put all the pieces together because she desires to connect with people through relatable experiences.
The first single “There” speaks about God showing up in our season of desolation. Over the groovy, melodic track Latice brings a feeling of warmth and happiness as she declares “rain or shine…just when I need you…like a superhero, right on time to make a way, you’re right there.” In a similar vein, with its horns and down home feel, “You Should Know By Now,” delivers a powerful, funky punch about knowing and understanding the fullness of God. Reminiscent of Tina Turner, Latice’s personality comes alive as she powerfully delivers a vocal strut. On the self-professed “churchy” uptempo track “Break Loose,” Latice conveys instructions for everyone to shake the devil, break the shackles and “let go of the drama and the stress.”
“I try to write from natural places,” Latice describes. “I don’t want people to be scared because the church doesn’t talk about certain things. I was the girl that looked for love outside of my family because I didn’t hear my father say I love you. He showed it, I just didn’t hear it.” “Back To You” was written during a challenging season for the singer - running away from God and the calling upon her life. The opening piano chords set the tone, “as I was in a desperate place wanting Him to hear me.” The song is intended to minister to those in need of finding their way back to the source. “Through It All,” captures a wilderness transition period in her family’s life after losing their home in Atlanta and relocating back to New York, lyrically noting “in the midst of a storm, after you fall. Don’t be afraid, he’s right there loving you through it all.”
Close to Latice’s heart are the songs she penned with her son Joshua in mind – “I’d Feel Alive” and “Joshua’s Anthem.” As a light that was birthed from the love she shares with Jeff, the instrumentation on both songs deliver a level of comfort about God’s grace that extends to the love Latice has for her son.
Prepared to give back and share her gift with the masses, Latice Crawford is continuing on a divine journey. Just as she has overcome her anxiety disorder and faced adversity with faith and confidence, this album is designed to touch the hearts of believers and non-believers alike. “It’s not about religion, it’s about the relationship. I want people to know that I am someone who lives and walks what they say.” Passionate and purposeful, there’s only one Latice Crawford. And just as Latice continues to respond to that still, small voice, it’s easy to discern that her music and career will undoubtedly ascend to heights beyond what she can think and imagine.