Houston, Texas-based singer and pianist Kim Burrell calls what she does "jazz gospel," and her ability to write a good portion of the material she records and performs makes her a rarity in the gospel field. To say she started performing early would be an understatement, since she took her first vocal solo with a church choir when she was only one-year-old. The daughter of a pastor and an evangelist singer, Burrell began her professional career with Rev. James Cleveland's Gospel Music Workshop Choir, Trinity Temple Full Gospel Mass Choir of Dallas, and the Inspirational Sounds Mass Choir of Houston. Her recording debut came in 1995 with the release of Try Me Again on Pearl Records. The buzz around the release led to her signing with Tommy Boy Gospel, which released a second solo project, the Asaph Alexander Ward-produced Everlasting Life in 1998. Live in Concert followed in 2001, also on Tommy Boy. Unfortunately, the label folded a year later and she was briefly signed to Elektra Records but only recorded a handful of guest spots for the imprint, although she continued to make frequent live appearances. In 2004 she made an unlikely guest turn on R. Kelly's "3-Way Phone Call" and sang with funkster George Clinton on his 2008 album, George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love. She has shared the stage with gospel artists Shirley Caesar, Donnie McClurkin, Karen Clark-Sheard, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, and Marvin Winans, among others, and has worked in the secular side of things with Missy Elliot, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, and Harry Connick, Jr., to name just a few. She released her first new studio album in 11 years, No Ways Tired, in 2009 on Shanachie Records. Another new studio effort, The Love Album, appeared from Shanachie two years later in 2011 and fared well on the Billboard charts, netting Burrell a Grammy nomination. Following 2015's From a Different Place, Burrell teamed up with R&B star Pharrell Williams for the song "I See a Victory," which was featured in the 2016 film Hidden Figures. ~ Steve Leggett
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