The soulful all-female gospel group Zie'l was formed in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1998 while members were still in their early to mid-teens. Noted for their striking multi-part harmonies and impressive range, Christina Bell, her sister Crystal Bell, Aphten Jones, Keyondra Lockett, and Undrea Northcutt signed with Light Records for their 2006 debut, Genesis, which included a cover of the Clark Sisters' "Is My Living in Vain." After a hiatus with little word of their status, they returned in mid-2013 with a funky stand-alone single, "Redeemed," now a trio without Northcutt or Jones. A single written by Lockett and produced by Drathoven (Yolanda Adams, Tyrese), "State of Emergency," appeared in the spring of 2014 on Dream Records, and the album Zie'l (Pronounced Zy-El) arrived that fall. A mix of contemporary gospel and contemporary R&B, it featured Louisiana hip-hop artist A1 Bold on the highly processed electro-R&B track, "Determined." "State of Emergency" went on to hit the Top 20 of Billboard's Gospel Airplay chart in 2015. ~ Marcy Donelson
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