Gospel artist Lisa McClendon expands to jazz

Photo credit: Legends Eyes

How would you present the reinvented Lisa McClendon to others?

I would present Lisa McClendon’s reinvention as a rebirth of the Ella Fitzgerald era, the realm where music had its own language and timeless sound.

How many albums have you had in the gospel arena over the years?

I have a total of six albums that have been released in the gospel genre.

What were your fans’ favorite gospel songs?

I have to say that the most popular song for me in gospel music would have to be “You Are Holy”. I think every church in America has sung or sings this song yet in their services.

Why did you take a break from music?

I never really took a break from music; I slowed down. I slowed down because I had just remarried and was settling into a new life. Then I became a master’s student in herbalist, which I still am today and I can’t wait to finish my studies.

What challenges did you encounter in getting back to music?

I think the biggest challenge is me. I am confronted daily with the fear of losing my supporters because I have extended my music to jazz. I have no doubts that I am doing what is in my heart, so far the fans have been wonderful and they are excited about the new album coming up.

Why did you expand into jazz?

Well, in my heart and my sound, I’ve always been jazz. I was just lucky enough to be discovered singing in church. So even though it was a dream come true for me, I was always hesitant to sign on a gospel label because I knew I was much more than that. Now I can be all that I am.

Who are the artists who stand out in the jazz genre?

First up Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Pearl Bailey. I am also a huge fan of the late Natalie Cole and Betty Carter. These days I enjoy the sound of Somi and Cecile McLorin Salvant.

Are you currently working on more music?

I am. We just released a promotional video for my next single, “I’ll Fall In Love again”. We are preparing to enter the studio this fall to begin recording the new album.

When can people expect to hear some of your new music?

New music is already circulating on YouTube, and starting this fall, you’ll start hearing more of what to expect.

What do you want to tell your gospel fans about your expansion in jazz?

That I’m still Lisa. Gospel will always be part of my roots and my sound. Finally, I am delighted to have their continued support in this expansion.

What does Lisa like to do when she’s not making music?

When I’m not making music, I am gardening. I am currently involved in the management of a local community garden. I absolutely love it. It’s at my house. I also teach children how to garden and eat healthy.

Do you think your recent Periscope video about you and your husband’s marital issues could affect your fan base?

It shouldn’t. People have marital problems all the time. While they might not be exposing them on social media, I surprisingly found that many women and men needed to see my pain in order to be encouraged to face theirs.

What are some final thoughts you want to share with those who have been inspired by you over the years?

Never be afraid of change. Every day we are moving towards something bigger and better. Do not deny yourself the opportunity to develop yourself.


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