The Kennedy Center

Yolanda Adams


Yolanda Adams has been wowing gospel audiences all over the world since her 1988 debut, the acclaimed and uplifting Just As I Am. Critics hail Ms. Adams as one of gospel's “seminal” voices, even though she has ventured out of gospel’s more sanctimonious confinements, and hooked up with some of pop's most formidable producers, such as Keith Thomas, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

The eldest of six siblings, her pioneering spirit and boundless optimism soon became her trademark. Ms. Adams solid church background and love of all kinds of music left her with a respect for traditional musical hues, as well as a desire for more contemporary interpretation.

It was while she served as a lead singer with the Southeast Inspirational Choir that Ms. Adams caught the eye of the prolific composer/producer Thomas Whitfield. He guided her first album, Just As I Am for Sound of Gospel Records. She went on to sing for the Tribute label in 1990, and was soon hailed as the most versatile contemporary gospel singer since Aretha Franklin.

Ms. Adams’ brilliant follow-up albums have won several Stellar awards, Gospel’s highest accolade.  Her 1999 album Mountain High… Valley Low won both a Grammy Award and an American Music Award.  Her 2001 live album The Experience also won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album.  Ms. Adams’ “bring-the-crowd-to-their-feet” reputation has now become the stuff of pop legend. 

The singer, whose love of children’s causes is almost as legendary as her singing, eagerly embraces the social responsibility that comes with the blessings of success. Ms. Adams has served as a spokesperson for the FILA Corporation’s Operation Rebound program, which address the concerns of inner city school children. She recalls her days as a teacher fondly, and tries to instill in her audience the need for positive reinforcement, no matter from what walk of life.
Yolanda Adams