Since their formation in 1994, Gospel trio Virtue
have garnered Grammy, Stellar and Dove Award nominations and released 5 albums including a "greatest hits
" compilation. Now, with the release of Testimony
, the sister trio prepares to start a whole new chapter with producer and songwriter Fred ("Uncle Freddie") Jerkins of DarkChild Gospel.
"We’ve never used the same producer for an entire project," shares Karima (Trotter) Kibble. "So, this was a step of faith out of our comfort zones. But, the results speak for themselves. Freddie is an amazingly talented producer and we’re fortunate to have had the chance to work with him. This project represents Virtue at a whole new level."
Testimony, released worldwide through Integrity Gospel and Sony-BMG on June 20, features 13 songs penned by Virtue, Jerkins and vocals producer LaShawn Daniels. The album combines the sisters’ recognized harmonies and worshipful-emotive vocal style with infections dance floor rhythms and some old school gospel influences. Their notable vocals segue from R&B to pop to contemporary Gospel while the songs themselves allow Virtue to mirror their life experience with vulnerability and depth.
Jerkins comments, "This project is not only the strongest of their career, it is also the album they were destined to make."
While Virtue credits the Clark Sisters
, Winans, Take 6
, Richard Smallwood and others for influencing their musical flavor, it is their mom who is responsible for it all.
"We practically sang from the time we were born," says Ebony. "Mom taught us old hymns and every night we would have worship. We have a lot of respect for our mom, especially now that we have kids and understand the sacrifice."
Since their last CD release, two of the three sisters have had children. "Having kids has definitely impacted our ability to relate to our audience," shares Karima. "We have a wide range of people who attend Virtue concerts and being married and having children allows us to communicate about new aspects of life."
Virtue considers the task of encouraging young women crucial and uses the stage as a platform to teach women to expect greater things. "We want to show them that you don’t have to play by the rules of the world, but can set your own standards," Heather explains. "The platform that we’ve been given allows us to communicate the freedom in Jesus Christ… the freedom to have fun, to worship, to be who you are, to dream and the freedom to be women who believe."
"We’ve never used the same producer for an entire project," shares Karima (Trotter) Kibble. "So, this was a step of faith out of our comfort zones. But, the results speak for themselves. Freddie [Jerkins, of DarkChild Gospel] is an amazingly talented producer and we’re fortunate to have had the chance to work with him. This project represents Virtue
at a whole new level."
Listen to Virtue's "Follow Me":