Over the last two or three years, there’s been a huge gospel music industry buzz enveloping the firecracker vocalist known as Lisa Knowles. Now, she and her longtime group, The Brown Singers, are in the spotlight for their first CD to be released on One Voice Media. The eleven- track project The Evolution Continues gives their loyal fans the traditional quartet they expect but also introduces a more varied musical variety than past albums.
Brown’s cameo slots on recordings by high-profile artists such as John P. Kee, The Williams Brothers, Earnest Pugh and James Fortune & FIYA have generated praise for her dynamic vocal delivery.
“I’ve always been labeled as one thing,” says Knowles who wrote or co-wrote most of the music. “Oh, she’s just a quartet singer or she’s just a churchy singer but there are so many layers to me. I’m just showcasing what God gave me. People ask how I categorize myself and I say: I don’t know. I’m just Lisa.”
Marque Walker, who has produced a range of stars stretching from newcomer Jekalyn Carr to the legendary Vickie Winans, gave the group’s traditional rhythms a fresh, contemporary sound. “He’s one of the greatest producers,” Knowles adds. “He’s a very low key guy but he’s a great producer.”
The songs vary from contemporary tracks like “Use Me” and “What He’s Done For Me” to the hit radio single – “God Do It” a ferocious quartet stomper that was written by Knowles’ grandfather, a pastor.
“My grandfather is notorious for making up songs in the middle of a church service,” she laughs. “Whenever offering is being taken up he’ll make up a song at the drop of a hat. I play piano so he’ll say Lisa pick this up. And he’ll start singing something I have no idea where he’s going with it so I put him in C and pray that I can follow him.” The album is rounded out with the jazzy “This Too Shall Pass” and an electrifying remake of LaShun Pace’s retro groove “He’s Able.”
The man behind this new level of visibility for Lisa Knowles & The Brown Singers is Zantino M. Kimmons who is releasing the new CD via his One Voice Media label that’s distributed by Central South in Nashville, TN.
Kimmons has managed the careers of artists such as Vincent Tharpe & Kenosis and serves as Creative Director to The Temple of Deliverance C.O.G.I.C. Church in Memphis. “It’s been a dream of mine to bring great talents such as Lisa Knowles & The Brown Singers to the forefront of the gospel world,” he says. “We have several great artists that we’re prepping for the world to hear.”
The Brown Singers were formed in the late 1970s by Lisa Knowles’ grandmother, Willie Mae Richmond whose maiden name is Brown. The Memphis group performed together for almost a decade before Knowles joined during the 5th grade when she was nine years old. By the time she was 12, she was the lead singer.
“I had a drive,” she laughs. “I love doing this and the way it makes me feel.” Over the last two decades, the group has enjoyed quartet hits such as “Work On Me,” “I Need You Lord Jesus” and “Zion.”