Le’Andria Johnson needs no introduction at this point in her career. In September 2011, Johnson released “The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson,” which includes the Grammy-winning ‘Jesus.’ This contemporary gospel album went to no. 3 on the Billboard Magazine chart for Independent Albums.
Johnson’s coronation song, ‘I Shall Leap’, peaked at no. 15 on the US Hot Gospel Songs chart, where it altogether enjoyed a 21-week chart run.
“The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson” was well-received because the music had so much purpose + passion within the production process. Album includes incredible writing from industry veterans like Mathew Knowles, Raphael Saadiq, Quincy Jones, and more.
I press play on this album often, as I find myself reconnecting and relying on God. Album further helps me realize the presence and power God really has. You can just hear it in Johnson’s vocal vitality throughout the album’s entirety.
Of the 14 tracks included on the deluxe edition of “The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson,” I’m excited to share with you my favorite six.
‘IT’S GONNA BE ALRIGHT’
Album opens with the encouraging ‘It’s Gonna Be Alright’, which was composed by Stanley Brown & Mathew Knowles. Song’s purpose is self-explanatory: It’s Gonna Be Alright. Johnson makes it clear with the following lyrics, that she walks in faith, not fear:
There’s no need to cry / Things are gonna be alright / Dry your weeping eyes / God is on your side / There’s no need to cry / Look up to the sky / God is on your side / Thing are gonna be alright
This song reached no. 25 on US Hot Gospel Songs chart, and spent eight weeks on chart. Anyone on a faith walk can appreciate this song for the encouraging light that it shines.
‘CAST THE FIRST STONE’
This Charles Harmon co-write speaks to people throwing stones when their own homes are made of glass. With opening lyric, “He without sin cast the first stone,” Johnson sends a message that inspires us not to judge others when we are not perfect ourselves.
‘MAKE HIM LIKE YOU’
Happens to be 1 of 2 of my favorite songs from this album. Song is another co-composition by Charles Harmon, which simply asks of God to send a potential partner who understands who he is to the Lord- and further walks confidently in that purpose.
Love is the search of spirit, a spirit that transcends many of the wild ways of this earth. This song sounds like a small prayer one might send to God each night, after having lived through an unfruitful relationship or two. The next song on the album, ‘New Reasons,’ is the joyous response to God’s quick answer of this prayer.
The success of this song is a clear representation of Johnson’s purpose in music. Her conviction when singing the song live, and on a recording, can be felt like ‘In the Midst of It All,’ by Yolanda Adams. This soul song is so powerful, that it earned Johnson a Grammy Award – the first for any Sunday Best contestant – at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.
‘LET IT GO’
This Raphael Saadiq co-write reminds us all that faith and worry only results in stagnancy. No one wants to help you, or believe in you, if you don’t first want to do those things for yourself. God loved us before we even knew of him, and this song reassures us that love stands stronger than ever. To experience it, all we have to do is let it go this very moment.
The outro of ‘Let It Go’ confirms that strong faith results in a reimagined reality:
Right on time, right on time, I know for myself / God will handle it well, God will handle it well / I know, I know, I know, I know, oh / God will handle it well.
‘SUNDAY BEST MEDLEY 2’
Each time I listen to this song on the album, it takes me right back to when Le’Andria Johnson blessed the Sunday Best stage with her powerful praise. I cannot locate the video online, but here’s the audio from the Gospel Best compilation. Song is a beautiful combination of ‘Maybe God Is Trying to Tell You Something’ by Quincy Jones, and ‘Running Back to You’ by Fred Hammond.
And just to be completely honest, I appreciate every song on “The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson,” which is why I was excited to tell you guys about this album. When you toggle over to stream it, listen to ‘Overtaken‘ first- it’s my second favorite.
Johnson has a new album out at this point, called “Bigger Than Me,” and it’s also available on Apple Music.