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SMOKIE NORFUL
"Forever Yours"

By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post

   “Forever Yours” sounds like a love letter.  It is exactly that – it is Smokie Norful’s ultimate love letter to God and as with all classic love letters, it is an unabashed outpouring of his feelings thoughts and affections towards God. It is a musical composition of all styles and sentiments from Smokie’s heart shared with you.  It has been five years since Smokie’s last full length new album and while it has been a long journey for Norful, “Forever Yours” points to his grateful and love-filled heart.

    In today’s fast paced music industry, five years is a long time for top tier artists to release a new album.  Taking his time, Smokie went through different phases with the album but it is the evolution of “Forever Yours” that has been the most rewarding for Norful.  He has seen God direct and appoint this project to be exactly what it is supposed to be. 

    “That’s how it’s come together, God has given me certain creative people  … all of them coming together to make this a phenomenal compilation of music,” he said.
    “I have enjoyed this process more than any other album I’ve ever done,” Smokie continued.  “I was able to take my time and just create music … I was uninhibited with no tight deadlines, no pressure from the label. None of the usual hurry up or rushing and honestly was the most amazing place to be in my career.”

    As is Norful’s trademark, “Forever Yours” offers great versatility in a seamless way.  A clear result of working with a number of talented and accomplished producers including Aaron Lindsey, Tony Dixon, Derek D.O.A. Allen, Elvis Williams (Blac Elvis) and Warryn Campbell.  From ballads, the strongest weapon in Norful’s arsenal, to dance tracks and contemporary R&B styled songs to upbeat praise and worship, “Forever Yours” has literally something for everyone. 

    Norful’s resonant vocals are at their peak right now and are beautifully matched with the range of musicality of the album.  A perfect example is the first radio single “No Greater Love,” currently at #8 on Billboard’s Gospel Music Charts (See at right).

    “No Greater Love” a stately sounding ballad with the simplest of messages, says there is no greater love than that of Jesus’s transcendent love.  It was Norful’s first time working with super producer, Aaron Lindsey who Smokie calls “a masterful musician.” 

   “When Aaron first played the song, I thought I have to have that,” said Norful.  “It fits me … my style of singing, my presentation … we worked on it together and I contributed lyrics to infuse my own voice.”

    Working with long time producer Tony Dixon, Norful says their musical chemistry is evident.

    “Nothing is forced or contrived,” said Norful. “All of that comes across in the music – it happened beautifully and powerfully.”  One such example is the album’s title track “Forever Yours.”  The embodiment of the love letter that is this entire project, Norful wrote the song as a declaration of his commitment to God. 

    “The tone of the song speaks of solemnity, of the absolute reverence I have for God. I called the album ‘Forever Yours’ because I am here to be used by Him [forever] … that I’m nothing without Him in my life. This is the season where I stand now, literally ‘here I stand’ and I will never leave Him again.”

  Another product of the pair working together is “Imperfect Me,” a reflective, expressive and soulful tune that everyone can connect to.   

    “It moves people and causes them to think …could we have excelled if it were up to our own abilities … None of us would have ever made it because we are all unqualified in some way – who hasn’t fallen?; who hasn’t made a mistake?,” said Smokie. 

  “I felt something just from hearing the music. Then I was hit with writer’s block … I couldn’t come up with the right thing. We brought in Harold Lily (one of the industry’s most prolific writers). He came in, wrote the first verse and it snowballed from there.  It’s an incredible song.”

   With influences of soft rock and pop, the mid tempo ballad, “In The Meantime,” is another personal song for Norful that speaks to total reliance on God. Originally the title cut, the song communicates specifically the place where Norful has been over the last five years. 

  “In the season between the last album and this album I’ve gone through much internal growth,” said Norful  “It was a dark place but the hope of what I knew God was capable of doing is what kept me moving. It literally talks about that place where you ask God for something and believe in your heart that HE is God and He’s faithful to do what He promised He would do.  The song was born out of being in the place between asked and answered.”

    Livening things up are “Love,” a bouncy, rhythmic track from Warryn Campbell and the ambling, cheery reggae song “Nothing Is Impossible” contributed by A-list producer Blac Elvis. Another clear-cut winner is the-soon-to-be Sunday morning staple, “Mighty God,” an upbeat, infectious song produced and written by the Aaron Lindsey and Israel Houghton. 

  “I told them I wanted a praise and worship song, something that can get the service started and when I heard this song it was exactly what I needed,” Norful said.

  A Smokie Norful album would not be a Smokie Norful album if he wasn’t playing the piano somewhere.  “I Need A Word,” finds Norful back at the piano where his rich, clear tenor matches perfectly with his exceptional playing ability.

    With his soulful tenor vocals and an unerring ability to fuse contemporary gospel with hip-hop sensibilities, Smokie is one of the brightest lights on the current gospel scene. The son of an African Methodist Episcopal minister, he spent his first 14 years in Muskogee, OK, where he absorbed music ranging from sacred gospel to the secular soul that was popular at the time, and both strains would serve him well when he began his professional singing career. By the age of two Norful was picking out melodies on piano, by four he was actively playing and singing in his father's church, and by ten he was a featured artist on a custom album assembled by a regional music director.

    Although music was his enduring passion, Norful instead opted to study history at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, eventually working as a history instructor for four years before relocating to Chicago in 1998 in order to earn a Masters of Divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary.

 After his graduation, Norful remained in Chicago as an assistant pastor at the Rock of Ages Baptist Church and stayed active in various church choirs, eventually catching the ear of Joe Anne Brunson, leader of the Thompson Community Choir, who asked him to sing one of his original songs for the choir's Real album, which essentially launched Norful's professional singing career. His debut solo album, I Need You Now, was released by Chordant in 2002, followed by a live album called Limited Edition from EMI Gospel in 2003.

   Norful has characterized his music as "urban inspirational," an apt term that allows him to stretch the boundaries of traditional gospel while still remaining true to its purpose. EMI Gospel also released Norful's second solo album, Nothing Without You, in 2004, which stayed on top of the gospel music charts for months. Life Changing appeared in 2006, and in 2009, EMI Gospel released Smokie Norful Live.

   And, now, Smokie is back with a long awaited studio album, “Forever Yours.” His hope for the album: “My prayer is that the world will get to hear it and experience it with me … to take the journey with me. I hope it accomplishes meeting people at the point of their need.”  “I don’t want anyone to leave my music or my ministry without receiving hope, healing and empowerment. I think this album has that for people at all different points and seasons in their lives.”

    Smokie closes his love letter as anyone would to the love of their life: Forever Yours.

From blackgospel.com

 

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#8
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SMOKIE NORFUL

"No Greater Love"
(from Forever Yours)

Retail Price: $9.99
CBD Price: $8.99
You Save $1.00
(Save 10%)

Norful's first full-length studio album in over five years, "Forever Yours" is definitely worth the wait. Having worked with a myriad of producers and hit-makers including Tony Dixon, Derek D.O.A. Allen, Aaron Lindsey, Elvis Williams (Blac Elvis) and Warryn Campbell, this is poised to be one of the most talked about albums of the year. Includes the hit, "No Greater Love"
________________

Smokie Norful
"Life Changing"



Grammy Award-Winning Artist Smokie Norful's third full-length CD, Life Changing. Considered the “Voice of Inspiration,” Smokie once again lives up to his name by delivering work that is expressive, heartfelt, and passionate. The new project is a regeneration of the EMI Gospel artist, and was inspired by a series of life-changing events that have taken place in Norful’s life over the past few years: fatherhood, pastoring a rapidly growing church, and experiencing musical success.
“Since reconnecting with ministry and the true nature of my call (preaching), I have literally seen life change…in a wonderful way!” states Norful, while discussing the genesis of the project. “For me, this project is truly a rejuvenation of Smokie Norful. It is part of a series of events that have been life changing for me. I hope that listeners will be inspired to be better…to do better…to worship better…as a result of these songs.”
 
Includes the hit, "Celebrate"

________________

Smokie NOrful
"Nothing Without You"


Retail Price: $17.99
CBD Price: $12.99
You Save $5.00
(Save 28%)

Following up on his Gold certified debut I Need You Now, velvety vocalist Smokie Norful returns with Nothing Without You, a 12 track album of moving, powerful contemporary gospel numbers. Includes "God Is Able," "Power", "Worthy", "In the Middle", "Continuous Grace", and more.
Audio clips are available to listen to before you purchase.

________________

Smokie Norful

"Justified"
(from
Smokie Norful Live)

Retail Price: $13.99
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 (Save 14%)

Smokie's 4th CD includes the hit, "Justified."

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