So why donít you introduce yourself to our readers?

  Iím a gospel singer from Houston and I am probably best known for singing the lead on James Fortune & FIYAís #1 hit ďI Believe.Ē I donít know how many weeks that song was #1 on the gospel charts but that song and another song I did with James called ďThe BloodĒ really got people talking about Zacardi Cortez and now here I am making music on my own.

 How did you get started
in the music scene?

  Iíve been singing since I was five years old. I have three sisters and a brother and my mom made us into a gospel group around that time. We were known as The Cortez Singers and we sang all around Houston at churches. I think we have performed at every church in Houston at least three times [laughs].

 Why Gospel?

  I was raised in the church and gospel music is my first love. I could do R&B or something else but I donít feel that Ė from a performance standpoint Ė the way I feel gospel. In spite of some of the retarded things Iíve done in my life, Iím a church boy at heart so gospel is my comfort zone. Plus, itís a calling and I feel like this is the kind of music Iím supposed to do.

 What are your music influences?

  I love quartet music. If I could I think Iíd be a quartet singer because thatís just fun music and I grew up on that. But, I really love old music like Ray Charles, Johnnie Taylor, Marvin Gaye, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and that whole era of music is just some of the best. So, between those things and my family showing me vocal techniques, thatís how my style evolved.

 How do you see the scene
nowadays?

  I think itís a great music scene today. Iíve never been into rap that much but I listen to a little bit of it. But I really love singers. Because of the Internet and YouTube, people are exposed to a lot more music and maybe different kinds of music that they might not have noticed otherwise so itís a great time to be alive and enjoy the best of the old and the best of the new.