Norma is a critically acclaimed composer of Jewish sacred music. Her melodies are sung in congregations across the United States. She co-founded Shalshelet, an international organization supporting the creation of new liturgical music.
Vince is a renowned pianist and arranger who has performed and recorded with Prince, Bill Withers, Luther Vandross, Isaac Hayes, Phyllis Hyman, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Angie Stone, Chuck Brown and Patti LaBelle, among others.
VANESSA R. WILLIAMS
One of gospel's most recognizable voices, Vanessa has performed around the world as one of the lead singers in Richard Smallwood's Grammy Award-winning choir, Vision. Her self-titled album hit the top ten on the Billboard Gospel chart.
The Psalm Full of Soul project began with a chance studio encounter. In 2008, I was halfway through completing a music album when one of my recordings disappeared. A sympathetic engineer introduced me to Vince Evans. I handed him my music, and he proceeded to create a magnificent arrangement for "Jerusalem, Wake to Peace" (Psalm 122). I was in awe.
I brought Vince more songs to arrange and suggested a background choir on a few pieces. Vince immediately thought of his friend Vanessa R. Williams to help us. He said she could be our "entire choir" in just a few takes.
The moment Vanessa began singing I was moved to tears. Her singing expressed a deep spiritual connectedness. The dynamic between the three of us was invigorating, and we continued to meet and create music every Thursday for over three years.
The story of our journey is perhaps best described in Vanessa's own words: "We've brainstormed, written, studied, laughed, fussed, agreed, gone off on tangents, questioned, scrapped, started over, listened, learned, prayed, cried, paused, found a second wind, sat, waited, critiqued, sipped wonderful coffees and teas, and enjoyed wonderful meals."
One particular highlight was the night the Blind Boys of Alabama came to Vince's studio to record the Psalm Full Of Soul song "Eternal Light" with Vanessa. Together with guest artists, we journey through jazz, gospel, classical and funk with new melodies for sacred texts. Within a diversity of cultures and traditions lies our global soul.