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Interviews
: Lashun Pace


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::  Official Web Site  ::
EMIGospel.com

Listen to tracks from
"It's My Time"

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The divine gift for eliciting praise from God’s people through song is an anointed ability.  Breaking the yokes of hardened souls, healing wounded hearts and lifting spirits that were once shackled is a uniquely God-given talent. 

Some ministers are appointed with these heavenly gifts through the power of the Word, while others are endowed with these talents as holy minstrels.  Then, there is LaShun Pace, an ordained psalmist with an angelic voice that has stirred hundreds of thousands of spirits into humble contrition.    

Ever since her childhood days in Chi-town, LaShun Pace was bestowed with this remarkable ability to sing in such a way that souls are set free.  Her gift has set her apart from many of today’s talented crop of singers, even outshining her talented siblings (The Anointed Pace Sisters) that gained such huge acceptance back in the early ‘90s.

But in recent years, LaShun Pace’s divine gift for singing grew silent.  Suffering through a series of very personal tragedies and professional adversities, Ms. Pace withdrew from the center stage and took time off to seek the Lord.  Her decision to find refuge through God was critical to her full recovery as a woman and divine instrument. 

Now, nearly five years since her previous release - God Is Faithful (Malaco) – LaShun Pace is finally back, singing about God’s faithfulness, while she forges ahead with the special message she’s been given from God.

Her new album is aptly entitled, It’s My Time (EMI Gospel), a declaration of sorts from LaShun Pace that after enduring the dramas of life, she’s ready to declare the glory of the Lord.  BLACKGOSPEL.COM spoke with LaShun Pace about her recent experiences in life that is serving as such an incredible testimony for others who have also endured unspeakable hardships.

Christopher Heron: Folks from Chicago like to refer to their city as the Mecca for Gospel music. I’m sure that, as children, you and your sisters were influenced by some of the legends who called Chicago their home like Mahalia Jackson, Shirley Caesar and the Barrett Sisters. How did seeing these legends as a kid affect you and your sisters?

LaShun Pace: Well, we all watched how they performed Gospel music with such excellence.  The music was always special because it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Every one of their performances was a great influence upon our lives.  It’s just the special way artists of that time interpreted the songs.   It was a big part of why we wanted to sing Gospel music.  

CH:  Over the years, many Gospel fans and members from the Church of God In Christ have drawn comparisons between the Anointed Pace Sisters of Chicago, Illinois and the Clark Sisters of Detroit, Michigan. I know both families grew up attending the COGIC convention.  Did both families have the opportunity to sing together at the convocation services in Memphis or perform in concerts together as children?

LP: Unfortunately, we never performed together, on one stage all at the same time.  But we have performed on the same programs together.  And it’s always awesome.  Their mother – Dr. Mattie Moss Clark - encouraged (The Anointed Pace Singers) to sing at the annual COGIC convocation. She would teach all my sisters to sing, while we were members in the mass choir.

CH: The Anointed Pace Sisters made quite an impression with their debut album, U-Know.  The group followed up with another great release My Purpose. But you were well on your way as a solo artist with the release of your debut album, “He lives” while in the midst of recording, Shekinah Glory.  Did you consider remaining a part of the Anointed Pace Sisters, since you were the backbone of the group or did you feel a very strong calling to pursue your solo ministry?

LP: I had no problem leaving the Anointed Pace Sisters because they’re a great group and they would always be very good, even without me.  Duranice (Pace) can hold any crowd’s attention.  And you can pass the microphone to a couple of my sisters who can also sing.  I had no fear about how they would be without me. But before I started my solo career, I did make sure, under the leading of the spirit of the Lord, that their first album was released.  I wanted to remain a part of the Anointed Pace Sisters because they are my sisters but I knew I had to go out on my own because there was this strong calling of the Lord on my life to be a solo artist. 

CH:  You’ve had a number of cameo appearances on other artist’s albums since you launched your solo career, such as with Rev. Clay Evans and Rev. Jonathan Grier.  But perhaps the most memorable cameo appearance was when you were featured on the title track of Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar recording at Howard University and released back in ’88.  The cast of featured artists on the album included Rev. John P. Kee, Bishop Walter Hawkins, Pastor Yvette Flunder and Lynette Hawkins-Stephens.  Some of Gospel music’s finest musicians were also lending their gifts to the recording like Kevin Bond, David Blakely, David Blakely and Andrew Gouche.  But the highlighted song was a duet you shared with Keith Dobbins, called “That Name”.  From that day forward, everyone was talking about LaShun Pace.  How did that collaboration with the Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir recording come about?

LP: Well, Edwin Hawkins has always shown me a lot of love. He likes to call me his “Georgia baby” and I have always loved Edwin Hawkins.  Many years ago, back when I was married and was known as LaShun Pace Rhodes, my husband and I went to the Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar in Texas for our Honeymoon.  Edwin showed his fondness for my ministry from that time on.  Every song he wrote, he would ask me to lead as the psalmist. Every year, I was asked to sing his new song.  That is how I was asked to sing the title track for that album, That Name.  Our friendship started way back in ‘85 and we’ve been dear friends ever since.      

CH: I believe you’re in an elite class of female vocalists who do extraordinary things with there voices when they minister from the stage.  Artists like Vanessa Bell Armstrong, LaCresia Campbell, Kim McFarland, Kim Burrell and Karen Clark Sheard are all so special.  When you’re that good, who leaves an impression with you as a singer?

LP: The Barrett Sisters had a powerful influence over my life.  Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Lynette Hawkins-Stephens and Karen Clark Sheard, all of them were very important to me.  And my mom, she was definitely my number one mentor!

CH:  It is well known that you suffered the tragic and sudden loss of your dear eleven-year old daughter a few years ago, which forced you to withdraw from the public eye.  An experience like this would cause any parent to mourn. How did this particular tragedy affect your personal relationship with God? And what advice would you give to anyone suffering personal loss, whether it’s the loss of a child or a parent, a husband, or a wife?

LP: I can’t describe how much of a toll it took on me because her death was so sudden.  I wasn’t even expecting it. There are some deaths that you can prepare for because you see a loved one suffering.  But I never expected my daughter to leave me at eleven years old.  But God drew me closer to Him like never before.  I felt as though I was literally in His arms and He was whispering to me every step of the way, strengthening me. So, I would advise anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one to stay in the arms of Jesus, stay closer to Him and let Him strengthen you.  He will strengthen you, day by day. Just take it one day at a time with the Lord.   

CH:  You’ve had a very prolific recording career, with six albums over the last fifteen years.  Your first five albums (He Lives, Shekinah Glory, A Wealthy Place, Just Because God Said It, God Is Faithful) were live, Traditional Gospel albums.  But your new album – It’s My Time (EMI Gospel) – is very different in style and substance.  The lyrics and music reveal a new LaShun Pace.  Tell us about it.

LP: The songs were written from the tragedies and triumphs I experienced in my divorce, my difficult second pregnancy and the loss of my first daughter.  After the burial of my daughter, four days later, the man I was dating married someone else.  So these songs come from those experiences.  The album was originally twenty something songs but we narrowed it down to these eleven songs.

CH: And with Lashun Pace back in the market place and Gospel fans getting another opportunity to see and hear LaShun Pace, what will the public likely notice about today’s LaShun Pace that’s so different from before?

LP: They will see and hear a different level of maturity.  They will see growth in me as an artist and person and a lot of positive energy that God has given me since experiencing these different things.  I’m much more compassionate as a person. I pray that these are the things they will see in me.

For more information on LaShun Pace, visit www.emigospel.com.  To contact LaShun Pace for booking and guest speaking, call 678-791-5256. 

 

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Were you blessed by this interview? Please send feedback to features@blackgospel.com.

Posted: March.2005

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