BeBe & CeCe Winans are an American gospel music brother and sister duo. BeBe (Benjamin) and CeCe (Priscilla) Winans are the seventh and eighth of "Mom" and "Pop" Winans' ten children, most of whom have had gospel music careers. Together, they have received several awards, including three Grammys.
While BeBe and CeCe were in high school, four of their elder brothers formed the successful Gospel music group The Winans. Initially known as The Winans Part II, BeBe and CeCe first appeared in the public eye when they debuted in 1982 as part of the singing group The PTL Singers on the Christian television show The PTL Club. They were introduced by Jim Bakker, and recorded their first album Lord Lift Us Up as a duo for PTL Records.
BeBe and CeCe left the PTL Singers in 1987 to pursue a musical career and that same year, Sparrow Records offered the two siblings a Gospel recording contract. Their mainstream debut release was the self-titled album BeBe & CeCe Winans. It was produced by Keith Thomas, who had at that time also produced Amy Grant and Vanessa L. Williams. The debut record gave them their first R&B hit, "I.O.U. Me," which topped R&B and inspirational charts and generated Grammy nominations, and Dove and Stellar Awards. CeCe also earned a Grammy for "Best Soul Gospel Performance, Female" for the song "For Always."
They were one of the first African American artists to receive significant airplay on contemporary Christian music radio stations and the second African American artists to receive the Dove Award in the Group of the Year category.
With the release of their second LP Heaven, they remained steadily popular with R&B audiences, spawning 12 R&B hit singles including two No. 1 singles. The pair became the first Gospel artists to see their album reach No. 1 on the Billboard sales charts in 1988. The title track also reached No. 12 on the Billboard R&B singles chart.
Other hits from the album included "Lost Without You" and "Celebrate New Life."
The album reached the R&B Top Ten, went to No. 95 on the Pop Charts and was certified Gold.
The release of their 1991 album Different Lifestyles brought their biggest success to date. It featured the singles "Addictive Love" and a cover of The Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There" featuring Mavis Staples. Both singles topped the R&B chart. Rapper MC Hammer was featured on the single "The Blood" at the height of his career. In 1992, the song peaked at No. 8 on Billboard's Christian Adult Contemporary chart.
A holiday release titled First Christmas followed in 1993. This album showcased BeBe's production skills and led to him doing production work with Whitney Houston on the soundtrack for the movie The Bodyguard as well as production and writing music for artists such as Gladys Knight, Bobby Brown, The Clark Sisters and his younger sisters Angie and Debbie Winans.
1994 saw the release of their studio album Relationships, featuring the notable singles "If Anything Ever Happened To You," "Love Of My Life," and "Stay With Me." This album conveyed a more personal approach, in CeCe's words: "A lot of people think we're supposed to be perfect, but we're people too, we go through hurt [and] pain. We get songs through experiences and as we reveal these things, people are touched."
In 2009, Still was BeBe & CeCe's first album in more than 15 years. Premiering 12 new songs, the album's lead single was "Close to You". The album won two Grammy Awards: Best Gospel Performance (the song "Grace") and Best Gospel R&B Album.
Awards and honors
As a duo, BeBe and CeCe Winans' accolades include three Grammy Awards, nine Dove Awards, two NAACP Image awards, two Soul Train Music Awards, numerous Stellar Awards, three Gold albums, and one Platinum album.
- 1991: Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album – Different Lifestyles
- 2010: Best Gospel Performance – “Grace”
- 2010: Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album – Still
GMA Dove Awards
- 1988: New Artist of the Year
- 1990: Group of the Year
- 1990: Pop/Contemporary Album – Heaven
- 1990: Pop/Contemporary Song – “Heaven”
- 1990: Contemporary Gospel Song – “With My Whole Heart”
- 1992: Group of the Year
- 1992: Contemporary Gospel Song – “Addictive Love”
- 1998: Contemporary Gospel Song – “Up Where We Belong”
- 2010: Urban Recorded Song – “Close To You”
NAACP Image awards
- 1990: Best Gospel Artist
- 1992: Best Gospel Artist
Soul Train Music Awards
- 1990: Best Gospel Album – Heaven
- 1992: Best Gospel Album – Different Lifestyles
The Walk of Fame Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has announced that BeBe & CeCe Winans names will be added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions||Label|
|US Gospel||Top R&B||Top Pop|
|1984||Lord Lift Us Up||20||—||—||PTL Records|
|1987||BeBe & CeCe Winans||12||49||—||Sparrow/Capitol|
|2006||The Best Of BeBe & CeCe Winans||—||—||—|
|Year||Song||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1984||Up Where We Belong||27||—||—||Lord Lift Us Up|
|1987||I.O.U. Me||2||—||—||BeBe & CeCe Winans|
|Love Said Not So||11||—||—|
|1988||Change Your Nature||8||—||—|
|Celebrate New Life||4||—||—|
|Lost Without You||1||—||8|
|1991||Addictive Love||1||—||1||Different Lifestyles|
|I'll Take You There (feat. Mavis Staples)||1||—||1|
|1992||The Blood (with MC Hammer)||8||—||—|
|Depend On You||2||—||—|
|1993||Can’t Take This Away||13||—||—|
|Jingle Bells||—||—||—||First Christmas|
|1994||If Anything Ever Happened To You||16||—||—||Relationships|
|Love Of My Life||—||—||35|
|1995||Count It All Joy||7||—||—|
|Stay With Me||—||—||62|
|2009||Close To You||—||1||21||Still|
|2010||Found Love (Cindy's Song)||—||11||—|
- "Celebrate New Life"
- "Addictive Love"
- "I'll Take You There"
- "It's O.K."
- "Jingle Bells"
- "If Anything Ever Happened To You"
- "Love Of My Life"
- "Feels Like Heaven (With You)"
- "Close To You" (Gospel #1, #38 R&B)
Popular culture influence
- One of the duo's signature songs, Heaven, was remade by Destiny's Child member Michelle Williams featuring Carl Thomas on her 2002 Gospel album Heart to Yours
- On the Disney Channel's animated television show The Proud Family, the youngest children in the family are twin toddlers named BeBe and CeCe
- Both appear on the television series "Martin" on the episode titled "Go Tell It on the Martin" (1994)
In 1995, they officially parted ways to work on their solo careers and other areas of interest. Both artists have gone on to have successful solo careers, receiving numerous awards and accolades. To date, BeBe has released six solo albums, while CeCe has released eight.
BeBe and CeCe Winans recorded twice as a duo during their hiatus (before reuniting for the 2009 album "Still") - "What A Child", a duet on CeCe's Christmas album His Gift, and "Tonight Tonight", a duet on BeBe's 2000 album Love & Freedom.
- at AllMusic