If James Brown was the hardest-working man in show business, Vickie Winans should at least merit some consideration for the title of hardest-working woman.
The gospel star is out with a new album, which she produced and recorded at home for her own record label. She also performs 175 to 200 shows a year, hosts a new comedy show on Black Entertainment Television and owns a Detroit-area boutique.
Not to mention she doesn't have a manager or agent.
"You can pick up the phone and call me," Winans said.
The 55-year-old has endured many personal hardships since her last CD in 2006, including the loss of her mother. The new record's first single (and title) "How I Got Over" is a testament to how Winans' faith has helped her overcome tough times.
It was released in late August and by September had reached No. 1 on Billboard's gospel album sales chart.
Winans, who is divorced from fellow gospel luminary Marvin Winans, also recently opened a retail store that carries jewelry, handbags and other accessories, plus a wig salon.
"There's all kinds of things in here — trinkets and bracelets and brooches oh my," Winans said during an interview there with The Associated Press.
AP: What was the inspiration in making (your new CD)?
Winans: The title song is the actual first single, "How I Got Over." I got that one because my mom passed away, which was very devastating for us. So, the whole "How I Got Over" thing is we used to have what we call in the African-American church "testimony service" and in testimony service a person would stand up and they would tell what had happened to them that week and how they were triumphant over it. To testify. ... My mom would stand up in church and she'd go (singing): "How I got over. How I got over. My soul looked back and wondered how I got over." And man she tapped the church. I thought about that and in her honor put it in a beat with a little bit of spice in it."
AP: In the video you're portraying your mother, aren't you?
Winans: Yes. Oh my God. For me to have no makeup and put my hair in this old-fashioned style. ... One of my brothers was telling me the other day, "Girl, you acted your butt off because you did look just like Mom." Cause I look like her anyway.
AP: Where did you shoot (the video)?
Winans: I shot this one in the basement of my home. All the green-screen stuff — all the special effects stuff — I shot right there in my house, in the basement in my theater room. ... The other parts, of the real church, we shot at (a church). I think they hadn't made any changes in 100 years.
AP: You're writing songs. You're performing. You have your own record company. You own a business. Where do you find time for all this?
Winans: It's a lot. It is really a lot. I work 15, 16, 17 hours a day. But I love it.
AP: The liner notes of your album include your phone number. How do you get away with that?
VW: Because I'm a down-to-earth person. But if you call too much and you don't want anything, I put "pest" next to your name and don't answer. (Laughs). I don't have too many pests. My concept is this: I manage myself, and there's nothing wrong with people having managers. But my thing is this: If I can learn how to manage myself, why would I give you 20 percent and people are looking for me? It just doesn't make sense. ... I want to be sweet and kind. When you do that, people really, really respect that.
AP: Why did you decide to open up this boutique?
Winans: I am such a glitzy kind of person. If you were ever to come to my home, it's like a great big museum. ... (There was) a lot that we didn't have (growing up). I wanted to make a store where ... it looks like people are coming into my house and going into my closet. We can share. We have fun. We eat chicken wings. We can watch television."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.