A member of a multi-generational gospel music family, Carvin Winans first emerged in the '80s and '90s as part of Grammy-winning singing group the Winans with his brothers Marvin, Michael, and Ron. He later formed 3 Winans Brothers with Marvin and BeBe Winans in the 2010s. Over the years, Carvin also found work as studio vocalist for the likes of Michael Jackson, Anita Baker, and Kenny Loggins, and wrote songs for Whitney Houston, Peabo Bryson, and Regina Belle, among others, including dozens of songs for the various solo and group projects by his family. After over 35 years in the music business, he released his first solo album, the urban contemporary-styled In the Softest Way, in 2019. Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1958 to Delores and David Winans, aka Mom & Pop Winans, Carvin Lawrence Winans began singing at the age of four. Eventually one of ten siblings, he formed the Winans with older brother Ron, his twin brother Marvin, and younger brother Michael in 1980. Their music came to the attention of Andraé Crouch, who quickly signed them to Light Records. Their first album, Introducing the Winans, arrived in 1981. They made their debut in the Top Ten of the Billboard gospel chart with the follow-up, 1983's Long Time Comin', repeating the feat a year later with Tomorrow. The latter won two Grammy Awards, one for Marvin Winans' performance on "Bring Back the Days of Yea and Nay," and one for the quartet's on "Tomorrow." Their fourth LP, 1985's Let My People Go became a gospel number one and crossed over to the R&B/hip-hop chart, where it peaked at number 57. The title track won a Grammy for Best Soul Gospel Performance. It was their first album for Quincy Jones' Qwest Records. During his first five years with the Winans, Carvin not only wrote for the project but had begun producing some of their albums. In 1987, as part of the Winans, he was a backing vocalist on Michael Jackson's Bad. The Winans' next two studio albums made it onto the Billboard 200, including 1987's Decisions, which won a Grammy for "Ain't No Need to Worry" featuring Anita Baker, and 1990's Return, which reached a career-high number 90. Also in 1990, Selah Records released Gospel Buggy, a collaboration between Carvin Winans and actress/singer Kim Fields that included over a dozen guests, including Vickie Winans and David Peaston. The Winans returned to the Top 20 of the gospel and Christian charts with 1993's All Out and with 1995's Heart & Soul. All Out won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. In the meantime, Carvin sang on family projects including albums by his siblings BeBe & CeCe Winans and youngest sisters Angie & Debbie Winans. In 1997, his backing vocals appeared on the Kenny Loggins LP The Unimaginable Life. Christmas: Our Gifts to You, a holiday album credited to the Winans, followed in 2000, but involved other family members and several guests; Carvin did not appear on the record. The Rhino-issued The Very Best of the Winans reached number 16 on the Billboard gospel chart in 2002. Ron Winans died in 2005, effectively ending any desire for a reunion, and in 2007 the Winans were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Carvin Winans eventually formed 3 Winans Brothers with Marvin and BeBe. Including tracks produced by Daniel Weatherspoon and Rodney Jerkins, Foreign Land saw release by eOne in 2014. In 2017, saxophonist Kirk Whalum included "Tomorrow," written by Carvin and Deborah Winans, on his album #Lovecovers. Carvin, Debbie, BeBe, Angie, and Juan Winans also sang on the record. At the age of 60, Carvin Winans released his first solo album. Titled In the Softest Way, it arrived via the Dance Factory label in 2019. ~ Marcy Donelson
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