Le'Andria Johnson

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Le'Andria Johnson
Birth name Le'Andria Johnson
Born (1983-01-23) January 23, 1983 (age 34)
Palatka, Florida
Genres Gospel, contemporary Christian
Occupation(s) Pastor, Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2010–present
Labels Music World, RCA Inspiration
Website leandriajohnson.com

Le'Andria Johnson (born January 23, 1983) is an American gospel musician and singer-songwriter. She was the season three winner of the BET gospel singing competition show Sunday Best.[1]

Johnson's Sunday Best coronation song, "I Shall Leap into My Destiny", co-written by Johnson, entered the Billboard Gospel chart at number 1. Johnson's post-Sunday The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson was released on August 23, 2011,[2] Music World Entertainment Gospel and Music World Music. The album debuted at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Gospel Albums, number 3 on the U.S. Billboard Independent Albums, and number 24 on the Billboard 200.[3] Johnsons' second major-label album The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson, which included seven new songs was released on February 14, 2012.[4] Johnson is the first Sunday Best contestant to receive a Grammy Award, which she won in 2012 for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance.

Early life[edit]

Johnson was born in Palatka, Florida, to Bishop Gregory Johnson and First Lady and Pastor Sharon Johnson[5][6]

Johnson, whom was born into a musical family, began singing at age two in her father's church, HQ Ministries in Altamonte Springs, Florida. She went on to become the praise and worship leader within the church.

Before auditioning for the show, Johnson was a performer, producer, and singer-songwriter. Johnson, whom had three children at the time,[7] was motivated to audition for the show by her children to give them a better life. Johnson had gone through her second divorce as was having a tough time staying financially sound. The day before she left Orlando to try out in New Orleans she lost her house to foreclosure. Her friends and family helped her get to the audition, and Johnson carried what she could and auditioned in flip flops, socks, and the clothes she had on her back. Johnson was almost eliminated because her appearance was not up to par,[8][9] a sentiment expressed by two of the judges Mary Mary, especially Erica Campbell, however after performing "This is the day The Lord Hath made," she was unanimously voted through, and given a standing ovation by Campbell. Pastor Le'Andria Johnson has two godchildren James La 'France Gibson, and Quateem Bolden. [10]

Sunday Best[edit]

Johnson had many good performances on the show, though at times the judges and mentor Kim Burrell sensed a hesitation in her, as if there was something on her mind, that she just couldn't quite shake off. On the eighth episode, in a conversation that made the air, Johnson told Burrell that at one point she chose death over life in a "mentor moment," sponsored by Nationwide Insurance.[11]

In a private conversation while being mentored Johnson told mentor Kim Burrell that there was a time that she thought she could not go on in this life, but in that moment God kept her "in the midst of it all,"[12] which was the primary reason she chose to sing the song on episode four of the season.

During the final performance show, Leandria faced off against Elder Goldwire for the title of Sunday Best.[13] Johnson performed "I Love the Lord", "He Was There", and "In the Midst of It All".

On June 20, 2010 Le'Andria Johnson was crowned the winner of and claimed the title of Sunday Best.[12][14][15][16] As part of her win, she won a national recording contract, a 2010 Ford Taurus SHO, and a cash prize courtesy of Degree Nature Effects.[16]

Johnson and Elder Goldwire had taped the finale a month before with two different endings, they both appeared on 106 & Park as finalists, and she found out that she won had while back home in Orlando, watching with her family.[17] Johnson was reported to have said, "I was like, 'For real?'. It was crazy, it was bananas, like fireworks. I've never seen my family so happy."[17]

Post-Sunday Best[edit]

After winning Sunday Best, Johnson's label, hoping to capitalize on her new-found audience, released an EP of seven songs on September 6, 2011 entitled The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson, which spawned the hit, "Jesus", the performance of which would go on to give Johnson her first Grammy nomination and subsequent win. She also co-wrote the Grammy-winning song.[18]

With the success of her first EP, Johnson became the first Sunday Best winner to release two more projects. She released a self-titled, Christmas EP on November 21, 2011,[19] and another project known as: The Evolution of Le’Andria Johnson, on February 14, 2012.[4]

In addition to her second EP, a 14-song album was released also on February 14, 2012 entitled: The Evolution of Le’Andria Johnson Deluxe Edition.[20]

Philanthropy[edit]

Johnson, herself homeless at the time of her audition, did a benefit concert called "Up From the Ashes" at South Church in Lansing Michigan. The original concert date was April 1, 2011, but the concert was ultimately postponed when Johnson found out her brother had been shot and killed in Orlando Florida.[21] She learned of the news moments before leaving for Michigan. The concert was held on May 6, 2011. Johnson's various life challenges have not deterred her ministry and anointed singing in the Christian community.

Johnson recently started IPC (Imperfect People Changing) Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. Their first service was held on June 16, 2013.[citation needed] On New Year's Eve 2014, Johnson and IPC Ministries held an outdoor concert bringing food, clothing, praise and worship to the streets of Atlanta. The concert was a huge success, which motivated Johnson to establish iProgress, an outreach initiative which gives back to those less fortunate in the city of Atlanta. iProgress distributes, food, clothing, bibles, and in-kind gifts once a month, outside the homeless shelter at Peachtree and Pine Street.

Controversy[edit]

Certain aspects of Johnson's life before and after her Sunday Best win, were problematic given her profession as a gospel singer and pastor.

Johnson expressed in an in-depth interview with the Associated Press[9] that for quite some time after her Sunday Best win she partied, drank, and "lived it up" while singing the Gospel and pastoring. This was an issue because many in the Christian community felt that her conduct revealed troubling character and spiritual issues.[22]

Rumors started to circulate about Johnson as she performed on Celebration of Gospel with a noticeable bulge in her midsection. Johnson received negative attention after she confirmed that she was pregnant with her fourth child, unlike the previous three children, this one was out of wedlock.[23][24] Johnson continued to perform and minister through the pregnancy.[25][26][27][28]

In September 2015, Johnson broadcast for 10 minutes on Periscope while drinking Patron, a brand of tequila. [29] During the broadcast, she used profanity, criticized the church, including Christians who were being hypocritical, doing similar things while attempting to adhere to holy standards of Christian living. Among other things Johnson said:

"We have been controlled by this religious beast all of our lives. At the end of the day, there are real people out here with real issues, living in a real world and serving a real God. I am not hiding anything from y’all because I am not scared of y’all. I am not scared of anybody and I am who I am. God forgives me and allows me to be forgiven 70 times 7. His grace is sufficient and is enough for me… Which means, ‘Let the party begin!’"[30]

Johnson's Periscope appearance stirred controversy and outrage by some in the Christian community.[30] A few days after her broadcast, she appeared on Praise 102.5 FM (Joy105.com) to defend her actions. Johnson said she broadcast on Periscope to "keep it real" and "invite people into her life." Audience reaction was split. A large and vocal minority of callers defended her, but the majority questioned and criticized her attitude towards the church, and her public drunkenness, profanity use, and disdain for traditional Biblical standards of living. Some callers expressed concern for Johnsons spiritual condition as well.[31]

Preachers of Atlanta[edit]

In 2015, Johnson began filming with "Preachers of Atlanta," a reality show spin-off of the Oxygen hit "Preachers of L.A." that chronicles the lives 5 Atlanta-based preachers live within ministry. Despite the show's focus on liberal theologies--all of the preachers have, at some point on the show, expressed disdain for the impractical and oppressive regimes of contemporary American churches--Johnson has been a standout in her non-traditional techniques of ministering and pastoring. For starters, she is a woman and pastor; women's leadership is still incredibly controversial in the church. Johnson does not believe in the traditional liturgical techniques of the black church or formal attire. She has also been known to pass out cigarettes and condoms to people in the inner city neighborhoods of Atlanta.[32] This move has been quite controversial among her fellow preacher friends on the reality show. According to Le'Andria, "although we do not condone it, some people are going to smoke or have sex anyway, in which case we want them to be safe. Many people will not have a conversation about God, the Bible, or spirituality. When we say we try to "meet them where they are," this is to simply start a conversation, share testimonies, and minister the gospel of Jesus. You find that despite their current situation, many of the people know the Bible and are ready to change their lives; they appreciate not judging them or scolding them, but simply having an open and honest conversation with them. The came to church afterward, and are still coming." Some of Johnson's peers see these actions as abetting sinful behaviors in the name of Jesus.

Le'Andria's infamous Periscope incident was a subject of debate in the last several episodes of season 1 of Preachers of Atlanta. Her colleagues on the show all felt that her conduct was inappropriate and failed to support Le'Andria in the way that she had expected they would. She frequently comments that she feels that they don't understand her. On the finale episode of season 1 of Preachers of Atlanta, Le'Andria comes to a realization, with the help of a ministerial mentor, that her actions have been inappropriate, and promises to recommit herself to a holy and righteous life.[33]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
US
[34]
US Gospel
[34]
US Indep.
[34]
2011 The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson EP
  • First Extended Play
  • Release date: September 6, 2011
  • Label: Music World Gospel
24 1 3
2011 Christmas Best
  • First holiday album
  • Release date: December 22, 2011
  • Label: Music World Gospel
10
2012 The Evolution of Le'Andria Johnson EP
  • Second Extended Play
  • Release date: February 14, 2012
  • Label: Music World Gospel
69 2 8
2012 The Experience
  • First studio album
  • Release date: September 18, 2012
  • Label: Music World Gospel
120 3 26

Singles[edit]

Year Title US Gospel[34] Album
2011 Jesus 15 The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson
2012 It's Gonna Be Alright 25 The Evolution of Le'Andria Johnson

Nominated for NAACP Image award For best gospel album

Awards[edit]

Year Association Category Result
2011 Digital Gospel Music Awards Best Female Gospel Artist[35] Won
2012 Grammy Awards Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance[36][37][38] Won
2013 Stellar Awards Best New Artist[39] Won
2013 Stellar Awards Best Contemporary Female Vocalist[39] Won
2016 Steeple Awards Female Artist Of The Year Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staff, BET (July 4, 2012). "Season 3 winner signs deal". Bet.com. 
  2. ^ "iTunes – Music – Jesus – Single by Le'Andria Johnson". Itunes.apple.com. August 23, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  3. ^ "Le'Andria Johnson Music News & Info". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  4. ^ a b "iTunes – Music – The Evolution of Le'Andria Johnson by Le'Andria Johnson". Itunes.apple.com. February 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  5. ^ "Guest Blogger and Sunday Best winner thanks parents". Bet.com. 
  6. ^ Glenn, Torrence (July 5, 2012). "Le'Andria Johnson Talks Life After Sunday Best and How She Overcame Her Breaking Point". Path Magazine. 
  7. ^ Leggett, Steve (January 23, 1983). "Le'Andria Johnson – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  8. ^ "The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson". Cbn.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  9. ^ a b Jonathan Landrum Jr. – Associated Press (October 14, 2011). "Gospel stardom a bumpy road for Le'Andria Johnson – Yahoo! News". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  10. ^ "WATCH: Le'Andria Johnson's Story to Success – BCNN1". Blackchristiannews.com. March 29, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  11. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20120327104548/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0tR6YCm8F0. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ a b "BET Crowns Leandria Johnson 2010 'Sunday Best' Winner". EURweb. June 21, 2010. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  13. ^ "LeAndria Johnson Sunday Best pictures, bio, news". Poptower.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  14. ^ http://www.eurweb.com/2010/06/bet-crowns-leandria-johnson-2010-sunday-best-winner/ She won a recording contract/
  15. ^ "BET Sunday Best Winner Debuts "The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson" + Mt. Zion Super Sunday Performance [Video] – The Queen's Castle | The Queen's Castle". Thequeenscastle.net. August 31, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  16. ^ a b "Single Mother LeAndria Johnson Named Winner of 'Sunday Best' 3". Christianpost.com. June 21, 2010. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  17. ^ a b "'Sunday Best' winner LeAndria Johnson: 'Always be positive' – The TV Guy – Orlando Sentinel". Blogs.orlandosentinel.com. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  18. ^ "She Said: Exclusive Interview With Le'Andria Johnson". GospelPundit.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  19. ^ "iTunes – Music – Christmas Best – EP by Le'Andria Johnson". Itunes.apple.com. November 21, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  20. ^ "iTunes – Music – The Awakening of Le'Andria Johnson (Deluxe Edition) by Le'Andria Johnson". Itunes.apple.com. February 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  21. ^ "LeAndria Johnson reveals tough year, battle with Alcohol and loosing her brother " BeeSuareZ". Beesuarez.com. October 5, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  22. ^ Thursday (October 27, 2011). "Le'Andria Johnson, Twice-Divorced Mom of 3 Confesses Sins, Prepares to Release Christmas EP – EEW Magazine – EEW Magazine". Buzz.eewmagazine.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  23. ^ "Alisha L. Gordon, MEd: LeAndria Johnson and the Lessons We Should All Learn". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  24. ^ K.B. "MySista Gurl: Le'Andria Johnson Confirms Pregnancy". .MySista Gurl. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  25. ^ — April 3, 2012 (April 3, 2012). "Le'Andria Johnson Reveals to Philly Crowd That She is Pregnant". ROOTMagazineonline.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  26. ^ "Unwed 'Sunday's Best' Singer's Pregnancy Upsets Some Fans | Madame Noire | Black Women's Lifestyle Guide | Black Hair | Black Love". Madame Noire. April 13, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  27. ^ "Le'Andria Johnson Still Ministering Despite Out of Wedlock Pregnancy". EURweb. June 29, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  28. ^ "Gospel artist Le'Andria Johnson offers up Sunday's worst". Exministries.wordpress.com. June 1, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  29. ^ "Leandria Johnson's Drunken Periscope Rant 2015 (Video)". YouTube. 2015-09-09. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  30. ^ a b "Pastor Le'Andria Johnson Slammed for Cursing and Drinking on Periscope". Guardian. 2015-09-15. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  31. ^ "Le'Andria Johnson Responds 2 Cussing & Being Drunk on Periscope Prophet Brian Carn Calls N2 Radio (Video)". YouTube. 2015-09-15. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  32. ^ "Featured Products". Le'andria's Theology. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  33. ^ "Featured Products". Le'andria's Theology. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  34. ^ a b c d "allmusic (LeAndria Johnson > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles)". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  35. ^ "Digital Gospel Music Awards: Le'Andria Johnson Wins Big". EurWeb. Retrieved 8 December 2015. 
  36. ^ Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage.com. "Le'Andria Johnson". GRAMMY.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  37. ^ "54th Annual Grammy Awards Nominees and Winners". GRAMMY.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  38. ^ "'Sunday Best' Season 3 Winner Le'andria Johnson Wins Her First Grammy Award – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. February 13, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  39. ^ a b "Le'Andria Johnson Gets Early 30th B-day Present: Wins Two Stellar Awards". EurWeb. Retrieved 8 December 2015. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Y'Anna Crawley
Sunday Best winner
2010
Succeeded by
Amber Bullock