Virtue (musical group)

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Origin New Orleans, Louisiana
United States
Genres Urban Gospel, Contemporary Christian, Inspirational/Worship
Years active 1997 – Present
Labels Verity Records (1997–2005)
Darkchild Gospel (2006–2007)
Mixed Bag Entertainment (2014 – Present)
Associated acts Trin-I-Tee 5:7
Mary Mary
Members Ebony Holland
Heather Martin
Karima Kibble
Past members Negelle Sumter (1997–2001)
Shavonne Sampson (1995–1999)

Virtue is a popular Dove Award winning, Grammy-nominated gospel music female trio. The group currently consists of sisters Ebony Holland, Karima Kibble and Heather Martin.


The group was formed in 1994 by Karima Trotter (Kibble), Ebony Trotter (Holland), Negelle Sumter, and Shavonne Sampson. All four women attended the historically Black Seventh-day Adventist institution, Oakwood University (then Oakwood College).

Introducing a fresh take on the fusion of Urban and gospel music with their 1997 self-titled debut, the group – composed of sisters Ebony Holland, Karima Kibble, and Heather Martin – embarked on a journey of sonic excellence that would lead them from humble Southern beginnings to the top of gospel charts with signature hits like "Get Ready", "Put Your War Clothes On", "Til' You Believe", "Lord, I Lift My Hands", "Let the Redeemed", and "Greatest Part of Me". Their discography shines on the hems of five studio albums – Virtue (1997), Get Ready (1999), Virtuosity (2001), Free (2003), and Testimony (2006) – that brought with them no shortage of critical and commercial acclaim. Now, with a trail of gospel gems in their rearview, the sensational sister act is looking to forge a new path with their long-awaited comeback project. Led by a highly anticipated new single shipping to radio and digital outlets this fall, its parent album is set to follow in spring 2015.

Undoubtedly inking yet another page to their illustrious story, the release of the forthcoming album will act as the latest milestone of Virtue's musical journey. A journey that saw its humble beginnings in New Orleans, the group’s original lineup featured founder Ebony Holland, Karima Kibble, and Shavonne Floyd Sampson. Under the name Endurance, the trio thrilled audiences with airtight harmonies and piercing, heartfelt deliveries of praise-and-worship numbers. Their rising buzz would catch the eye of Verity Records, who signed them as the label's first girl group under a new moniker – Virtue. The addition of new member, Negelle Green, would only assist in broadening the spectrum of their already diverse sound as they would impart a noteworthy self-titled debut in 1997.

Quickly becoming gospel music’s new "it" group, Virtue’s 1999-released second album, Get Ready, served as an Urban-flavored toast to the new direction the genre was headed. Decorated with numbers "Get Ready", "Love Me Like You Do", "Angels Watching Over Me", and "Put Your War Clothes On", the album skyrocketed to the Billboard Gospel album charts' top 5 upon its debut. Leading the group to get ready for their biggest hits yet, the next years saw the one time quartet move forward sans Sampson and Sumter to transform into an all sister act with new group member/younger sister Heather Martin. The move proved itself fruitful as their first album as a newly formed trio, Virtuosity, would rise to #4 on the Billboard Gospel Album charts and garner four nominations at the 18th annual Stellar Awards including "Contemporary CD of the Year" and "Group/Duo of the Year".

The upward incline of success would continue to show itself mobile with their fourth album, Free (2003). Not only was it greeted with critical acclaim, but it would see the sisters net a Dove award win for "Urban Album of the Year". With a more aggressively R&B-cloaked sound aboard their Darkchild Gospel-helmed 2006 release, Testimony, the ladies of Virtue would once again prove themselves frontrunners in the contemporary gospel genre. A sentiment echoed by the Stellar award academy who yet again honored the group with a nomination for "Contemporary Group/Duo of the Year" at its 22nd annual showing.

Now, with nearly a decade separating them from their last studio release, the ladies of Virtue are ready to carve a new path along the trail of contemporary gospel. Having supplemented their time away from the genre’s spotlight to tend to family matters, the group is now preparing a project to not only showcase their maturity as women, but as artists as well.

On September 1, 2014 the girls announced their comeback to the gospel music industry after an eight-year recording hiatus.[1]

The gospel trio's new project, Fearless debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart, selling 2,157 copies, only behind Kirk Franklin and WOW Gospel 2016.[citation needed] This marks an all new career high as it is their highest debut on that chart to date.[citation needed] Fearless also debuted at number 24 on the Billboard Independent Albums chart.[citation needed]



Year Album Chart positions
U.S. Christian U.S. Heatseekers
1997 Virtue 6 6 18
1999 Get Ready
  • 2nd studio album
  • Released: May 18, 1999
  • Label: Verity Records
4 10 22
2001 Virtuosity
  • 3rd studio album
  • Released: September 11, 2001
  • Label: Verity Records
4 23 33
2003 Free
  • 4th studio album
  • Released: August 19, 2003
  • Label: Verity Records
10 34
2004 Nothing But The Hits
2006 Testimony
  • 5th studio album
  • Released: June 20, 2006
  • Label: Darkchild Gospel
2015 Testimony Reloaded
  • 6th studio album
  • Released: February 3, 2015
  • Label: Mixed Bag Entertainment
2016 Fearless
  • 7th studio album
  • Released: February 26, 2016
  • Label: Mixed Bag Entertainment

Other appearances[edit]

Virtue performed on the Sisters in the Spirit tour with Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams and Mary Mary. They also performed on the Evolution II Tour 2003 with Byron Cage, Percy Bady Tonex, Lisa McClendon, and Corey Red & Precise.[2]

They appeared on the album Bridges: Songs of Unity and Purpose in a duet with Clay Crosse and sang background for Darwin Hobbs on the song So Amazing from his album Vertical.

Music Videos[edit]

  • "Greatest Part of Me"
  • "Follow Me"

Award history[edit]

Year Award-giving body Award Category Song /Album Title
2003 Dove Awards Urban Album of the Year Free
2006 Grammy Awards Nominated for Gospel Album of the Year Testimony



External links[edit]