For Gospel legend Yolanda Adams, her stirring Elektra debut Mountain High.... Valley Low was an opportunity to bring both her inspirational vision and her wide range of influences to an audience hungry for spiritual fruit. Since her 1988 debut, the acclaimed and uplifting Just As I Am , Yolanda has been wowing gospel audiences all over the world. In 1999, four studio albums and one live album later (the Grammy nominated Yolanda.... Live In Washington ), the Houston , Texas native is ready to extend her magnificent reach without watering down the message. "I'm not one of those singers who wants to expand my audience at the expense of the people who already know my music," she says determinedly. "And I've grown both vocally and spiritually since my first album, through each phase of my career. So choosing Elektra was just another step of growth. Gospel music had stepped up and gathered a myriad of influences-jazz, hip-hop, R&B. I need to be in a place where my message can be heard by everyone. I understand my purpose. I understand what I was put here for. I take that on every day of my life."
It's precisely that kind of conviction that has caused critics to refer to Yolanda as one of gospel's "seminal" voices. It has also empowered her to venture out of gospel's more sanctimonious confinements, and hook up with some of pop's most formidable producers, such as Keith Thomas, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Yolanda stresses, however, that it was the process of "sharing" talents that made the unique collaborations such a great success. Thomas produced and wrote "The Things We Do."