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Vanessa Bell Armstrong

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With a style reminiscent of Aretha Franklin, soulful Vanessa Bell Armstrong has been belting out R&B-flavored contemporary gospel since the '80s.
A native of Detroit, she got her start working with Dr. Mattie Moss Clark and went on to work in both gospel and secular music. She performed the theme song for the television series Amen, where her links to Rev. Al Green (and ultimately to Rev. Claude Jeter) were evident. She recorded urban contemporary ballads and lyrically neutral material for Jive, and recorded gospel for Muscle Shoals Sound Gospel and Onyx, subsidiaries of Malaco. During the '80s alone, she was nominated for four Grammy Awards. Her albums through the '90s included the slickly produced Something on the Inside (1993) and The Secret Is Out (1995), as well as her first live album, Desire of My Heart: Live (1998). A best-of collection appeared toward the end of the decade, but she continued to record traditional and contemporary-flavored material for Tommy Boy and EMI Gospel, such as A Brand New Day (2001), Walking Miracle (2007), and The Experience (2009). ~ Bil Carpenter & Ron Wynn, Rovi

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