LeJuene Thompson is an award-winning, contemporary gospel singer, with a voice so compelling and a singing style so captivating that she has been dubbed “The Diva in Waiting” by Billboard magazine. But this diva has not waited for much. She has been a featured artist with top gospel groups, recorded two CDs, and partnered with her husband, Cedric Thompson, an award-winning musician and producer, to start an independent label—all while finishing school, getting married, and raising three sons.
She currently is completing her third album, The Evolution of Me, which is due to be released on Universal/Fontana. The first single from the CD is “Let God Do It.”
Thompson was born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is part of a close-knit family with ten children—she is number nine. She says that her family always understood that she was going to sing. She traces her soulful, contemporary gospel style to the varied musical influences she had growing up. Her parents divorced, so she would listen to Christian musicians such as the Walter Hawkins Singers and the Clark Sisters while at home with her mother, who was an evangelical minister, and listen to secular music when she was with her father. It was at her father’s house, she says, where she fell in love with Al Green’s voice and music when she was five years old.
As a young girl, she met and was mentored by singer and worship leader Nancy Carree Wilson (mother of gospel artist Isaac Carree). Carree hosted a local television program, Gospel Expo, and Thompson performed on that program several times. In the mid-1980s, she was introduced to the world-renowned pastor and gospel musician John P. Kee. Pastor Kee took Thompson under his wings and she began her professional recording career. It was while she was singing with him that she met and married Cedric Thompson. She has continued to sing with Pastor Kee over the years, even after launching her solo career. In the early 1990s, she put together a gospel group, The Promise, which released an album on the national Christian music label, Word Records.
Thompson later became a featured singer with the award-winning, Gospel chart-topping group, Donald Lawrence and The Tri-City singers. Along the way, she has also worked with some of the nation’s premier artists, such as Twinkie Clark, Dorinda Clark Cole, Karen Clark Sheard, Shirley Caesar, Bishop T. D. Jakes, Micah Stampley, Anthony Hamilton, Oleta Adams, Queen Latifah, Aaron Neville, Tyler Perry, and many others.
Thompson recorded her first solo project in 2001 with EMI Gospel. The album, Soul Inspiration, was nominated for Stellar, GMA Dove and Gospel Excellence Awards. Her long-awaited sophomore CD project Metamorphosis, was released in July 2008 to rave reviews. For this project, she teamed up with her husband, Cedric Thompson, who is the winner of a GRAMMY® Award and multiple Stellar Awards, and who was and nominated for a GMA Dove Award. Metamorphosis was released on their independent label, Le Ce Entertainment.
The forthcoming CD, The Evolution of Me, is very special and very personal to Thompson. She says it represents a journey of faith and understanding that she believes others can relate to—and that the sometimes-difficult process of putting this CD project together helped her learn the power of “no.” She notes, “I used to be afraid of hearing ‘no,’ but now when I hear it, I just keep pushing until I get that ‘yes.’ I’ve learned to be comfortable with knowing what I want and asking for it. I think for me and other women in my shoes, there is a lesson to be learned about letting go of fear and being happy with who you are. This was part of my evolution on this project.”
The first single from the CD, “Let God Do It,” was written by LeJuene and Cedric Thompson and came out of a time when they were both feeling discouraged. She and her husband have been working on the album for almost two years, and the time leading up to that was a difficult one due to family illnesses and deaths. “We were both at rock bottom, ground zero and we came to the realization that there was nothing we could do about these situations on our own, so we had to just sit back and let God do it,” she said. “We wrote this song to let people know that even when no amount of money, no amount of friends, can change your situation, you can let God do it.” This mid-tempo song is performed in a classic contemporary gospel style, with a laid back musical accompaniment that allows Thompson to show off her warm tones, wide range, and signature flourishes in a song that both implores and challenges the listener to “let God do it.” The single was produced by Cedric Thompson for Ced’s Productions. It also features their son Cedric “CJ” Thompson, Jr. on the drums.
The Thompsons wrote several songs on the forthcoming CD, and while Cedric is a veteran songwriter, this is a relatively new venture for LeJuene. But she says that writing about her experiences is a blessing for her, and she hopes it will bless others.
“I hope that the songs on this CD will give people hope and strength,” she said. “In these difficult times, people need to hear that there is hope. They just need to know that they don’t have to be afraid, because there is light at the end of the tunnel and that, no matter what happens, they can pick up the pieces and build upon whatever they have left and make it into whatever they want it to be.” In addition to the release of “EOM” Thompson is currently featured as the lead vocal on Pastor John P. Kee’s newly released “Life and Favor.”