As Music World Gospel releases its third project from the Sunday Best brand, Andrea prepares for the release of her first single, Mary Mary’s “Yesterday,” and her first promotional tour, in her hometown of Dallas, Texas (see dates below). “I am very excited about my new project,” says Andrea. “On this album, I relive the moments from my time on Sunday Best. It’s an honor to re-record a song initially sung for the judges of the show, who I’ve been a fan of for a long time. This CD is amazing. I am both proud of and humbled by the way this project turned out. And I am so grateful to Mathew Knowles for giving me this opportunity. I’m living my dream because he saw the potential in me.”
Moving Forward is a seven song EP that features some of her most memorable performances on Sunday Best. The CD offers an iTunes exclusive of “Wind Beneath My Wings” as a presale incentive to purchase the CD. However, the song will not appear on the project.
“Andrea is a very special and unique talent. When I initially saw her on Sunday Best, I knew immediately that she was someone I wanted to sign to the label,” says Mathew Knowles, founder, President and CEO of Music World Gospel. “We look forward to working with her to expand her music ministry by developing her career as a recording artist.”
If living this dream of a recording artist wasn’t enough. Andrea was recently requested by the Dr. Bernice King to sing at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Monday, January 16 . Andrea, who performed “Change” at the ceremony, said this has been her greatest honor as a musical artist. “I felt like I was a part of history that day. The feeling of standing in the same place Dr. King stood was very humbling. The family was so genuine and sweet. I was received with open arms. As I stood there looking out over the audience, I saw different races and backgrounds worshiping God together. It is evident that his philosophy and teachings are still shaping our culture.”
Andrea is a lifelong singer and worshiper. On Moving Forward, Andrea felt it was especially intimidating to perform songs made popular by outstanding singers such as Tremaine Hawkins and Whitney Houston, whose musicianship she most admires, along with Mariah Carey and Martha Munizzi. There is no doubt that she has successfully put her stamp on the seven songs on the CD. She offers a powerful, soulful and bluesy turn on Sunday Best judges Mary Mary’s song, “Yesterday,” which is her first single from the CD. Her version of Richard Smallwood’s classic “I Love the Lord” is uniquely her own. She also puts her own spin on the highly popular praise and worship song, “Because Of Who You Are,” written by Martha and Daniel Munizzi, as well as on Donald Lawrence’s songs “The Heaven Are Telling (A Mighty God We Serve)” and “Encourage Yourself.” One of the most talked about moments of the season was when Amber Bullock and Andrea Helms performed a duet, “Moving Forward,” penned by Ricardo Sanchez, during the show’s finale. Andrea and Amber offer a powerful rendition of that song for this CD.
Andrea is especially drawn to the song, “Change,” on the CD because of her personal story. The recording includes some of her testimony. “From the time that my mother was carrying me, doctors told her that I would be a vegetable and that I would never talk or walk, but I was born a healthy 8 pound 2 ounce baby,” she said. “God performed a miracle. I wasn’t even supposed to be able to talk, and He gave me the ability to sing. Then, years later, when I had my son, I dealt with severe postpartum depression that literally caused me to have suicidal tendencies. I was still leading worship through it all, but it was really a rough, rough, time. I don’t remember a lot of my son’s first year being here with me because I was not in the right frame of mind. My mom is a fireball and a prayer warrior and she prayed me through it. I think God leads us through places like that so that we can minister to other people. Now I walk my victory out every day and I can speak to women and understand where they are coming from. So God has really changed me and that’s why that song means something to me.”
The CD was recorded at Music World Studios, which Andrea described as an “amazing place with a great staff.” The songs were produced by H. Doobie Powell for Chip Off The Block Productions, who Andrea describes as “a genius.”
Andrea kicks off her promotional tour in Dallas, Texas (Thursday, February 16 and Friday, February 17); followed by Houston, TX (Sunday, February 19, Monday, February 20, Tuesday, February 21, Wednesday, February 22, Thursday, February 23 and Friday, February 24); Nashville, TN (Sunday, February 26, Tuesday, February 27, and Wednesday, February 28); Atlanta, GA (Wednesday, February 29, Thursday, March 1 and Friday, March 2); New York City (Monday, March 5 and Tuesday, March 6); Dallas/Denton, TX (Wednesday, March 7); and Chicago, IL (Monday, March 12 and Tuesday, March 13).
Born in Odessa Texas, Andrea was an only child and the daughter of a preacher who was also an accomplished musician. Music was always a part of her life at home, at school, and at Friendship Church in Denton, Texas, where her father was pastor.
She met her husband, Michael, at Friendship Church when his family came there when she was 13 and he was 15. “From the time we first saw each other, we knew we were supposed to be together,” she said. They started dating when she was 15, and later Michael worked for the church in the outreach ministry and eventually became youth pastor. Andrea and Michael were married in 1993. In 1998 they were called to pastor another church and they left Friendship. After her father’s death, Andrea and Michael returned to Denton to co-pastor the church, where Andrea has resumed her role as minister of music.
Andrea describes her church as “a place that meets almost every need.” A nondenominational church with an interracial congregation between 300 and 500 people, it serves young and old and ministers to “anyone who comes to the door.”
Besides completing her CD, Andrea has been traveling around the country to minister in song. She recently was featured in the Jacksonville, Florida run of T.J. Hemphill’s play, Perilous Times II, with Music World label mate Le’Andria Johnson, Season 3 winner of Sunday Best.
Watch her sing below: