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BellaOnline's Gospel and Christian Music Editor

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Rizen Turns Out Another Power Packed CD



Rizen must have been working from the standpoint of the old saying "If ain't broke don't fix it" because their new CD is chocked full of the wonderful traditional flavor that made their debut project a hit.

Now on "Rizen 2" the group serves up their soulful, harmonious, grooves with a fresh style that makes the entire recording feel like you have come home and slipped into something comfortable, heartwarming and full of spirit.

The opening number of "Clap Your Hands" is a power packed live joint that is spirited and full of spunk. Lead by the full bodied voice of Aundrea Lewis and backed by the funky percussion sounds of none other than Shelia E, this jam moves you into full throttle praise at break necking speed. Much like their previous project the ladies of Rizen start things out live and in living color. "Lift Him Up", the opening song on their first project was also live and full of power.

Now on the second track they keep the praise party going and "Magnify the Lord" moves you to the next level. Adriann Lewis, yes she is Aundrea's sister, has the vocals on this tune and she gives it a serious workout! That girl can sang...not sing...but sang! (Smile) With an awesome horn arrangement by Lloyd Barry, Adriann and the ladies deliver a performance that sends your spirits soaring. By the time the hook comes on you are shouting right along with them..."Lift Jesus, lift him up!"

Although many of the songs on this project are reflective of their previous traditional vibe (if you loved "View the City"...check out "Over There") there are also some contemporary songs on the project. Kanika Trigg and Adriann Lewis tag team well and present a jazzy breeze on "Praise Him Just a Little While" and the moving "For Who You Are" led once again by Adriann is a praise and worship song that allows the full blended harmony of the group to shine.

This project convincingly displays the fact that these ladies will be on the music scene for as long as they want to be. As a matter of fact I recently caught up with them and we talked about how long they wanted to keep singing, why the group is now a trio instead of the quartet we first loved and what they want for the future.

My children...who are BIG Rizen fans insisted on saying hello and the ladies were kind enough to chat for a minute with them. From this conversation I learned that Adriann has one son, Kanika has three girls, and Aundrea has no children. She eventually wants a boy. I told her about a son for loan but she wasn’t having it. (Smile)

Gospel@Bellaonline
Hey ladies good to talk to you! Take me back to the beginning how did you get together and meet Sanchez? (Sanchez Harley is the top gospel producer who signed the girls to his label Chez Musique)

Adriann
I met Sanchez Harley in 1995. I worked with him for the Women of Worship at the Gospel Music Workshop of America. When we were getting ready to work on our project in 2001 I called up Sanchez and asked him if he could produce the girls. At that time he knew only me and my parents. He didn't know that I had a sister who could sing, a brother who could play (the girls brother Ay'Ron Lewis, wrote several songs on the project and is a talented pianist, organist, etc.) and some singers that could really sing. He came to our rehearsal and fell in love with the girls and the music and the rest was history.

G@B
He seems like such a creative person. What is it like working with him?

Adriann
Well Sanchez is a perfectionist and he just loves music, he loves being creative. At first I was very scared about working with him because he is one of the greatest producers in the music industry, but the first day after we cut a couple of songs the rest was easy. He made everything real easy for us and he just took everything we had and made us work 10 times more to be who we are today.

G@B
So tell us what is going on with this new project? It has received a wonderful response and I'm hearing it on the radio. How do you feel about that?

Aundrea
Well we are just blessed and honored that God has given us another chance to go out there and minister to the people of God. When the CD first hit on the 17th they called and sent e-mails to us stating that we made it to billboard and we were number six! We just starting shouting with joy because the last time we came out we were number 29!

G@B
What a difference!

Aundrea
Right! So when they told us we were number six we were like "Oh the people love us!" and we just appreciate all of the love and support from everybody. My brother Ay'Ron wrote some dynamic songs and we just took the CD to a whole new level spiritually and musically.

G@B
Yeah but you stuck with a lot of the traditional stuff too?

Rizen
Right...Exactly

Aundrea
That will never change.

G@B
Exactly that’s what people expect from your group. You have been compared to the legendary group the Caravans how do you feel about that comparison?

Aundrea
We just took the mantel and we are going to run with it.

G@B
Now back to the new project, you have the traditional but you also have some contemporary stuff on it too. I feel like "Praise Him Just a Little While" fits that bill.

Kanika
Yes that is the song that I just so happen to lead and we were going through different songs and we said we have to have that on the CD! A lot of the songs once again just came from our own personal experience and what we have gone through. We gave the people a variety of things on the project some contemporary, your traditional, your R&B flavor, praise and worship and your ballads. We just wanted to give the people whatever they needed so that no matter what they are going through or situation they are facing they can put in Rizen and there will be a song to fit their needs.

B@G
That's wonderful! That's what the ministry is all about!

Kanika
Yes and we thank God for that!

B@G
Speaking of personal situations can you tell me a little bit about what is going on with Ashley?

Kanika
Well Ashley is going through some personal things and everybody knows that she is going through some things with her mother's illness. She felt led by God to take some time out and really focus on helping her mother. Ashley is taking nursing classes to help her mother when she comes home and so we are asking everyone to keep her uplifted in prayer.

B@G
Yeah I looked at the cover of the new project and thought "Uh oh were is Ashley?"
And then I heard that her mother was ill and I said I will have to say a prayer for her and her family.

Aundrea
Yes, as we go through this process and transition we are asking God to reveal to us what is His destiny for us. We don't know what God has planned for us as a group or individually. So we still want God to use us. We do have different goals outside of Rizen, my sister is a minister, I'm a praise and worship leader and Kanika works with children. We want God to elevate us in a lot of different ways so that we can help people not just by singing, but in seminars and workshop.

G@B
That sounds like some wonderful goals. What can we expect from you in the near future?

Aundrea
Well hopefully we will have our own tour!

G@B
Alright now...Go ahead and headline your own tour!

(laughter)

Aundrea
Right! (Laughs) We want to do it up, come from the stage and fly off the walls and just bring a new flavor to the gospel tour scene.

G@B
You know what? I saw you ladies in the video for "View the City"
and you ladies can move. I know that show would be full of high energy and off the chains! Are you going to release a video for this project?

Rizen on the View The City Video Shoot

Aundrea
We are working on the plans now. We are trying to clear our schedules and make sure that when we do it we will do it to the best of our abilities.

G@B
I ran into you guys at the Stellar Awards and you had won the Best New Artist award that year. Tell us about that.

Kanika
We won Best New Artist of the Year and I tell you that when our record label told us we were actually going you would have thought we won the award that day!(laughter) Just to be going, because for so many years we have watched it on television, so just to go was exciting for us. Our record label kept telling us you need to have an acceptance speech ready in case you win, and we were like yeah whatever! We are not going to win! (We said) when the camera turns on us we need to have a nice look on our face for the winner. (more laughter) But when they said and the winner is.....R-I-Z-E-N, Rizen and they turned the camera on those four girls oh let me tell you we were absolutely shocked. (laughs) We were so overwhelmed and so overjoyed and that was a great way to start that year off.

G@B
You had some stiff competition too because the Kenoly brothers were up for that award right?

Kanika
Yeah Ramiya, Debra Killings and Bishop Morton were also nominated.

G@B
Did you get a chance to talk to any of the gospel legends that night?

Kanika
We saw so many people that night, Vickie Winans, Mary Mary, Shirley Caesar and everybody that we have grown up listing to...that night was just awesome.

G@B
Now you opened up for Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin! I met Stevie once as a kid and that meeting has left a lasting impression on me but what was it like working with the man?

Aundrea
Well my mom got a call from the radio station (KJLH in Los Angeles)and at the time we didn't know that Stevie Wonder was the owner. So when they said that Stevie Wonder wanted the girls out for a benefit concert we were like y'all need to stop playing. We will come but don't use Stevie Wonder! (laughter) So when we got there to do the sound check behold here he comes on the stage! Everybody got quite and he was walking towards us and we are like what! And then Stevie Wonder was shaking Adriann, Kanika, Aundrea and Ashley's hands and thanking us for coming. We were like...girls this is really happening! So we were just very excited and we let him know that we really appreciated him. We found out that he came from Saginaw Michigan and grew up with my father.

G@B
He grew up with your father! Wow they say it's a small world.

Aundrea
Yeah he and my dad grew up in the same area in Michigan.

G@B
Now Aretha Franklin...how did that happen?

Adriann
Well it was Martin Luther King's birthday and Ms. Franklin was doing a celebration and our producer is a good friend of Ms. Franklin. She asked him about us and when they told us she wanted to sing of course again we were like yeah right. When we got on that stage we were just amazed. I grew up listening to Ms. Franklin and for her to be in my presence was just awesome.

G@B
Who hasn't listened to the "Queen of Soul"? Working with Aretha and Stevie I would have died and gone to heaven after that and been happy! (Laughter)Finally what would you like to tell your fans?

Kanika
We just want our fans to continue to support our ministry and let us know what they think about our CD. They can go to our website rizen.biz and continue to let us know their thoughts and opinions. Also at the end of August we will be on tour with Kurt Carr and Smokie Norful for the One Church Tour. (see article on this site)

G@B
Well thank you ladies it has been great! God bless you!

Rizen
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you again. God Bless!
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Content copyright © 2014 by Candace Walker. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Candace Walker. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Candace Walker for details.

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