With a coveted Dove Award win, Grammy and Stellar Award nomina7ons and nearly 20 years of memorable music to their credit, to say that Contemporary gospel trio Virtue have made their mark on the gospel music scene at large would be an understatement. Introducing a fresh take on the fusion of Urban and gospel music with their 1997 self-7tled debut, the group – comprised of sisters Ebony Holland, Karima Kibble, and Heather Mar6n – embarked on a journey of sonic excellence that would lead them from humble Southern beginnings to the top of gospel charts with signature hits like “Get Ready,” “Put Your War Clothes On,” “Til’ You Believe,” “Lord, I Li? My Hands,” “Let the Redeemed,” and “Greatest Part of Me.” Their discography shines on the hems of five studio albums – VIRTUE (1997), GET READY (1999), VIRTUOSITY (2001), FREE (2003), and TESTIMONY (2006) – that brought with them no shortage of cri7cal and commercial acclaim. Now, with a trail of gospel gems in their rearview, the sensa7onal sister act is looking to forge a new path with their long-awaited comeback project. Led by a highly an7cipated new single shipping to radio and digital outlets this fall, its parent album is set to follow in spring 2015.
Undoubtedly inking yet another page to their illustrious story, the release of the forthcoming album will act as the latest milestone of Virtue’s musical journey. A journey that saw its humble beginnings in New Orleans, the group’s original lineup featured founder Ebony Holland, Karima Kibble, and Shavonne Floyd Sampson. Under the name Endurance, the trio thrilled audiences with air7ght harmonies and piercing, hearelt deliveries of praise-and-worship numbers. Their rising buzz would catch the eye of Verity Records, who signed them as the label’s first girl group under a new moniker – Virtue. The addi7on of new member, Negelle Green, would only assist in broadening the spectrum of their already diverse sound as they would impart a noteworthy self-7tled debut in 1997.
Quickly becoming gospel music’s new “it” group, Virtue’s 1999-released second album, GET READY, served as an Urban-flavored toast to the new direc7on the genre was headed. Decorated with numbers “Get Ready,” “Love Me Like You Do,” “Angels Watching Over Me,” and “Put Your War Clothes On,” the album skyrocketed to the Billboard Gospel album charts’ top 5 upon its debut. Leading the group to get ready for their biggest hits yet, the next years’ saw the one 7me quartet move forward sans Sampson and Sumter to transform into an all sister act with new group member/younger sister Heather Mar7n. The move proved itself fruiul as their first album as a newly formed trio, VIRTUOSITY, would rise to #4 on the Billboard Gospel Album charts and garner four nomina7ons at the 18th annual Stellar Awards including “Contemporary CD of the Year” and “Group/Duo of the Year.”
The upward incline of success would con7nue to show itself mobile with their fourth album, FREE (2003). Not only was it greeted with cri7cal acclaim, but it would see the sisters net a Dove award win for “Urban Album of the Year.” With a more aggressively R&B-cloaked sound aboard their Darkchild Gospel-helmed 2006 release, TESTIMONY, the ladies of Virtue would once again prove themselves frontrunners in the contemporary gospel genre. A sen7ment echoed by the Stellar Award academy who yet again honored the group with a nomina7on for “Contemporary Group/Duo of the Year” at its 22nd annual showing.
Now, with nearly a decade separa7ng them from their last studio release, the ladies of Virtue are ready to carve a new path along the trail of contemporary gospel. Having supplemented their 7me away from the genre’s spotlight to tend to family mamers, the group is now preparing a project to not only showcase their maturity as women, but as ar7sts as well.
If their previous projects are any indica7on, then virtue alone suffices as evidence that 2015 will see Virtue back on top.