May 1st, 2012
Title: Once in a Lifetime
Artist: Smokie Norful
Label: EMI Gospel
Formats: CD, MP3
Release date: April 3, 2012
Grammy Award winner Smokie Norful is currently one of the premiere male voices in gospel music. The son of an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) pastor, this singer, songwriter, producer, and pastor has grown into a national and internationally recognized artist. In celebration of his tenth year as a recording artist on their label, EMI has released a compilation featuring Norful’s works titled Once in a Lifetime. This album showcases his most popular songs with one new selection, the title track “Once in a Lifetime.” In this song, Norful reflects on how his childhood dreams to sing before large crowds and gain fame and fortune were in some ways misguided prior to his developing a relationship with God.
This collection of his career-defining songs reveals his ability to perform in a broad range of styles. His breakout ballad “I Need You Now” highlights his impeccable vocal control as he skillfully and colorfully pleads for God’s help. Likewise, in “God is Able” and “Run ‘Til I Finish,” Norful sings with a passionate, yet refined intensity that articulates his ability as a singer as he works to encourage listeners to persevere through life’s challenges. Conversely, “Still Say Thank You” is a traditional styled song with a backing choir in which he effortlessly utilizes more conventional gospel techniques (such as vocal growls and slides) to deliver his message. Rounding out this project are contemporary gospel styled pieces like “I Understand,”“Celebrate,” and “In the Middle.”
Whether you are a longtime Norful fan or looking to experience his music for the first time, Once in a Lifetime offers an excellent journey through the musical career of this amazing artist.
Reviewed by Raynetta Wiggins
Review Genre(s): Gospel Music and Spirituals