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Members include Steve Crawford (raised in Columbus, OH), vocals; Da'dra Crawford Greathouse (raised in Columbus, OH), vocals; Mary Tiller (bandmember 1988-96), vocals; Denise "Nee-C" Walls (raised in Columbus, OH). Began as quartet in 1988 in their hometown of Columbus, OH, before moving to Nashville in 1995. Addresses: Record company--Myrrh Records, 3319 West End Avenue, Suite 200, Nashville, TN 37203.

The Christian vocal group Anointed rose from anonymity to their status as one of Christian music's most distinguished vocal groups with the release of their second album, The Call, in 1995. Anointed is comprised of Denise "Nee-C" Walls and siblings Steve Crawford and Da'dra Crawford Greathouse. The trio started out as a quartet with Mary Tiller in 1988 in their home town of Columbus, Ohio.

Meeting on Friday nights, the group gathered to practice singing. They'd practice anywhere--in bathrooms or basements ("anywhere the music was good!"), with little thought of recording an album and meeting with success. They were inspired by artists such as the Winans, the Hawkins Family, and Andre Crouch. Crawford told Release's Chris Wells, "It is our desire to create music that supports our vision, which is to bridge the gap across races, across denominations."

Their music incorporates pop, R&B, gospel, uplifting lyrics, and energetic melodies. In addition to being vocalists, they write their own songs. The December 1996 cover of Contemporary Christian Music magazine summed up the band's personal philosophy with a picture of the trio over the caption: Anointed--Using Their Influence to Promote Unity. According to a Myrrh Records press release; "powerful vocals and smooth, tight harmonies are what separates Anointed from their peers." Andrew Tempest , VP of Marketing at Myrrh notes: "These people could literally sing the phone book and blow people away."

In 1995 they moved to Nashville to broaden their fan base. Greathouse told Contemporary Christian Music's Deara Akins, " When we moved to {Nashville}, we really didn't know about how this industry works. We're just beginning to learn about the roles people have at the record label (Myrrh), and we're still trying to understand Christian radio." The group wanted to see more interracial audiences which they succeeded in doing. By 1996, the trio noticed ethnically mixed congregations and black and white promoters, who had never worked together, joining forces on their behalf. Akins noted, "Anointed's recent success set the precedent for R&B artists within Christian music. Unlike general market pop radio, adult contemporary Christian stations have not typically been a big supporter of acts in the R&B or urban genres." Bob Elder, senior buyer for the 185-outlet Family Bookstore chain, told Billboard's Deborah Evans Price, "The exciting thing about a group like Anointed is that you can promote them to your contemporary Christian and gospel customers. Anointed is one of those groups that will bridge the gap."

The members of Anointed were influenced by gospel and R&B music at an early age and were raised in Christian homes, but all three firmly believe that people should be exposed to various types of music. Greathouse explained to Akins, "Take the people who are 'gatekeepers.' If they're familiar with Christian pop, then of course they're only going to gravitate more toward that.... I think more efforts are being made to include both gospel and contemporary Christian music in the same places, but all the changes that need to be made may not happen overnight."

The band's debut album, Spiritual Love Affair, was released on Brainstorm Records and then distributed by Word Records in 1993. Under the Influence, released in 1996 on Word's Myrrh label, picked up musically where the resoundingly successful The Call--also on Myrrh-- left off, but offered more of a live performance feel. Band members take turns penning the majority of songs for each release. All three members of the group wrote the songs on Under the Influence, but Walls wrote the lion's share for this particular record. Reviewers were positive revealing opinions on Under the Influence. Rene Tranthan of Christian Net gave the album an A+, calling it "a magnificent showcase of the vocal talents of Anointed.

Along with the accolades and the whirlwind of success came another difficult circumstance: Mary Tiller's exit from the band. She left the group in January of 1996 filing a $2.5 million lawsuit against Anointed and their former manager. The lawsuit claimed sexual harassment by the manager and breach of contract from Anointed. The case created an emotional strain for the members. Greathouse explained to Akin, "There really is no bitterness in our hearts or unforgiveness.... If that were the case, our annointing would be cut off. We wouldn't be effective." Walls added, "(God) is going to allow you to be tried. But you're going to come out pure as gold."Tiller's departure did not affect Tennessean writer Tom Roland's review of Under the Influence. As Roland stated: "The group may be missing one body, but Anointed remains a complete package."

After the release of Under the Influence, Epic Records and the Nashville-based Myrrh Records teamed together to build on the band's broad fan base through a strong push to Christian and mainstream radio and retail. In an interview with Billboard's Price, Myrrh VP/GM Jim Chaffee remarked: "They are very well received in the gospel marketplace ... in the R&B marketplace, and we've had real good success in the contemporary Christian marketplace.... We feel they have the opportunity to reach a world that is way beyond where most contemporary Christian artists are capable of reaching."

The video for the single "In God's Hands Now," from the album The Call, was lauded in the mainstream market and received airplay on BET and VH1; the single peaked at No. 40 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart in November of 1995. Epic placed Anointed on a 20- market promotional tour to support the single with the mainstream act at Groove Theory, which gave the group an opportunity for mainstream exposure. As Greathouse told Price: "We never really wanted to be just a gospel ... or contemporary Christian group. And of course, that's one of the most ludicrous things you can ever tell a record company. (They) need to categorize it, and package it. So it has been challenging."

by B. Kimberly Taylor

Anointed's Career

Debut album, Spiritual Love Affair, released in 1993 on Brainstorm Records and then distributed by Word Records; The Call released in 1995 on Myrrh Records, Under the Influence released in 1996 on Myrrh Records.

Anointed's Awards

Three Dove Awards in 1996; Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year, Urban Recorded Song of the Year, and Contemporary Soul Gospel Album all 1996.

Famous Works

Further Reading

Sources

Anointed Lyrics

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Visitor Comments Add a comment…

about 9 years ago

WHERE CAN I GET THE ALBUM THE CALL IN CD IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

about 9 years ago

I would like the album the call to buy but cannot get it. plees tell where to get it. MA Bronx NY.