Le’Andria Johnson, the powerhouse singer who is the season three winner of BET’s Sunday Best, won fans around the globe as she competed in the world’s leading gospel competition television show. While this single mother’s heart-wrenching story of loss and struggle tugged at the heartstrings of the viewing audience, it was her voice that captured the spirit and imagination of everyone, especially the Sunday Best season three host and judges: Kirk Franklin, Kim Burrell, Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, and Tina Campbell of Mary Mary. “You are honest, you are genuine, you are a true gospel singer because you have the heart of God,” Campbell told Le’Andria. “You are anointed, you are blessed and people are going to be blessed and they are going to come to God watching you.” Adams added, “You haven’t seen what God’s going to do with you. Stay obedient because obedience is going to get you in front of kings and queens and presidents.” McClurkin concluded, “You’re about to minister to 6.7 billion people around the world. God will open up the whole world for you and souls are going to be saved and lives are going to be changed.”
Le’Andria prevailed over thousands of hopefuls who auditioned for the show and was crowned Sunday Best after receiving the majority of the more than 2 million votes cast in the televised contest. She describes her experience on Sunday Best as “amazing,” and says that during the competition, she learned a lot about herself and the television business. “It was like watching my life unfold before my eyes,” she recalls. “I come from a traditional background, so this was all new to me. I didn’t know about stage managers, timing, or cues, and Kirk Franklin always had to take me to the spot where I was supposed to stand when I performed. But every step of the way I was thanking God that he allowed me to pass another round.”
Le’Andria’s star-turn on Sunday Best was not an “overnight success” story. For the 29- year-old, twice divorced mother of three, it has been a long and often arduous journey to the spotlight in the gospel music industry. An accomplished singer and songwriter and an anointed praise and worship leader, Le’Andria was born in Orlando, Florida and began singing and performing for her family at tw0 years old. When she was four, the family moved to the small town of Palatka, Florida, where her father Dr. G.A. Johnson, Sr., served as presiding Bishop of the Head Quarters (HQ) Ministries. She began singing at her father’s church at the age of six and became praise and worship leader when she was 16. Throughout her childhood and teen years, Le’Andria sang in school choruses and in community talent shows. At 17, she had her first performance before a major audience when she sang for 8,000 people at a conference sponsored by gospel legend Pastor Shirley Caesar. She also sang with gospel artists Luther Barnes, Jimmy Hicks and Voices of Integrity and the Williams Brothers, as well as at churches in Southern Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.
Le’Andria moved back to Orlando in 2003. She lost her house to foreclosure a few days before the final Sunday Best audition in New Orleans, LA. Encouraged by family and friends to take a shot at the competition, she made the 10 hour drive to New Orleans with her uncle, brother and best friend, arriving just in time for the audition.
Signed to Music World Gospel in a joint venture with BET with the Sunday Best brand, Le’Andria’s debut CD, The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson is produced by GRAMMY® Award winner Chuck Harmony (Rihanna, Fantasia, Chrisette Michele). The songs on the CD showcase Le’Andria’s unique combination of power, skill and reverence, which made her a favorite of Sunday Best fans. Her new single, “Jesus,” co-written by Le’Andria, is an urban contemporary song, with traditional gospel roots. In it, Le’Andria offers a soulful and stirring testimony about the difference Jesus has made in her life, and she makes an impassioned plea to the listener to turn to Jesus and “call Him like you want Him, call Him like you need him.” Le’Andria loves the single and its message, and she believes her fans will be blessed by it.
Other songs on the CD include “Cast the First Stone,” a mid-tempo song with a memorable, contemporary tune and a powerfully delivered message about how wrong it is to pass judgment on each other, also co-written by Le’Andria; “Make Him Like You,” an R&B-style petition to God to lead her toward the true love that He designed for her; “New Reason,” a new millennium twist on 1960s soul, with a message about turning from bad relationships to a new and better relationship with God; and “Struggle Not,” co-written by Le’Andria and her brother, Terrance Johnson, a spiritually uplifting and compellingly worship song about God blessings in our lives. The CD also includes two tracks with medleys of songs performed by Le’Andria on Sunday Best. The first medley combines her roof-raising rendition of Quincy Jones and Andraé Crouch’s “God Is Trying to Tell You Something,” from the Broadway musical, The Color Purple, and her fresh take on Fred Hammond’s (Commissioned) hit song, “Running Back to You.” In the second medley, Le’Andria puts her spin on Myron Butler and Levi’s pop-style hit, “Set Me Free,” and offers a heartfelt rendition of “I Shall Leap into My Destiny,” written by Le’Andria and Terrance Johnson. Le’Andria performed this inspirational song after being crowned the winner of Sunday Best.
Le’Andria is excited about all the songs on the CD and can’t wait to minister in song for audiences around the world. She hopes that her songs will make a difference in people’s lives. “We can’t just reach in the circle, we have to do like the Bible says—go out and compel them to come in,” she says. A licensed minister, Le’Andria believes that singing is her God-given talent, but that ministry is her calling. As the season three winner on Sunday Best, she now has the platform to touch countless lives by doing both.