A Mega Voice from Cleveland

Veteran artist Angelo & Veronica helped this girl follow her calling.
by Danita Harris

Alana Blackwell - Hendon

"I was born the daughter of a preacher man/I was born with the Bible in my hand/But that's not why I serve Him/I serve Him because I'm called"

Those words express the heart of local gospel recording artist Alana Blackwell-Hendon. The lyrics are from her debut solo project "Alana...called" which was produced by the powerful, gospel husband and wife duo Angelo & Veronica. Alana is the daughter of Bishop Luther and Pastor Lois Blackwell of Mega Church, located on Cleveland's West Side. Bishop Blackwell is not only proud of his daughter's dynamic music ministry, he also contributed as executive producer of the project.

The first time I heard Alana sing at Mega Church, I was amazed at how this small woman in stature had such a big sound coming out of her. But it's not about how strong and powerful her voice is, it's about the anointing that God has given her to minister in song. And having a music ministry has always been a desire of Alana's, "Ministry has always been a part of me. Even in my teenage years I knew there was a call on my life."

A call that she takes very seriously. She believes this project will bless all who hear it. But because she is young, her desire is that her message of hope will touch today's youth. "When young people listen to my CD I want them to understand that God has a purpose and a plan for their lives. Especially those who grew up in the ministry." The song "Where You Goin'" echoes that sentiment by encouraging listeners to stop wasting time trying to do things their way because it leads to pain and dead ends. It's time to come out of the fantasy and believe on His name, trusting God to direct their paths.

The CD has some real contemporary cuts like "Don't Settle", which will really encourage my fellow single Christians, "He's Watching Over Me" has a good head bopping groove that drives home the message that God is with us, and you won't be able to sit down on "Thank You" so just get up and get your shout on! For the traditionalist in all of us, Alana takes us back to our gospel roots with her acappella version of "He Looked Beyond My Faults" and an arrangement of "Tis So Sweet" that gives you a traditional/contemporary mix.

The title cut "Called" is very special to Alana. Veronica Petrucci wrote the words as a reflection of her life. And when she shared them with Alana she was amazed at the similarities in their lives. "Veronica was telling me the words to the song and without any previous discussion, she revealed my heart without even knowing me."

My favorite song is "Do You Believe" which was written by Alana's husband Minister Louie A. Hendon, III. This gospel ballad's simple melody and string arrangements is absolutely beautiful. I find myself hitting the repeat button on this one! Alana considered it a blessing to have her husband be such an integral part of her ministry. "Through the project, I found out the depth of his ministry. He writes from the heart of God. I'm honored that God would put someone by my side to help me fulfill His purpose for my life."

Alana has the support of so many people as she answers God's call on her life. She told me she receives a lot of support and love from her father and mother and her three siblings, as well as her Mega Church family and friends. But even with the support and encouragement of those around her, she says this project did present some challenges for her. "It took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to trust people with my ministry. But I know that God has placed this on my lap, and ultimately I trust in God."

I trust and believe that anyone who listens to "Alana...called" will be blessed and encouraged in their walk with the Lord. This is Alana Blackwell-Hendon's first project, and I know it won't be her last. She is a woman of God who knows her purpose, trusts God's plan, and serves Him because she's...called.

**Alana...Called is available at Rainbow Book Store***

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