Actress and Singer DEBORAH JOY WINANS Discusses Her Busy Acting and Music Career Including New Single ‘I Won’t Stop Breathing’
Actress and singer Deborah Joy Winans has already experienced an incredibly busy career. She stars in OWN’s NAACP award-winning drama series Greenleaf from Executive Producer Oprah Winfrey. The series focuses on the world of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling Memphis mega-church. Deborah Joy stars as Charity, the youngest daughter and Minister of Music. The fifth and final season returned earlier this summer on June 23rd. The Greenleaf Soundtrack and the single, “The Master’s Calling” went to no. 15 on the Gospel Billboard Chart and Winans was a Stellar Awards nominee for Best New Artist.
Deborah Joy also starred in the Angela Bassett directed television movie, Whitney also portraying her real-life aunt, Cece Winans. Winans also portrayed this exact same role opposite her brother Juan Winans as their uncle Bebe Winans in the stage musical Born For This. She received an NAACP nomination for Best Actress for this part even.
As far as her acting career, she starred in the short Fighting the Battle and in the feature film Fragile World. Winans was a guest voice-over artist for several Grammy award-winning projects such as Mary Mary’s The Sound and Kelly Price’s audio book. Winans served as host on TV One’s 2019 holiday digital interview series HOLIDAY AF from ImaJam Production currently available on https://aspaceforcreators.com.
More recently, Deborah Joy released her single “I Won’t Stop Breathing” on all digital platforms this past July. The song was written by family as a tribute to heartbreak. Deborah Joy says, “the song felt like everything I was feeling and wanted to say to the world.” The piano ballad speaks to the times of the emotional hurt Black people suffer from police brutality. It offers a message of hope and inspiration and to not give up.
Deborah Joy says, “My brother shared this song with me and I always knew I wanted to record it. The tragedy of George Floyd and our world now brought those lyrics to my mind and heart. A song that can mean so many things is right for this moment in history. A time of extraordinary sadness and hope for tomorrow”
“I Won’t Stop Breathing” is the first original music released by Winans to be followed by an upcoming EP.
Connect With Deborah Joy Winans Online Here: WEBSITE
Learn more about Deborah Joy Winans in the following All Access interview:
Thank you for your time. So given these unusual Covid-19 times, what does a typical day look like for you? How have you adjusted to these times?
Thank you for having me! A typical day for me is working on my music and reading scripts to stay updated on new potential projects… and possibly baking something which is both good and bad! I aim to work on my craft daily and continue to learn and grow.
What has been the hardest/most challenging part about being quarantined? Is your city starting to open up more now?
Honestly, the hardest part of being quarantined is truly dealing with yourself. I think it’s easier to glide past the things about yourself that you don’t like on a daily basis when you are ripping and running. Quarantine has made us live with ourselves and either do the work to be better or not grow. Hopefully people chose the former rather than the latter. Los Angeles is opening up bit by bit.
How have you been able to use social media during these unprecedented times? Are you finding that you use it even more now to stay connected to fans and other musicians?
Social media has been everything! It has kept me up to date and informed as well as tickled me pink. The internet is truly undefeated!
What has it been like having to reschedule your spring, summer and fall shows? What shows in 2021 are you are already excited for?
There were only a few things that needed to be rescheduled and I was ok with that. So much has happened in just a few months and I think the world needed time to process. We still need time to process. I haven’t even thought about shows for 2021. I’m more focused on making sure we vote Trump out of office.
Since we are all desperately missing live music, can you recall a favorite show of yours from the past? What do you think ultimately makes for a great show for you? What about a favorite show of someone else?
I don’t have a favorite show of mine, however, performing “Changed” with Patti LaBelle is one of my favorite moments!!! What makes for a great show to me is when the artist truly feels what they are singing. If they don’t feel it then how are we expected to? Seeing Beyonce live is always POWERFUL!!
I’m curious to know how you think being an actress has influenced your music. Do you find that you enjoy doing one over the over now?
Acting has always come first. It is truly my passion. Singing has been intermingled in the characters that I’ve played along the way and so it always has a touch of acting in it.
What has your experience been like being on the OWN drama series Greenleaf? Since this was the fifth and final season, do you have something new lined up?
It’s been a dream come true. The most wonderful Bosses, most incredible writers, and absolutely most amazing cast. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I do have other options lined up, thank God! I just finished shooting a movie, but I can’t talk about it just yet.
Speaking of acting, what was it like portraying your real-life aunt, Cece Winans in the stage musical, Born For This?
Portraying my aunt Cece in Born For This was a delight! I love her deeply and taking the time to truly learn their story and why she does what she does was an honor. Then you add on the fact that I was able to share the stage with my brother who played Bebe???? WOW!! I was in heaven!
Let’s talk about your brand new debut single, “I Won’t Stop Breathing.” What was the inspiration for this track?
This song was written by my brother a while ago. I have always loved it and when I decided I would do music simply as myself and not attached to any character that I was playing, I wanted it to be something I truly loved and believed in. I think heartbreak touches everyone, but it is also filled with a declaration of hope that everyone needs. That was my inspiration. I had the demo done and then quarantine happened along with the murders of several black men and women for NO REASON. That’s when it hit me to use my song for some sort of good during this time.
How does it compare to anything else that you have put out? How would you say that it prepares people for more music from you and your upcoming EP?
This is the first time that I have done music as Deborah Joy Winans. Everything else has been part of the tv show Greenleaf as my character Charity. It’s all very new. I think this song give permission to feel how you feel, but also inspires you to hope and that is what my EP will feel like. It will feel like HOPE.
What was it like putting your EP together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process of making it? Are you planning on making any music videos for the songs?
A lot has surprised me during this process. I’m learning more and more about the music industry. I will definitely make some videos for the songs. I think visual art is a big passion of mine so that is something we will absolutely be doing.
If you could get into the studio with any artist today to work on a song who would it be and why?
I would love to do a duet with Jamie Foxx. He is uber talented and I think he is a visual artist as well so I think the tones and the ideas would work really great together!
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my music with you and lets take this journey together!!!