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She Said: Exclusive Interview With Le’Andria Johnson

Associate Editor Troy Lilly sits down to chat with Le’Andria Johnson, winner of last season’s Sunday Best on BET.

With the release of her debut solo album around the corner (September 6, 2011 on Music World Gospel), Le’Andria talks about the new music and her ministry, as well as things going around about her– some true, some false…

*     *     *

Troy: Hey Le’Andria! How are you?

Le’Andria: I’m good, how are you?

Troy: I’m doing well. Excited to talk with you! I guess we’ll just jump right into it?

Le’Andria: Sure!

Troy: I want to start by asking this: How has your life changed since the big win on Sunday Best last year?

Le’Andria: Well, um… oh, boy. That’s a good story…

Troy: I’m sure it is.

Le’Andria: Well, it changed in a little, funny kind of good way. For starters, I lost my brother after everything on April 1st of this year. And I began to be on the road more, and more often I’m away from my kids. I’m not in my church home at all but maybe once a month, if that. I can’t complain, really, because I’m doing something that I really wanna do. It’s good.

Troy: Right.

Le’Andria. You can go ‘head and nut that up in a shell.

Troy: I know the orchestrated elements of performing on Sunday Best and being on the road was all kind of new for you. Have you gotten used to it? How’s that going?

Le’Andria: Getting used to it. Like I said earlier, being away from my kids is the craziest part. I’m working throughout the week now, singing like almost every day… then doing interviews and going to sleep early to get up early and do more interviews. It’s different.

I do my best not complain. I mean I’m going to complain, but I try not to let it show or be a part of who I am. That’s basically what it is. Hey, I guess this is what it calls for, you know?

Troy: Speaking of that, a video surfaced earlier this year that showed you asking for prayer and breaking down somewhat at a church. Can you tell me what was going on at that time?

Le’Andria: That was a mistake. What I learned from that was you can’t expect people to pray for you in that manner. Everyone’s gonna have their own thoughts. But, yes, at that time I was dealing with something very heavy and I had started drinking.

Troy: Wow.

Le’Andria: And I shared that with the people [in the church], and nobody asked me to share it, but I shared it because I want people to understand that I’m not perfect. I’m winner of Sunday Best, yes. Because I’m this, that and the other people think you’re so high and mighty; that I don’t make any wrong decisions. I let them know I am imperfect just as you. But God will use imperfect people to make people perfect.

Troy: I see.

Le’Andria: I have to be careful of who I ask to pray for me because a lot of people don’t want to see me make it, you know? There were rumors that I was pregnant, too. I’m not pregnant! The Bible says pick up your brother and your sister… lift them up in prayer. So even if I was, tearing me down isn’t the way to go about it.
That’s the message that I put out. I’m Le’Andria Johnson, yes, but I’m not perfect. When I asked people to pray, I was just doing what I was taught to do.

Troy: That’s understandable.

Le’Andria: Now I just tell my testimony without asking folks to pray for me.

Troy: Did any of these experiences contribute to the material on your new album, The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson, out September 6th?

Le’Andria: Well, we decided to put a couple of medleys from Sunday Best on there to give back to the viewers and voters. I decided to give back to them what they loved and what they were asking for on the road.

On songs like “Cast the First Stone” and “Make Me Like You,” you’ll definitely hear a different sound… I’m not good at putting a label on the music, but you’ll definitely enjoy it! There’s some mid-tempo and upbeat songs… not many, but it’s just the beginning of my story; the awakening. And I hope it’ll be received as such.

Troy: Now, we know you can sing and wipe a room flat out…

Le’Andria: Aww man…

Troy: But I read in the liner notes that you’re also a gifted songwriter and you wrote several songs on the album with your brother, Terrance Johnson.

Le’Andria: Well, that’s what people are saying. I don’t know. My brother is moreso the real writer. I really do believe I’m more a singer than a writer. He can sit down with a pad and paper and write all day. I can’t do that. I get in the studio and sing whatever comes out from my heart and then I cut and paste. That’s all I can say on that one.

Troy: Oh, come on…

Le’Andria: Yeah, like with “Jesus,” I didn’t write that. I just sat in the airport one night and sang it on my phone and saved it. With “Cast the First Stone,” I sang it on my phone, saved it, then put it on record [in the studio]. Melodies come in my dreams, they come when I wake up in the morning…

Troy: Guess what, Le’Andria? Even though you don’t use a pen and paper, that’s still called songwriting. Donna Summers got the melody to “She Works Hard for the Money” in a restroom and she jotted down lyrics on a piece of toilet paper!

Le’Andria: Wow.

Troy: It doesn’t matter how or where you get it. If you are creating the words and the melody, you are a songwriter. So, believe that!

Le’Andria: Oh, ok! Well, thank you. I’ll take that with me now.

Troy: You’re welcome. Did you have a hand in writing “I Shall Leap Into My Destiny,” the song you performed after winning Sunday Best? It sounds like… feels like you!

Le’Andria: We were actually sitting in my living room, in the house that I lost right before I auditioned for Sunday Best. My brother got on the keyboard and we just jammed. He was doing the music but I didn’t have the words. Then my mom called and asked me to write a song for her women’s conference. The theme was “Leap Into Your Destiny.”

I told her the same thing I tell everyone else… “Mom, you know I don’t write.” And she says, “Well, God will give it you.” So the night of the conference she called me up again. I still didn’t have it, but later that night I got with my brother, he started playing the music and it did eventually come to me.

Troy: You speak of your family quite a bit. Is the whole family in music and ministry?

Le’Andria: My father has been my pastor all my life, Bishop Gregory Johnson. My mom is the co-pastor… all of my brothers sing, they all play. I used to play as well but singing has taken over.

Growing up as a PK [preacher’s kid] though, whew, Lord… because of tradition, I felt I was the only person that had it bad. Now I’m glad that God kept me sheltered for so long because he was saving me and I can appreciate what I’ve been through.

Troy: Do you feel there’s a difference between “Le’Andria the singer” and “Le’Andria the minister,” or are those roles interchangeable for you?

Le’Andria: No, I feel that you said it very good. One flows into the other because I could be singing to let you see the talent and gift that I have, then next thing you know I’m ministering. Even if I’m joking on the mic, it’s ministry, reaching out and touching somebody’s heart.

Troy: I see.

Le’Andria: That’s just what it is.

Troy: So… what’s another career interest you had outside of singing? Something that gospel music listeners wouldn’t know?

Le’Andria: Honey! I wanted to be a police officer!

Troy: Really?!

Le’Andria: Yes, Lord! Then I wanted be an RN (registered nurse) until I found out that you had to clean up bodily fluid and blood. I axed that immediately! Immediately!!! ‘Cause I’m not that type of person.

But, yes, I wanted to be a police officer, especially when people ignore signs that say, “Don’t block the intersection”… I’d be right there pullin’ ‘em over. “Just pull on over!”

Troy: Oh my goodness…

Le’Andria: I drive fast, too! I’m trying to tame my foot a little bit, but that would be so fun.

Troy: Certainly sounds like you love to have fun and let loose.

Le’Andria: Yes, that’s me.

Troy: Finally, to wrap it all up, I have one last question.

Le’Andria: Ok.

Troy: Given your newfound visibility and national platform, are there any initiatives you’re trying to push besides music?

Le’Andria: I want to bring people from all over together to celebrate God with the gifts he has given us, through music, poetry, rap, dance. It’s not always about a competition. I believe in going to the men’s and women’s shelters and singing to them, to the homes of adopted children.

I want people to know that a ‘yes’ in me is also a ‘yes’ inside of somebody else. I am a singer, but it goes beyond me being a singer. I want my rags to be filthy when He calls me home.

Troy: That’s awesome Le’Andria. Know that I… we wish you all the best both with the new album and with your other, less glamorous endeavors. Thank you so much for your time today.

Le’Andria: Thank you. I enjoyed this conversation and I hope we have more.

Troy: I hope so as well.

*     *     *

Check back here soon for our full review of Le’Andria’s debut album, The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson.  You can grab the album via pre-order now on Amazon.com.

Also, listen to her single, “Jesus,” on the Pundit Player bar at the bottom of your screen!


  • Barbara

    WOW – Everytime I read or hear more & more of her testimony it just blows me away. She is just so real in allowing us to see "LeAndria"! I'm praying God will continue to bless this vessel that He has brought forth for such a time as this. Le'Andria you just keep telling your testimony because the yes inside of you will definately be the yes in someone else and lives will be changed, and yokes broken because of your obedience. Know that there are those in the body that do intercede and are standing in the gap petitioning God on your behalf. Love You – #LJOfficialStreetTeam

  • notbuyingit

    Le’Andria Johnson is talented and that’s all. Her gift has taken her to a place that her character can’t sustain her. When she does totally submit she will be a force to reckon with. Until then she is just another singer who wants to sing and make it big and ministry is not a part of ot. If she wasn’t pregnant why does she miraculously have 3 children but during the show she had two?

  • Trenia

    @notbuyingit. If you go back and look at her pics on her fan page…there were three children on the show. Please lift her up….let's stop tearing each other down.

  • A. W.

    Once a month in your home church is not good because your always giving out more than you are allowing God to put back in. I really will be praying for her. Yes she definitely can saaaaaang. But is she really ready for this platform???? I am still very happy for her success and will definitely support her when her CD drops. But after reading this interview I would be even more happier for her if her schedule included more home church services and bible studies.

    Her heart is definitely in the right place but there is a real spiritual warfare that comes with ministry. Especially on a national platform. So yes, lets keep Le'Andria in our prayers for continued success.

    • Dequan

      Ask any major gospel artist and they'll tell you they don't get to church very often either.

    • SupporterofLeAndria

      Exactly.. I swear people are so negative…. She doesn't have to be in her home church in order to be in CHURCH… all she said was that she doesn't make it to her home church. If you check youtube, there are several videos of her singing in other people churches. Some of yall need to stop praying for your ownself before you start trying to pray for someone else. The bible say "It is not what goes in the mouth that defileth a man, but what comes forth out of it."

  • saddened & angered

    Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time I've heard about the rumors. Thankfully, the picture many people had concerning Leandria did not reflect the reality, but that doesn't mean we're in the clear, people! Ugh… the Body of Christ can be SO DISAPPOINTING at times!!! Sometimes we will just run our mouths until we have said our piece — even if we have no clue what we're talking about. Too often we fail to live out the apostle James' exhortation that we be "quick to listen [and] slow to speak" (Jam. 1:19). When will we FINALLY learn that gossip is displeasing to the Lord we serve?!!! When will we stop lashing out our tongues with endless commentary, condemnation, and conjecture? Ugh, I just find this issue terribly distressing… Lord, have MERCY ON US! Help us to do BETTER!

  • Michael Jenkins

    I love this, this was a powerful testimony. I love how she admitted that she started drinking and not tried to cover it up. I love how honest she was, she is right about a lot of things. We have to lift each other up in prayer, we cannot be a stumbling block to believers. I am anxious for her cd and eager to read may more interviews about this anointed and talented singer.

    thank you so much Wj, for this magnificent interview.

  • notbuyingit

    @Treni

  • notbuyingit

    @Trenia

    That may be true BUT if you look at the episodes of Sunday Best last year she said she had TWO children. Why lie?

  • Trenia

    Hey notbuyingit,

    I think that there may have just been some confusion by way of some of the journalists. I always remember there being three children. I found her response to winning the night of the Sunday Best last year. SHE states that she has three children.
    http://blogs.bet.com/music/the-gospel-according-t

    So, I'm not sure where the confusion is or was, but it's all good. I don't think it was meant as a deception.

  • MeMe

    Le Andrea lost her credibility with me when she told us last year that
    her house went into foreclosure or something to that effect…when infact
    she had rented the house.That story was one of the main reasons the
    public was on her side.

  • MeMe

    She gave us all the impression that she was the owner of the
    house…there is a big difference.

  • notbuyingit

    MeMe you’re absolutely right. Not to mention the many missed appearances and showing up smelling like alcohol to some.

  • notbuyingit

    Trenia go look at her early Sunday Best episodes you hear it from the horses mouth.

    • GET@ME

      One thing about us BLACK PEOPLE we are so quick to judge. Sweep around your own front door, and save your comments to every negative spirit. That's why we can never get ahead. Keep on singing Leandria no one's perfect, some of us needs those testimony. GOD IS LOOKING FOR REAL PEOPLE.

  • http://www.notsure.com To God Be The Glory!

    To “Notbuyingit” and “MeMe” – REALLY???? Such negativity!!!!! Do the two of you NOT know that “we ALL have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” (INCLUDING YOU!!!!!!). God forbid you two EVER make ANY mistakes in your lifetimes, and don’t forget, you WILL “REAP what you have sowed!”

    To Le’Adrea, WOW!!!! My family and I LOVE YOU!!! We have added you to one of the top spots on our prayer list because we recognize that the anointing is SO STRONG on your life, the devil hates it and will try to use every weapon (including “church folk”) to try to discourage you. I praise God for your desire and ability to be “transparent”, unfortunately, people are not “mature” enough to handle it. You have encouraged me to say “Yes” in an area of ministry that I did not “see” as a gift, but others do. Le’Andrea, when you can’t make it to your “home” church, seek out WORD churches where you are and RUN to get the word, refreshing and re-filling so that the enemy can’t take advantage of you when you have given out SO much and have nothing left. Love you and be encouraged Sis!!!

  • notbuyingit

    Talent and anointing are often mistaken. Gifts are without repentance. She can sing but singers come a dime a dozen. Church folks get caught up in rifts runs and squalls and because it excites us and sounds good we say they’re anointed.

  • Jaispecial

    Does it really matter if she owned it or rented….. the results were the same she lost it and was homeless. Lift her up in prayer that she keeps her head on straight. If nothing else lets debunk the rummor about black folks….. we are not crabs in a barrell!

    • lina

      Peoplpe need to realize that no one is perfect. We all have made mistakes thats why you should repent daily, Yes she have made mistakes,but Thank God for being a forgiving God and loving us unconditionally,It really dosent matter what others think or how they feel as long as she got it right with God thats what matters.I most certainly will keep her and her family in my prays.

  • Guest

    There is a video on youtube of her singing AFTER Sunday Best and she is VERY pregnant…there is no denying or hiding it. I have lost respect for her trying to pull wool over the eyes of the sheep. If you are not ashamed to admit your backslidden state (as you stated in your mini interview with Kim Burrell during this season of Sunday Best), then why lie? Is alcoholism easier to admit than anther baby out of wedlock? For everyone who is so quick to say we, as Christians shouldn't judge…should read their bibles. There is a difference between calling a spade a spade (not biblical) and judging. We all know there is redemption to all who need it, but you must first acknowledge your sins before the Father in order to receive it.

    • GET@ME

      Does that mean that we done sin, you're really acting as if life is perfect for you, you've never made a mistake, huh! Don't be so quick to jugde she's been through alot. I know maybe someone needs to put you out your house, home, or renter, take the car you're driving deprive you from all neccesity and let you feel how it feels. Sometime's we need REAL People of GOD to let sinners know that noone is perfect at what we do. It's always people like you that sit with your noise up in the air act'n like your belief's don't stink. To cut to the chase let's give her a chance to reveal herself not look for things to just talk about. How many real Christian's you know haven't been in the news over the year's and have come out. Just save your comments for the next negative person like yourself. GOOD BLESSED DAY!!!!!!

      • Guest

        Wow, and you were able to determine all of that about me based on reading my comments about a possible lie? I don't deny the fact that she has been through a lot as everyone has, I did however bring attention to the one area she identified herself as a lie on behalf of onlookers, to which I have prayed for her about and support her as the awesome talent that she is. No one is perfect, not me nor you who chose to hurl insults at me for stating my opinion on a very public issue. Where is the Christian behavior in that? I will be happy to post the video for you if you would like. She is clearly giving a testimony asking the people of God to pray for her and as the commenter said below had a very noticeable weight gain around the area that would identify most women as being pregnant. The only thing I was bringing attention to was trying to pull wool over the sheep's eyes about that particular issue and not the person. If I should have to save my comments as you have insisted, what would that also mean for you? That you would need to do the same? I will have a good blessed day, as I truly hope the same for you.

  • ronmesha

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion in what they choose to believe and not believe. But here is a fact. The body of Christ needs to stop looking to people for forgiveness. If you have fallen short then come up and don’t wallow in sin.

    Now I said that to say this, Leandria does in fact need all of our prayers for strength and stability. But to take on a platform as the one that she has taken on, people are going to see you. people are going to know the real you and people are going to judge you. Why? because you chose to put yourself in the lime light. The reason why so many people are confused and judgemental is because too many times they look for the Christ that we sing and testify about only to find out that you are not living up to one ounce of your song or testimony. Now, I’m not going to say go against Leandria’s statement that she was not pregnant but being a mother myself, there are just certain signs that show pregnancy and as her career went forth in process, she did gradually gain weight in the areas that would leave one to think, “yep, She’s pregnant.” so for her sake, I hope that this is not a lie to cover up the truth because God himse will uncover you and bring you to an open shame. Pray for this young lady because she is not nearly as strong as she think she is. Singing is one thing but you gotta live the life.

    • PeopleKillMe

      I'm sorry and what exactly are you living?

  • http://www.onmywalkwithgod.com mkjsmomx2

    Seriously, many of these comments are the reasons why so many people will not consider coming to Christ. Because Christians do not act anything like him at all. The bible says that Love covers a multitude of sin. Perhaps many of you do not know how to show love which is why you are throwing so much hate toward this woman. What I do know is there is power in her gift to move people. She is no regular singer, and that power comes from God. So, no matter how you feel about her choices in life, you should definitely respect the spirit working through her. God chooses the messenger, not man. Only He knows the end to her story. You just sit back and watch

    • Cheryl Goodman

      OPEN rebuke is better than SECRET love….Prov 27:5 (empasis mine). Ezekiel said it better "again when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him (not tell him) he shall DIE b/c thou has not given him warning. he shall DIE in his sin, and his righteous which he hath done shall not be remembered, but HIS BLOOD SHALL BE REQUIRED OF THINE HAND". People of God. Please stop scripture cherry picking and read the word in its entirety. Yes Jesus is love. But He is also a God of wrath, judgement and Holiness with (holiness) not man shall see God! ome of us showed more righteous indignation over the mess that is being preached over the pulpit and how some of these so-called gospel singers are dressing, behaving and misrepresenting the Gospel. People would really get saved ahd delivered! iF you love someone you tell them the truth. Period!! BTW.."people are not coming to Christ" because they love darkeness not b/c the truth is being told on a few hypocrites in the churh.

      • Faye Jackson

        Thank you Cheryl-out of all the comments, you said it best! I think Le'Andria is awesome & I pray for her because when you are that anointed, satan is going to come against you like a flood but God will lift up a standard against the devil. I pray that she keeps her focus on God & not people.

  • Brown

    Leandria keep doing what God has called you to do. People are going to talk regardless if you are down or up. Dont listen to all the negative things people say because Im sure they have some down falls too. No one is perfect, but we should strive to be more like Him. To all the people thats talking about she was pregnant, so what if she was, the girl is truly anointed and that only comes from God. If the Lord himself chose her to do this work, gave her that power and anointing than who are you to speak negative about her. God want people like her thats not afraid to deliver his message or draw souls to Him. Thats what we are here for to help lift people up in spirit not bring them down. So lets keep her in our prayers and stop the rumors!!! And Im sure God will fix it to where she can be her kids more and visit her home church more too. But thats probably not where He want her @ this point in time. Im sure her dad is keeping that under control, he is the Bishop. God want us not to be confortable in our own little zones but get out and reach out to people, He know what is doing, & He DOES NOT make mistakes!

    • Stillliving4GOD

      I soooooooooooo agree GOD blesses and uses the Just as well as the Unjust even in our sin!!! Why must we only focus on what we think is negative about this young ladies life… Not one Christian or non-Christian on earth is perfect we are all in sin,,, so because we are in sin are we not suppose to still stand for GOD!!! I just can't believe how many of your responses are so negative and ugly in manner. But why not just as God uses sinners & Christians so does the devil and thats very clear in several of these post.

  • Devonia

    I am not in the church, but I would never tear a person down the way so many "church folks" often do. Le Andria what God has for you is for you. Don't listen to these losers who have a multitude of sins themselves, keep on YOUR program. No one should worry about what people have to say, they don't have a heaven or hell to put you in. Who cares if she was pregnant or owned or rented, that's her personal business and let her share with the public what she wishes and keep private what she wishes. Judge not lease you be judged with the SAME judgement.

  • Truly blessed

    U know all I would like to say..why worry about what people say? Not sure but we are all so different no one made the same.God has different ways of getting everyones attention..good are bad. God gives u the wisdom to understand life, u just have to put brain to work not to waste, and let go and let God and will truly see how information from the BIBLE will make your life greater than ever,read yourself ask GOD for more,more,and more wisdom to understand his word and you will be blessed thats a fact…Prayer changes things

  • Meriam

    Wow ! It's between her and God

  • Cec77

    My God is indeed an awesome God and His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. As saints in Christ let us keep this sister in our prayers …now is not the time to throw stones but to lift one another up…I like her because she's not fake.

  • cmineown

    I am so glad for her ability to still praise God despite her fault. There is not one without sin and would we rather her stop praising God and tangle herself with spirits sent from hell to destroy her life and annoitng. I rather see her press towards the mark towards the prize of the high calling and know that the annoitng breaks the yolks. As she walk in the will of God knowing that through Christ’s divine holiness that christ like character is built. There is no perfect walk but with Christ there is a lighter journey. She professes a love for God and she continue to sing his glory. Let’s pray that God continues to transform her life to become a living testamony.