Grammy, Stellar, and Dove Award nominated trio Virtue consisting of sisters Karima Kibble, Heather Martin, and Ebony Holland are back with their long awaited 7th studio project FEARLESS on the Mixed Bag Entertainment imprint released on February 26, 2016.
The 16-track collection features production by GRAMMY®-winning super producers Fred Jerkins (Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston), Mark Kibble (Take 6, BeBe & CeCe Winans), Asaph Ward (The Clark Sisters, Mary J Blige), and Alvin Garrett (Joe, Ruben Studdard) along with newcomers Jamiene Thompson, Armand Hutton, Dennis Atkinson, Andre Johnson, and Major3rd Productions (Gerald “DaGospelTruth” Jones, Justin Francis, and Carlos Woodard).
FEARLESS is led by the Top 20 single “You Are” and the group’s current uptempo single “Walk It Out”. They team with RCA Records artist Dee-1 on the album’s title track, while offering remakes of the Pop ballad “More Than Words” (first performed by the rock band Extreme) and “Miracle” from The Clark Sisters.
With nearly 20 years in the music industry and nearly 500,000 in career sales (according to Nielsen Soundscan) – making them one of the best-selling Gospel female groups of all-time – Virtue is known for hits such as “Get Ready”, “Greatest Part of Me”, “Follow Me”, “Put Your War Clothes On” and more and have released six projects between 1997 and 2006 (Four peaking in the Top 10 on Billboard).
After a lengthy hiatus, they returned to the industry in 2014 signing with the Mixed Bag Entertainment imprint, headed up by Stellar Award winning hip-hop artist Da’ T.R.U.T.H. They would then release the single “You Are”, which spent eight consecutive weeks in the Top 20 on Billboard and MediaBase Gospel Airplay charts and reissued their 2006 effort, titling the project Testimony Reloaded in 2015 with the project peaking in the Top 20 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart.
2015 was a comeback year for the sisterly trio being named “One of 16 Gospel Artists to Watch” by Essence.com.They made high-profile appearances along side Grammy award winner Bebe Winans for the Centric Celebrates Selma Concert (BET/ MTV Jams/TV Land/ Centric) that also featured R&B, Soul, Gospel and Hip-Hop acts such as Aloe Blacc, Angie Stone, Doug E. Fresh, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin, MC Lyte, Eric Benet, and more.
The concert commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march on the Edmund Petus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. President Obama, Harry Belafonte, Peter Yarrow and other historical figures made appearances. The concert was one of many high profile media appearances for Virtue in 2015.
The sisters appeared on “News One Now with Roland Martin” (TV One), the 16th Annual Gospel SuperFest (TV One), the 30th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards (TV One), and nationally syndicated radio shows The Rickey Smiley Morning Show, The Russ Parr Morning Show, and The Yolanda Adams Morning Show among more.
Undoubtedly inking yet another page to their illustrious story, the release of the forthcoming album will act as the latest milestone of Virtue’s musical journey. A journey that saw its humble beginnings in New Orleans, the group’s original lineup featured founder Ebony Holland, Karima Kibble, and Shavonne Floyd Sampson.
Under the name Endurance, the trio thrilled audiences with airtight harmonies and piercing, heartfelt deliveries of praise-and-worship numbers. Their rising buzz would catch the eye of Verity Records, who signed them as the label’s first girl group under a new moniker – Virtue.
The addition of new member, Negelle Green, would only assist in broadening the spectrum of their already diverse sound as they would impart a noteworthy self-titled debut in 1997.
Quickly becoming gospel music’s new “it” group, Virtue’s ’99 sophomore release, Get Ready, served as an Urban- flavored toast to the new direction the genre was headed. Decorated with numbers “Get Ready,” “Love Me Like You Do,” “Angels Watching Over Me,” and “Put Your War Clothes On,” the album skyrocketed to the Billboard Gospel Album charts’ Top 5 upon its debut.
Leading the group to get ready for their biggest hits yet, the next years’ saw the one time quartet move forward without Sampson and Sumter to transform into an all sister act with new group member/younger sister Heather Martin. The move proved itself fruitful as their first album as a newly formed trio, Virtuosity, would rise to #4 on the Billboard Gospel Album charts and garner four nominations at the 18th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards including “Contemporary CD of the Year” and “Group/Duo of the Year.”
The upward incline of success would continue to show itself mobile with their fourth album, Free (2003). Not only was it greeted with critical acclaim, but it would see the sisters net a Dove award nomination for “Urban Album of the Year.” With a more aggressively R&B-cloaked sound aboard their Darkchild Gospel-helmed 2006 release, Testimony, the ladies of Virtue would once again prove themselves frontrunners in the contemporary gospel genre.
A sentiment echoed by the Stellar Award academy who yet again honored the group with a nomination for “Contemporary Group/Duo of the Year” at its 22nd annual showing.
Now, with nearly a decade separating them from their last studio release, the ladies of Virtue are ready to carve a new path along the trail of contemporary gospel. Having supplemented their time away from the genre’s spotlight to tend to family matters, the group is now preparing a project to not only showcase their maturity as women, but as artists as well.