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Gloria Gaynor: 'Surviving' in Christ

CBN.com SHE WILL SURVIVE

Gloria Gaynor is best known for singing the hit song, I Will Survive, which is still popular 30 years after its release. Gloria feels great that this song still resonates with audiences around the world. She feels this song is a gift that God has given her for the public, and she has shared this song in 85 countries where the impact has been positive.

One of the testimonies she has of the popular song is when she performed in Italy. Gloria sang the Christian version of the song where the lyrics point to God (“Only the Lord could give me strength not to fall apart…”). An Asian girl had missed her flight to go home and she was able to tell Gloria that the Christian version of the song helped keep her from committing suicide.

Gloria has steadily been releasing albums and performing since her 1978 breakout hit. In March of 2001, her single, Just Keep Thinkin’ About You, topped the Billboard Dance/Club charts at number 1, while her international hit, Last Night, with Giorgio Moroder debuted at number 1 throughout Europe. She was also the first artist to record an album especially for clubs. Gloria was the first to do a mega-extended dance medley party mix, releasing 12" dance singles that are now high-end collectors items.

In September 2002, she released the much anticipated U.S. album, entitled I Wish You Love - her first worldwide release in 15 years. This gave birth to four number 1 dance singles on Billboards Dance Charts, as well as her first top ten, I Never Knew, on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Charts. She also recorded a new version of I Will Survive in Spanglish, recorded live in Brazil. Also in 2002, she was honored at the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo with the coveted LEGEND award presented by long time fan Prince Albert.

Gloria made a splash on Broadway in the longest running musical revue, Smokey Joe’s Café, and on national TV as a guest star on such popular programs as That ‘70’s Show, Ally McBeal and more, introducing her to a whole new generation of fans. The film industry continues to feature I Will Survive on the soundtrack of more than a half dozen major motion picture releases. VH-1 honored Gloria Gaynor with the number one spot during their countdown of the Top 100 Dance Records of All Time for I Will Survive. On September 19, 2005 Gloria, along with her Hit song I Will Survive, were inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame during a ceremony that took place in New York City. Gloria even found time to write an autobiography entitled, I Will Survive (St. Martin’s Press). She also lends her support to numerous charities, ranging from the likes of The Rita Hayworth Gala for Alzheimer’s to Revlon’s Annual Walk for Life.

Gloria still attends Christian Cultural Center, pastored by A.R. Bernard. To Gloria, the Bible is not a religious book, it is a book of life. She uses it in every area of her life. Her favorite Scripture passage is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

About Christians living in these current times, Gloria says, "Christians don’t have to worry about anything going on in the world today; we are protected, but only if we live by my favorite Scripture." She draws wisdom from the classic hymn, His Eye is on the Sparrow, …Jesus is my portion…

"God allows circumstances to build us up. God has got our back," Gloria said.

In March 2009, Gloria hopes to release her first gospel album. To commemorate the 30th Anniversary of I Will Survive, Gloria would like to put her Christian version of the song as a bonus track on the Gospel album.

Also, Gloria has been studying on-line to get her degree in psychology. She hopes to start a center for teenage parents in New Jersey when she graduates in 2010. She plans to retire from singing and devote all of her time to the center.

CHRISTMAS PRESENCE

Gloria has released her first Christmas album, Christmas Presence. Two songs that are special to her are God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. She chose God Rest… because Christmas has gotten too commercial; like the line in the song says, “Remember Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas day…,” we need to dedicate Christmas Day to that thought. Hark the Herald… is a call for us to glorify God in our lives. God calls for us to worship Him, and worship is more for our benefit, not God’s. When we worship, we remind ourselves that God is behind us and we have nothing to worry about.

I AM WHAT I AM

“All through my young life I wanted to sing, although nobody in my family knew it,” Gloria said. She came by the desire early, since her mother and father sang, as well as her six brothers and one sister.

Gloria says her family was “poor but happy” growing up in Newark, New Jersey. Having been forced to attend church as a child by her strict mother, Gloria’s mom refused to go as an adult and didn’t make her children go, though Gloria always believed in God. One brother picked up a love for gospel music when he stayed with his grandmother and passed that love along to Gloria. Gloria was active in school singing groups, and after high school began singing in area nightspots while holding down a day job.

In terms of worldly success, Gloria says the 70s was her decade. New York City became the center of the musical universe with lots of new stars - and Gloria was up there shining among them. Gloria signed her first record contract when she was 19. Her song, Honey Bee, became immensely popular in the Clubs and was called the Disco
National Anthem. In 1973, Gloria made history as Billboard gave birth to the Disco Action Charts. Never Can Say Good-Bye bowed at number 1 on the charts and became the first Dance Song to reach number 1 status in dance music. It became a big, worldwide seller.

In 1975, Gloria was elected “Queen of the Discos,” after her initial success. Her career making song, I Will Survive, came along in 1978 and became a huge hit, selling 14 million copies within the first year. This seemed like a propitious time for Gloria since she was coming out of a difficult period in which she’d been hospitalized several weeks.

By this time she’d met her husband Linwood, a music publisher and former policeman. They married in October 1979, and later divorced in 2005. Through it all, Gloria has learned that her sense of worth and fulfillment is found only in Christ Jesus and she gives Him all the praise for what He’s done for her.

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