GREEN BROOK, N.J. (BP) – Gloria Gaynor recalls the heyday of her iconic Grammy-winning disco hit “I Will Survive” when the Lord reined her in.
“I think I was about to go off the deep end, to make a long story short, and the Lord grabbed me in my collar and said that’s enough. I mean, literally,” she told Baptist Press years after the jolt she experienced during a party she hosted in her home in 1984.
“I was visibly shaken. I thought everyone else in the room saw it, and I went into the bathroom shaking and crying and realizing that the Lord had grabbed me, that I was about to go beyond what He was willing to allow me to go as His child.”
Gaynor spent a year’s sabbatical in 1988 discerning God’s call on her life. Musically, would she adopt the sacred and let go of the secular? Would she sing a combination?
“There’s a long way between the secular and the sacred, but not everything is purely sacred or purely secular,” Gaynor said. “After that year, He sent me back with this. ‘My Word speaks of all of the issues of life. What would make you think that I wouldn’t want you to sing about all of the issues of life from My point of view?’ And that’s what I do in my show.”
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Gaynor’s sole Gospel album would come decades later. The Grammy-winning “Testimony” released in 2019 by Gaither Music Group includes vocals by Bart Millard, Jason Crabb, Yolanda Adams and Mike Farris. The 20th studio album of her career garnered her second Grammy, this time for Roots Gospel Album.
“I’ve always believed that Gospel music or Christian music should minister to people and should do what the Bible does; it should make known to them the love, the knowledge, the design and desire of God’s life for every human being. My purpose was to have songs that did that,” she said of Testimony. “That was what I had in mind, trying to get across to them the character of God, the design of God for the life of His children.”
Now 79, Gaynor spoke with Baptist Press in the midst of several projects including live performances in the U.S. and France, and a biographical documentary set to release next year.
On Nov. 1, Pure Flix will release the inspirational Christmas movie, “The Thursday Night Club,” featuring Gaynor as a physician and encouraging good deeds particularly among young adults.
“I love the idea that it’s young people who are learning to give back, learning to be altruistic, learning to pay it forward,” she said of the movie. “I stand in awe of a God Who gives you gifts, talents, abilities, wealth and welfare to share with other people, and then blesses you even more as you share it and use it to bless others. He’s amazing.”