Six-time Stellar Award-winner and GRAMMY® Award-nominated recording artist VaShawn Mitchell s0ared to the top of the charts last year with his mega-hit single “Nobody Greater,” from his top-selling, award-winning album Triumphant. In 2011, Mitchell received 11 Stellar Award nominations, the most nominations received by an artist that year. Billboard magazine declared “Nobody Greater” the #1 Most Played Gospel Song of 2011. Mitchell was named Billboard’s #1 Gospel Radio Artist of 2011 and Triumphant was among the Top 5 Gospel Albums of 2011.
The single held the #1 position for nine consecutive weeks on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart and crossed-over to the Urban Contemporary Adult charts. Mitchell also received two GRAMMY® and two GMA Dove Award nominations for both the album and single.
Now the acclaimed singer-songwriter is back with a new project, Created 4 This, which will be available in stores and online everywhere on August 28. Created 4 This picks up where Triumphant left off. This project is a body of music that features Mitchell’s signature style: contemporary themes with a traditional Gospel vibe. The praise and worship music on the CD is encouraging, inspiring, and uplifting. “I wanted to build on ‘Nobody Greater’ and Triumphant to create a new compilation of music to empower and equip people in this economy to understand why we are here and what we are created for,” says Mitchell. “The whole message of the album is that we still have hope, that we shall overcome and be victorious, and that God will be there to sustain us in this next phase of our lives.”
Created 4 This is produced through a partnership between EMI Gospel and Mitchell’s production company, V-MAN Entertainment. The album was recorded live at the Thornton High School Auditorium in Mitchell’s home town of Harvey, IL, a suburb of Chicago. Produced by VaShawn Mitchell, Calvin Rogers, and Phillip Feaster, it features 11 songs that range from high octane praise to contemplative worship, and showcases Mitchell’s acclaimed songwriting—he wrote or co-wrote most of the songs on the album—and compelling vocal style. A deluxe edition of the project, which will be released at the same time, contains two bonus songs on the CD and a DVD that features videos of live performances and behind-the-scenes footage of Mitchell gearing up for the live recording session and reflecting on growing up in the Chicago area.
“Turning Around for Me,” the powerful praise and worship song that is the first single from the album, is Mitchell’s personal testimony. “I believe I got so busy doing the work of the Lord that I forgot about the Lord of the work,” he says. “Things weren’t going so well for me, even though things looked great on the outside. But God told me to find Him again and He would turn things around.” Mitchell wrote the song to encourage people that God can turn their situations around. The album opens with “Psalm 150,” a high energy praise song that introduces the theme of the CD with lyrics that come straight from Psalm 150—“let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” “Faithful” is an upbeat praise and worship song that Mitchell describes as a “happy song” because it reminds us that we serve a faithful God who we can always depend on, no matter what we encounter. “Greatest Man” is a simple song with an infectious and memorable tune that Mitchell describes as “timeless.” The song features multiple GRAMMY® Award-winner Israel Houghton in a performance that Mitchell describes as “one of the greatest moments of the live recording session.”
Mitchell returns to his mega-hit, “Nobody Greater,” and pairs it with two of his favorite worship songs, “Name Above All Names,” and “Our God,” for “Worship Medley.” The result is a powerful worship experience that listeners will go back to again and again. The worship experience continues with “Lost,” which Mitchell hopes will “inspire people who sometimes get out of the presence of God and let them know that they can always get back in the presence of God”; “Awesome God ,” a simple praise song with a powerful message about how God is ever-present in our lives; and “His Record,” a song that reminds us that the same God who healed the blind and the sick and fed the hungry is the God who can help us with whatever we’re going through.
In “Status,” a mid-tempo contemporary praise and worship song, Mitchell delivers the encouraging and empowering message that your “status is changing,” and you are on your way to better days. With help from featured singers Fantasia Barrino and her mother, Evangelist Diane Barrino, Mitchell delivers a contemporary twist on “The Potter’s House,” a classic song written by V. Michael McKay. The standard album ends with the CD’s title song, “Created 4 for This,” a fun, praise-party song that celebrates the understanding that we are created for worship and praise and that we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us.
The deluxe edition of Created 4 This includes “I Will,” a contemporary praise and worship song that features Kierra Sheard. And the praise party continues with “Reasons,” which inspires listeners to think about all the reasons they have to praise. The deluxe package also features videos of live performances of “Psalm 150,” “Faithful,” and “Turning Around for Me,” plus behind-the-scenes footage.
A compelling performer with cross-over appeal, Mitchell has performed around the country and in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, England, as well as many of the Caribbean Islands. He was featured in Sugar Mommas, a movie based on the popular gospel play of the same name, which premiered on the Gospel Music Channel in January, 2012. The stellar cast was led by Vanessa Williams and Terri J. Vaughn, and also featured Rachel True, Lamman Rucker, and Tommy Ford.
Before taking center stage as a performer with Triumphant, Mitchell, a worship leader and celebrated songwriter, penned hits for a number of Gospel’s most well-known voices, including Smokie Norful, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and Bishop Paul Morton. Throughout the years, he has written several top-selling choir recordings and spawned such memorable hits as “My Worship Is For Real” and “Trouble Don’t Last.”
Despite his early success as a singer, choir director and songwriter, Mitchell always thought of music as a hobby. But wherever he went, he kept getting pulled back to music. He attended Columbia College in Chicago to major in communications and public relations. As soon as he got there, he discovered there was interest in starting a gospel choir, which he led. During that same time, Mitchell became the Minister of Music at the Sweet Holy Spirit Church in Chicago, under Bishop Larry Trotter.
He recently started the Norman Youth and Arts Foundation, named in memory of his grandfather. As their first projects, they sponsored summer youth camps for the arts in the Chicago area because arts programs have been eliminated from so many schools and school districts there. Mitchell was recently honored by his hometown when they named the street where he grew up “VaShawn Mitchell Street.” It was an experience that he describes as “humbling and encouraging,” and one that offered him another opportunity to inspire young people to work hard and achieve their goals. He believes that he is a role model for young people, and that it is part of his calling. It’s a role that is both proud and happy to take on.