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Where did James Fortune & FIYA come from? According to Wikipedia, James Fortune attended Cal State University Northridge. He could be the “creation” of a major gospel label looking for a cash cow (but he’s on a hard-working independent label, so that can’t be it). He seems to just have come out of nowhere to start kickin’ [hold-my-mule] and takin’ names.

The title track of his 2004 debut album You Survived earned him a 2006 ASCAP Writers Award. The smash single “I Trust You” from their last album The Transformation repeated that feat just last year. Even if you weren’t necessarily interested, “I Trust You” would not be denied. Their recent appearance on the BET Awards made another splash. Even with FIYA lip-synching to background vocals on a track, they pulled out a great performance.

The new album Encore is a collection of 12 songs produced by Terence Vaughn and Ay’Ron Lewis (who are part of the team behind the success of traditional quartet-turned-duo RiZen). Fortune co-wrote all of the songs, which makes you pay attention to him as an artist and musician.

The new disc boasts some high profile collaborations with Kierra Sheard, William Murphy, Isaac Carree and Lowell Pyle of Men of Standard, Nikki Ross, and Anaysha Figueroa. Also on the disc is “You Are Here,” which features Lowell Pyle and Zacardi Cortez made himself extra famous for stomping a mudhole in “The Blood,” a favorite track from the last Fortune & FIYA album.

According to 1800Gospel, a live version of “I Trust You” will be included on both the CD and DVD release. The DVD will not be in stores until May 2010, but the Encore CD hit stores and the Internet yesterday!


You Survived (September 14, 2004)

The Transformation (February 19, 2008)

Encore (January 26, 2010)

For more information on James Fortune, visit