Marvin seems ready for pop success and public attention, but as the last name denotes, he is no stranger to a mainstream audience.
Born to Marvin L. Winans, Senior, leader of the famed gospel cross over group "The Winans", and songstress and gospel great, Vickie Winans, Marvin began capturing the hearts of audiences at the early age of 5.
Marvin's father and uncles, "The Winans", broke into the mainstream with their debut album entitled, "Introducing the Winans". In 1981, the song "Question Is" blazed its way into mainstream rotations across the country. Following several successful records throughout the 80s, the four brothers made their lasting mark, worldwide, with their Gold-selling album, entitled, "Return". "Return" was filled with hits such as "It's Time" and "A Friend", which were produced by Guy/BlackStreet founder/member and famous producer, Teddy Riley.
At the age of 16, Marvin took his love for music to another level, forming his first ever singing group, "One Way", with his cousin Michael Winans Jr. and friends, Karl Jackson and Lance Bennett. "One Way" performed their songs, "Never Leave Your Side" and "Stay with Me Lord", at their first ever-appearance on New Year's Eve, 1996, at Perfecting Church, in Detroit, MI, where Marvin's father is the pastor.
At the age of 18, Marvin along with his three cousins, Carvin, Michael and Juan signed a major recording deal with Myrrh/Epic Records. The group achieved tremendous success with their debut album entitled "We Got Next", capturing fans internationally! Marvin and the Grammy-nominated group, debuted at #1 on Gospel Billboard charts, sold over 250,000 records and performed in front of crowds as large as 50,000, including shows in the U.S. and Europe.
Known to their fans as "Phase 2", Marvin, Carvin, Juan and Mike joined their entire family for a spectacular Winans Family Tour in 2002, touring 40 U.S. cities.
Signed to Word/Epic Records as a new generation of The Winans, the group was an immediate success. Their only CD “We Got Next” debuted at #1 on Billboard’s gospel charts and sold over 300,000 units. They performed on Oprah!, The Queen Latifah Show and the CBS Early Show among others. After almost two years of sold-out concerts and industry buzz, Phase 2 was phased out. “It was a great CD and people love it to this day,” Winans explains. “We weren’t groomed to be Phase 2. That just happened. [The reason the group stopped performing was that] We wanted to get out of our record deal. It wasn’t a good deal for us. We didn’t have the same management in place, so we just went back to being family. We came together for a purpose and for a time and then we went on with our lives.”
Marvin went on to pursue a solo career and released his debut album, Image of a Man, in 2008.
"This album is really just an in depth look at what a man is and what a man is supposed to be,” says Marvin Winans Jr. of his forthcoming urban CD debut. “I think there’s a big void in representing who we are as men in today’s society. I think people are searching for who they are and what their purpose is in this life. It’s not so hard to deal with some of the blows life is gonna jab you with if you realize that there’s a reason and purpose for your life.”
The up-tempo “Believe” was produced by Fred Jerkins (Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys) and Lashawn Daniels (Destiny’s Child, Bobby Valentino) and remixed by Winans’ little brother, Josiah. “I wrote the second verse of that,” Winans says. “I believe when your faith wanes you have to push through and believe. You need someone to tell you that.”
One of the songs Winans let out is the acoustic guitar strumming of “A Single Rose,” a gorgeous ballad. “I wrote that when I was 15 years old,” he remembers. “I went into the school cafeteria and started thinking about Jesus up on the cross looking down at a world that was so lost. That’s my thank you to Jesus. I’m in love with you.”
“U Know Luv” was produced by Noel Detail Fisher and it deals with the twisted state of love in today’s society. “I was in Dallas to work with him,” Winans recalls. “And while he was mixing for a song I did with Jerry Stackhouse [Dallas Mavericks], I was sitting at the piano. Some girls came back there and I had a conversation with one of them and she told me how the clubbing every night had her down. She said she did it to get attention. It was like a two hour high and then, she would drop again. I was telling Detail about this and that’s where the song came from.”
The piano-driven “Steps to a Man” is Winans’ response to his parents’ divorce. “I grew up in a house where we had so much fun and yet my parents got divorced and it hurt,” he says. “I saw a lot of things that I wish I could have fixed. I was like `Why don’t you all say I’m sorry and start again?’ While some could lose direction, my relationship with God grew so much stronger in spite of that situation.”
A part of being a strong man is admitting to one’s “Mistakes,” another passionate ballad from the CD. “Most people have things that they continue to struggle with and we say I’m gonna get it right but we continue to make that same mistake,” says Winans. “If we keep failing this song is another way of asking for forgiveness.”
Image of a Man works much like the youthful companion to Alone But Not Alone, Winans' father's knockout album from 2007. Both father and son seem to have a firm grasp on how to make faith-inspired music that appeals to the common man, in a language he can understand and a beat that's closer to the streets than the sanctuary.