Gloria Gaynor's first-ever gospel album testifies to how she survives life's setbacks

Gloria Gaynor's gospel album, Testimony, June 2019
Gloria Gaynor's gospel album, Testimony, June 2019

Disco music icon Gloria Gaynor who sang the 1978 hit song "I Will Survive" recently released a gospel album titled Testimony and said she hopes it will encourage others to conquoer all of life's challenges. 

“I’ve been telling people for 40 years that ‘I will survive,’” Gaynor told Rolling Stone magazine backstage at her album release event in Nashville, Tennessee, last month. 

“With this record, what I’m hoping to accomplish is to show people how to survive. How I survived all the difficulties that I’ve had in my life and how they can survive as well.”

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The Grammy Award-winning vocalist’s new album is a soulful collection of inspirational tunes recorded at Nashville’s RCA Studio A. Testimony features artists such as, Yolanda Adams, Mike Farris, Jason Crabb and Bart Millard of MercyMe. Gaynor co-wrote most of the album with Dove Award-winning producer-songwriter Chris Stevens. 

The album highlights her autobiographical track titled “Back on Top,” which has the same anthemic vibe as “I Will Survive.” Gaynor’s classic tune spent three weeks at No. 1 in 1979 and is synonymous to the New Jersey native's character all these years.  “Back on Top” testifies to how she’s taken some hits in life but forges ahead anyway.

Gaynor, who was born Gloria Fowles, is an overcomer. At age 12, she was a victim of sexual abuse which led to years of battling insecurity. A fall on stage in the late ‘70s, during the height of her career,  left her temporarily paralyzed from the waist down with years of surgeries and chronic pain to follow.

Gaynor said her ultimate message for everyone who listens to her new album is that “the mercy, the grace and the love of God is available to them just as it has been to me.”

The singer told People magazine that she has wanted to make this album for years, but her ex-husband didn’t think it was a good career decision at the time. Following a risky spine surgery that could have ended her life in 2018, she committed to making the album a reality. 

“I’ve been through a lot — [including] a big lull in my recording career — and this album is something I’ve been wanting to do for so many years,” Gaynor told People magazine. “But my manager that I had, who was my husband, was afraid that we would suffer tremendously financially if I did that, so he was really, really not wanting me to do that.”

“We entitled the album Testimony because it truly is my testimony of what God has done for me in my life: His mercy, His love, His grace, His patience with us,” she says, “and it just really tells about Him. It’s a testimony.”

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