Gospel singer Wilson's "Love" still strong

Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:38pm EDT
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By Deborah Evans Price

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Brian Courtney Wilson can't believe he's made the leap from Houston church singer to the national charts.

"I was just hoping I wouldn't embarrass myself," he says of his debut album, "Just Love" (Music World), which has been on Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart for more than year. "It was songs from my heart that I knew sounded good in the studio. But you never know how people are going to respond."

Since Music World founder and president/CEO Mathew Knowles (father and manager of Beyonce) discovered him at St. John's Downtown Church in Houston, Wilson has become gospel music's hottest new artist. "Just Love" debuted at No. 2 on Top Gospel Albums -- where it has resided for 66 weeks -- and at No. 6 on Top Christian Albums. First single "All I Need" climbed to No. 6 on Gospel Songs and has stayed on that chart for 75 weeks. Subsequent singles "Already Here" and the title track peaked at Nos. 13 and 14, respectively.

Music World Gospel will release a deluxe edition of the 2009 album October 5. The package will include five new songs and 40 minutes of bonus content. One of those new tracks, "Awesome God," will be the next single going to radio.

In the meantime, Wilson has begun recording his next studio album. "I'm not nervous about it because you can't be," the former pharmaceutical sales rep says of the follow-up to his successful first release. "If you get nervous and anxious, it will just stifle the process."

Chosen as the ambassador for the American Heart Association's "The Power to End Stroke" campaign, Wilson will visit eight cities in support of the health issue.

"It's one of the leading causes of death in the black community," he says. "This is an opportunity to use music to gather people in one spot and inspire them to make the right choices." Wilson will also headline church concerts across the country, with 40-plus dates booked between now and the end of the year.