Grammy-nominated gospel artist Shei Atkins
announced Wednesday that she is leaving
gospel music and instead embracing more
secular R&B music. Her reason: The church is too
With three gospel albums under her belt, her first
releasing in 2004, Atkins says gospel music fans
struggled to accept the “realness” of some of her
“I had fans who loved me on one side and
people condemning me on the other side calling
me worldly, pulling me to the side at some of my
shows about my hair color, sending in mean
letters, etc.,” she told the hip-hop, gospel music
Atkins received much radio airtime for songs like
“He Can Fix It” and “Lord I Love You” but many
radio stations wouldn’t play songs such as
“Temptation,” which was an account of a woman struggling not to give into sexual sin.
Atkins says she is called not only to help people
become Christians, but to help them walk out
their faith practically.
Now married for 14 years, Atkins says she and
her husband almost divorced during their first
year, and she feels a responsibility to sing songs
that show how God can bring hope and healing
to relationships with both God and with man.
“It’s evident that families are under major
attack,” she says. “I make songs to help instill
love, honesty, faithfulness and communication
back into relationships.
Now, three years since her last album debuted,
Atkins is releasing a secular album—her fourth
—titled Emotional. Her new album allows her to
freely minister the way she feels God is leading
her, without limitations, she says.
“Although I love God’s people, I can’t waste
years trying to break this mentality and use that
as an excuse for not doing what God told me to
do,” Atkins says.
“Every part of the body of Christ is unique and
beneﬁcial and if we all work together, we would
be so much more powerful. God is more
concerned about how you live than what genre
you’re categorized in.”
Though Atkins has decided to move out of the
gospel genre, popular hip-hop artist and one-
time Haitian presidential candidate Wyclef Jean
recently announced that he would be moving
into the gospel industry with his newest album.
This summer he released a Creole-language gospel single. Sources say that Jean had always
wanted to return to his roots of Christian music.
Finally, with this new album, he was afforded the