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For the last five years, James Fortune & FIYA have electrified the gospel world like Kirk Franklin did over 15 years ago.

Like him, Fortune is more of a storyteller than a singer. In a relatively short span of time, he’s accumulated a long list of gospel and R&B–crossover radio hits like “The Blood,” “Encore,” “I Wouldn’t Know You,” “You Survived,” and “I Trust You” which spent 29 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart. Fortune’s current smash, “I Believe” (featuring Shawn McLemore & Zacardi Cortez), just locked in its 12th week at #1 on the Hot Gospel Songs chart. Last year, Billboard named Fortune the 2nd most popular gospel artist in the country based on radio airplay– just behind platinum-selling artist, Marvin Sapp.

It’s been a great year for Fortune (who is also up for ten Stellar Award nominations for his January 2010 CD, “Encore”) and the label he records for, Black Smoke Music Worldwide. “God has been good to me. So I want to bless others,” says Black Smoke CEO Kerry Douglas. “I will give $50 to ten people today. Simply text MRKERRY to 69302. Pass this blessing to a friend.”

Meanwhile, Fortune has dropped  his latest CD/DVD, I Believe: Live (Black Smoke Music Worldwide)! The 14-track live concert was recorded live at the Houston Arena in early 2010 and pops with the smoking crackle of a July 4th fireworks display. The festive, funk-gospel concert features cameos by gospel stars Kierra Sheard and William Murphy. The album runs the gamut of feverish Pentecostal moments such as “Praise Break” to the anthem-like coda, “I Need Your Glory.” Fortune will perform songs from the CD on the syndicated, “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” on December 9, 2010 in Dallas, TX. Black Smoke Music Worldwide is one of the most successful indie labels in the gospel world today with a litany of #1 rising stars such as Fortune and Earnest Pugh  that  Douglas has introduced to the world through his best-selling Kerry Douglas Presents Gospel Mix CD series.

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