One of the most talked about voices in gospel music today belongs to 25-year-old singer, Zacardi Cortez. Over the last half dozen years, Cortez’ big voice and spine-tingling vocal gymnastics have distinguished James Fortune & FIYA’s radio smashes “I Believe” and “The Blood,” and made him one of the most sought-after singers in the business today for concerts and work in touring musical plays in this age of auto-tune stars. Now, he’s stepping into the spotlight with his own Top Ten radio smash, “One More Time,” a rousing duet with his mentor, Pastor John P. Kee.
Born September 17, 1985 in Houston, TX, Cortez hails from a singing family of faith. He began singing at the age of five in church and worked the Texas gospel circuit with his family, The Cortez Singers. Later on, John P. Kee, adopted him as a spiritual son and began mentoring him. For a while, Cortez sang with Kee’s V.I.P. Mass Choir and sang a solo on the CD, Live at the Fellowship, in 2001. He later made guest shots on recordings by Kurt Carr, Bishop Paul S. Morton and Pastor Gregg Patrick & the Bridge Project.
Then, circa 2006,Blacksmoke Media Worldwide CEO, Kerry Douglas, discovered Cortez and recruited him to sing the lead single, The Blood,” from James Fortune’s sophomore CD, The Transformation. The traditional styled song was a showcase for Cortez’ vast vocal range and gave Fortune his first Top 20 national radio hit. He has since recorded on all of Fortune’s subsequent CDs. His volcanic vocals, alongside those of Shawn McLemore, ushered Fortune’s track “I Believe” to #1 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart for 14 weeks and earned them coveted TV performances on BET’s “Celebration of Gospel” and BET’s “Sunday Best” programs.
All of the buzz about Cortez’ old school vocal acrobatics have earned him celebrity fans ranging from soul singer John Legend to Le’Andria Johnson. On May 22, 2012, Blacksmoke Media Worldwide will debut Cortez’s CD debut, Zacardi Cortez: The Introduction. The first single, “One More Time,” is currently #5 on Billboard’s gospel chart. The set features both new and old school gospel tracks with cameos by Donnie McClurkin, Lalah Hathaway and Kierra Sheard. “Zacardi is one of the best singers on this planet,” says Douglas. “When people hear this album, they will understand why Zacardi is gospel’s next big superstar.”
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