By Brandon S. Johnson
In 2007 the Gospel world was blessed with a new voice in that of Kansas City native, and Stellar Award winner, DeWayne Woods, who’s break out hit “Let Go” gave listeners a powerful reminder to cast their cares on the Lord even when all seems lost.
On September 8th, along with special guests: Candy West, Lena Byrd-Miles, Neicy Robertson, Gutierrez and San Diego’s own Eddie Baltrip, he brought his ministry to the sanctuary of Bayview Baptist Church for his Live Recording Experience. With his familiar locks cut into a stylish haircut, and sporting a slim grey suit accented with red tennis shoes, he took guests on a spoken and musical journey through his life, from his discovery of a love for music at age 6 directing imaginary choirs in his front yard, to this very moment recording his first live album. Utilizing some of the amazing talent we have here in San Diego to back him vocally, he brought people to tears, laughter and worship as he sang both new and familiar tunes.
“Having the honor of singing behind Dewayne Woods on his Live Recording Concert was such a learning and life changing experience,” shares Cassheila Barmer. “He is one of the most humble, genuine, down to earth human beings despite his celebrity. His ministry and love for God is authentic and real! It’s impactful and effective. As impactful as his ministry is when he is on stage, the way he lives his life on a day to day basis and his genuine love for God and His people is where he has the most impact.” Sharing in this sentiment is her husband Bryon Barmer. “Working with Dewayne and company has been an absolute blessing. He carries himself with the utmost professionalism. He’s no nonsense when it comes to preparation because he believes in giving God the absolute best every time. At the same time, he’s still a down to earth guy. He doesn’t act like he’s better than the next person and really treats people as a humble servant of God would treat the next man. It’s humbling being able to watch him work in his element. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
Woods’ career and life have remained a testament to the power of perseverance and in holding tight to one’s faith. Having been a member of John P. Kee’s gospel ensemble and having backed such artists as Celine Dion, Kirk Whalum, Kurt Carr and Karen Clark-Sheard, among others, he eventually began his own solo career and ministry. One of his most inspiring triumphs he shares candidly on his debut album, Introducing DeWayne Woods & When Singers Meet. On the track entitled DeWayne’s Testimony, he speaks on his battle with and eventual victory over HIV. “Years ago I had gone into a doctor’s office for a physical, just to kinda have things checked up – I was on the road – and when I went back in the very next week to get my results from the physical they called me in and told me I had tested positive for HIV. Now this was in 1992. I went through all the treatments that there were – now back in that day they were still trying to test out things. So I went through all of the years ’til I decided I couldn’t do it with the treatments, I couldn’t go to the doctor, I couldn’t do it because if I was going to sing about God being a healer I wanted Him to do it. If I was going to be a worshipper I wanted God to keep his promise. So I sought his way. Then in 2001 I went back for a check up to see what was going on and they asked me all the questions they needed to ask me and then they said, ‘Well, you can go home, you’ve tested negative, thank you for coming.’
A self-declared life-long lover of music, Woods told guests, “If it felt good to me I just loved it. Anytime there’s a song that I want to minister to someone, I always make sure that it has a message that you not only WANT to hear it, but you NEED to hear it.”