Greatest Gainer on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs
Zacardi Cortez soul-stirring new single “1 on 1″ has debuted at #22 (Greatest Gainer) on Billboard’s Hot GospelSongs. Kerry Douglas Presents Gospel Mix VI available now!
As many people who are inspired by your voice and your music, many people will be just as inspired by your story. Can you talk a little bit about your past as a drug dealer and how that experience helped guide you to where you are now.
Zacardi: Well, I grew up in a part of Houston that you can’t say anything good about because there is nothing good about it. It’s probably the poorest area and it’s a neighborhood that makes you fight to survive or dying trying. So, I grew up tough and I was a bully because I didn’t want to be bullied. The people I hung with did what they had to do to survive and that mean stealing or selling drugs. I did the same things and got a way from the church teachings I was taught as a kid and John P. Kee is someone who took me under his wing – he’s really been a father figure in my life – and put me on a straight path and that turned me around.
How do you feel about some of the music in general that’s being played on the radio?
Who would your fans be surprised to know that you listen to?
Zacardi: I like the music I hear on the radio. On the gospel side, I like Isaac Caree and James Fortune. On the R&B side, I like Robin Thicke, Anthony Hamilton, Maxwell and singers like that. Oh, man. My fans would probably be surprised to know that I’m an old man trapped in a young man’s body (laughs). I love all the old school R&B singers I heard as a kid. I love Ron Isley and his vocal placements. I love Prince. People like Johnny Taylor, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly – my dad used to play “Before I Let Go” every morning at the same time when I was a kid.
Your song “1 on 1” …the message is about spending that one on one time with the person you love….and you’re talking about your personal one on one time with God.
How challenging is it to discuss your relationship with God, particularly to the younger generation?
Zacardi: I don’t think it’s challenging at all. At the core, everybody is the same. Whether they admit it or not, everybody wants to be loved and encouraged. I’m a young guy and that’s what I want is to be loved by my girl, my friends and anyone who may dig my music. I already know God loves me so it’s just a matter of reminding people my age that it doesn’t matter if you aren’t loved by those close to you because I’ve never had a great relationship with my father so God became my father. Whoever is missing in your life, God can fill that void when we embrace him the way he embraces us and loves us. How do we do that? By reading The Bible, praying and just praising him for what he’s already done and over time you just develop a relationship.
So…you’ve got a new hit song, a beautiful voice and a promising long-lasting career. Are you single,dating, married? If single and/or dating, what qualities are most important to you when looking for a mate?
Zacardi: Well, I’ve dated a lot of women and was engaged last year but that didn’t work out. I’m dating a new woman and everything is going well right now so we’re taking it one day at a time. For me, any woman I date has to like kids because I have kids and I’m close to them. She has to understand my work and that I spend a lot of time on the road and be comfortable in the church because I’m a church boy all day and I need a church girl. She also has to be able to laugh and just chill. I’m happy hanging at the crib watching movies and eating Chinese food. It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy.