Trin-i-tee 5:7

Since the late ‘90s, Trin-i-tee 5:7 have often been described as a Christian version of Destiny's Child or a contemporary gospel equivalent of En Vogue -- and both of those comparisons are valid. Musically, Trin-i-tee 5:7 has a lot in common with secular R&B outfits like En Vogue, Destiny's Child, TLC, and Brownstone -- they're a female vocal group with an urban contemporary sound that has been heavily influenced by hip-hop. But lyrically, the trio is coming from a Christian/gospel perspective; Trin-i-tee 5:7 isn't gospel in the traditional way that Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward, and Dorothy Love Coates were gospel, but they do combine an urban contemporary/neo-soul sound with Christian-oriented lyrics. In terms of image, Trin-i-tee 5:7 favor a look that is stylish and even sexy but not slutty or trashy -- they wear makeup and attractive clothing, but they don't go out of their way to exploit their sex appeal. Some people in the gospel world have felt that Trin-i-tee 5:7's look is too stylish for a Christian group, but then, combining a hip image with Christian lyrics isn't something new -- over the years, modern Christian music has included everything from heavy metal to new wave to grunge. There are modern Christian artists who dress like bikers and use alternative metal to get their message across; there are Christian artists who wear cowboy hats, tight jeans, and Frye boots and try to look like secular country singers. Formed in New Orleans, LA, Trin-i-tee 5:7's original lineup -- Angel Taylor, Chanelle Haynes, and Terry Brown -- started recording in 1998. That was when they provided their debut EP and first full-length album (a self-titled release that came out on the B-Rite label). The full-length album was a major hit in the Christian market, and it also managed to reach some secular audiences as well; having superstar R. Kelly on board as one of the producers certainly didn't hurt, although Trin-i-tee 5:7 have steered clear of the sort of explicit lyrics and thug-life imagery that Kelly has favored at times. In 1999, Brown left Trin-i-tee 5:7 and was replaced by Adrian Anderson, who had been the group's makeup artist. The new Taylor/Haynes/Anderson lineup was unveiled on 1999's Spiritual Love, which was the group's second full-length album and also came out on B-Rite; once again, Kelly was among the producers. In 2002, B-Rite put out Trin-i-tee 5:7's third full-length album, The Kiss. ~ Alex Henderson

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