The name, Shanta Gray has been printed in the liner notes of major projects since 1992. Alisa Shanta (Shän – tay) Gray is best known for singing with the Chicago Mass Choir, New Direction, The Praise II Choir, the late Reverend Jessie Dixon, Bryant Jones & Chosen and Reed’s Temple Choir on songs such as “I Came To Jesus“, “Heaven“, and “New Revelation“
As one can hear through her work, her voice has retained its strength and resonance and, like a fine wine, has only become better over time. Her strong tones and range is interwoven with jazz, quartet and R&B riffs that all combine to announce a clear gospel message.
Shanta is what we refer to as “A Closer”. If you invite her to a song, it is best you relinquish the microphone. She will set up its message in the beginning. However, she is going to take it to another level. Once she rocks the house into a hard drive, a frenetic shout or a rhythmic march, there will be little left on the bone for any singer intrepid enough to come behind her. If you just want a “little bit” you’d best not ask Shanta. She never gives a little, she always gives 100% in every performance.
In live shows, she is transparent enough to share her struggle and allow the listener to know that they are not the only one in need of the message. She always invites her audience to know what victory sounds and looks like through her passionate delivery.
Shanta made her first recorded appearance on the Chicago Mass Choir’s second project with a song called “I’m Going Home” it was evident, even then, that she was something special.
“I’m Going Home” – Chicago Mass Choir
She was blessed to work with the legendary Rev. Jesse Dixon, who showcased her talent to the world in his 1994 recording “We Give You Praise” with the Chicago Community Choir.
“God’s Got It” – Rev. Jesse Dixon & The Chicago Community Choir
The early years in her career birthed a series of memorable songs to which she gave far more than what was expected of her. She would use this time to hone her skill and take the road she was destined to travel.
“New Revelation” – The Praise II Choir
“Time Ain’t Long” – Reed’s Temple Choir
While these are surely impressive, some of her strongest performances would come by the side of her long-time friend and husband Jeral V. Gray Sr. She became a sort of “choir mother” to the group he founded, New Direction. Her growth as a singer and personal passion for Christ were openly displayed in the songs she sang with them.
“I Came To Jesus” – New Direction
“Heaven” – New Direction
Over two decades of ministry has helped Shanta to develop her skills as a mother, mentor, wife, singer, businesswoman and most importantly, a Christian. She made a decision to wait on God’s timing and, in 2014, stepped out with excellence. Gray embarked on her first recording, which became less of a concert and more of an experience. Her smash hit single, “Make A Way” has placed her on the radar of the mainstream gospel music community and serves as a precursor to her freshman project, The Blood.
On August 21st, 2015, Shanta will be in her official début concert in Chicago. She will present her brand and step out as an artist. Having helped so many others make their projects great, she and her husband – master musician and producer that he is – have made every effort to present her ministry with the utmost poise and sophistication. This will be the launch of her solo music career and ministry that includes a book and empowerment sessions to young women and aspiring artists.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention Shanta’s most important passion…her family. Along with her husband, her son is equally talented as a musician. She has also embraced many more children than she can count in music ministry.
Her bloodline ranks among the royal gospel family names of the Midwest which include: Hearn, Maddox, Bolton, Lowe and Wills. The daughter of a Pastor (father)and Prayer Warrior (mother) in a lineage of amazing singers and preachers – The McSwain Family – and just like many of musical pedigree, the talent is nothing that can be taught, it is instinctive. If I may, please allow me to share an example of this family’s phenomenal talent at one of Shanta’s recent concerts.
Shanta McSwain, her project, “The Blood” is available everywhere as of August 21st and it is sure to be a favorite. Be on the lookout for her, a dynamo of faith, a preserver of family and an Artist You Should Know.