Gospel great Yolanda Adams is ready for ‘A Capitol Fourth’ concert in nation’s capital

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'A Capitol Fourth' with Yolanda Adams (Part 1)

After two virtual years, “A Capitol Fourth” returns in-person to the U.S. Capitol on Monday.

The July Fourth celebration will feature four-time Grammy-winning gospel great Yolanda Adams.

“I can’t tell you what we’re performing, it’s a secret because we’ve got to get people to watch,” Adams told WTOP. “It will be patriotic, it will be heartfelt, it will touch the soul and hopefully make you proud to be an American. … The last two and a half years we’ve been through a lot, so sometimes you need a reminder of how blessed you really are.”

This year’s event will air live on PBS, hosted by country music star Mickey Guyton.

“That’s a huge get for this show,” Adams said. “I love Mickey Guyton so much. I remember when Mickey Guyton was just coming up through the ranks of country music. Now she is a bonafide country music superstar. She’s beautiful, she has a wonderful spirit, she’s very kind and it comes through when she sings … so she is the perfect hostess this year.”

The lineup also includes Darren Criss, Andy Grammer, Chita Rivera, Gloria Gaynor, Rachel Platten, Keb’ Mo’, Emily Bear and Loren Allred. You’ll also see Jack Everly conducting the National Symphony Orchestra, Military District of Washington, the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets set to fireworks.

“It is a reminder of how awesome our country is in spite of all of the things that can go on,” Adams said. “Once we have a visual with beautiful sound and beautiful people coming together …  ‘A Capitol Fourth’ reminds us of the rich history we have. Some of it is yucky, some of it is great, but as a collective, we still are the best country in the world.”

Her positive attitude was shaped by growing up in the churches of Houston, Texas.

“I grew up singing in church, my mom was the music director so I was singing a lot,” Adams said. “I started recording when I was 14 in the gospel industry. I’m still here, I love inspiring people, I love helping people make it through their situation because nothing does that like inspirational music. I’ve been so blessed to do this for over 40 years.”

Highlights include the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteer service in 2016, induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2017, becoming the first gospel artist to earn a Tony nomination for Broadway’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” in 2018, and memorably singing “America the Beautiful” to kick off Super Bowl LIV in 2020.

“Just the collection of all of them,” Adams said. “Anything I’ve done with the majors who are no longer with us — my performance with Prince was amazing, so many times that Whitney Houston and I have worked together, Aretha Franklin — those are memories that I hold near and dear to my heart, so if I start pinpointing stuff, I’ll start remembering [more].”

After Monday, she can add Guyton, Rivera and Gaynor to the list.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'A Capitol Fourth' with Yolanda Adams (Part 2)

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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