Zacardi CortezView in iTunes
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Combining his full-bodied voice and a funky '80s throwback attitude, gospel singer Zacardi Cortez was a member of James Fortune's FIYA project before launching his solo career. Having grown up touring the gospel circuit with his family band, the Cortez Family, Zacardi was mentored on the road by John P. Kee. After an appearance on Kee's 2005 release, Live at the Fellowship, Cortez joined Fortune's FIYA, singing lead on their 2007 album, The Transformation, and its Top 20 single, "The Blood." With Cortez up-front, FIYA would top the gospel charts in 2010 with the single "I Believe," and suddenly the singer was being talked about by names as diverse as John Legend and Rickey Smiley. The stage was set for a solo career, which began in 2012 with The Introduction, his debut album released by the Black Smoke Music label. ~ David Jeffries