*Flip through the pages of any hymnal and you’ll find the music of Andrae Crouch.

In a recent interview, talking as if God is sitting right next to him, Crouch said because he has so many songs in his catalog, he asks God what to tell his people when selecting music for a project.

When God speaks, Crouch listens.

Sometimes, he says God tells him just to make a statement.

To help ease the wide-spread burden of loss, divorce, and the economic upset, the statement in his latest single, “The Promise” is indeed a promise from God found in Joshua 1:5: “I’ll never leave you. I’ll never forsake you.”

“The Promise” is the first single from his forthcoming CD, “The Journey” due to be released on May 17, his eighteenth album.

As a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and multiple Grammy Award winner with 1700 songs to his credit, Crouch’s gift was immortalized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004.

When Andrae Crouch sings, the people listen.

The coarse, jazzy tone ascending over the beautifully orchestrated chords in “The Promise” sings soothingly, “No matter what you’re going through, I have good news for you …”

Convincing and clear, it’s the voice of a master.

Crouch, 58, miraculously became one of God’s messengers over 40 years ago when his father Benjamin Crouch was a preacher in need of a church musician. He laid hands on his then 11-year old dyslexic son and asked God to bless him with the gift of music.

From that moment forward, the universally acclaimed gospel icon, has played the piano and has been in tune to God’s voice, “constantly writing and always hearing from God.”

According to Crouch, his father taught him that by definition, Gospel music must be bible based.

While many may agree with Crouch, a significant portion of music listed as contemporary gospel is inspiring, yet it does not meet the criteria of having a scriptural reference.

In such cases Crouch surmises, “It’s entertaining, but won’t save a soul.”

Now Crouch will transfer his legacy to a new generation of aspiring singers, imparting his “soul-saving” music philosophy through “The Promise” choir competition for church and community choirs. Winners will glean techniques from the musical genius in workshops and earn the privilege of having two songs produced by a living legend.

“I don’t want to just go into glory without leaving what God has given me in the hands of whoever wants to use it for the glory of God,” he said.

Sponsored by Riverphlo Entertainment, The Promise Choir Competition is underway now through June 30. (Riverphlo Entertainment’s founder, President and CEO Luther “Mano” Hanes signed Andraé Crouch to his new label in 2010. Hanes, a noted producer who has worked with CeCe Winans and Ledisi, will also produce music for contest winners. Interested choirs may audition y submitting their version of “The Promise” online at http://riverphlo.com/

HEAR more from the master musician in our intimate interview recorded on February 10, 2011. Andrae Crouch speaks from the heart on the definition of gospel music, loss and his latest endeavors. (He even reveals that he and fellow gospel legend Tramaine Hawkins were once an item!)

NOTE: Please adjust speakers as the sound quality fluctuates.

Listen as Mona Austin speaks to Andrae Crouch about his latest project: