Star singer Helen Shapiro tells SANDIE SHIRLEY about her first gospel album in 12 years, and her ongoing passion to share her faith
Former chart-topper and singing star Helen Shapiro has spent the last two decades telling others about the one who turned her life around.
With a compelling story of faith coupled with various gospel numbers, there is still no let-up in her bold and stirring message for the masses.
“People need to know the truth that salvation can only come through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. You cannot get right with God by trying to keep his laws – no-one can,” says Helen.
She discovered Jesus, the awaited Messiah and her Saviour, 23 years ago. After studying Old Testament prophecies that foretold his birth, death and resurrection she explains that she was convinced and convicted by the truth.
The turning point for the Jewish lass from London’s East End came when she was 40 but it was never kept under wraps; she shared her life-changing beliefs with thousands in packed auditoriums across the world after performances.
Since walking off the showbiz stage more than seven years ago, her message has been constantly pruned and honed to help deliver the nub of the Gospel at invitation outreach meetings.
No stone is unturned as she lifts the lid off biblical prophesies that foretold Jesus’ coming, and talks about the hidden dangers of some alternative therapies and the occult which she dabbled with unwittingly before walking back to happiness with her Saviour.
Her latest CD was launched earlier this year. What Wondrous Love Is This has come after a season of waiting and preparation.
“God has had to do a work of refining in me as he has dealt with things in my life, as he does with all of us. He works on our identity, upbringing, relationships and job roles as we allow him to,” says Helen who was just 14 when she tasted stardom and the beginning of 42 years of international touring.
Since her faith commitment she has tasted God’s goodness. It has come with five gospel albums, umpteen gospel events, the autobiography: Walking Back to Happiness and the formation of a long-awaited jazz band three years before retiring from the entertainment business.
In the last year or so new blessings have continued with the “fulfilment of life by abiding in Jesus” and include her first gospel album for 12 years.
Says Helen: “I waited for the green light – otherwise it would have been from me and not from the Lord. Most performers are critical of their work, including myself, but in the main I am really pleased with its spiritual content and musically it is jazzy, well-played and with good backing vocals because the Lord has provided the best.”
The desires of her heart continue to unfold. After 15 years of prayer she is now busy forming a new group called Hebron with two Christian colleagues.
“We will be using some good songs from different sources. There will be some Messianic Hebrew gospel numbers with testimonies and teaching for such a time as this,” says Helen who will be playing a baritone ukulele and guitar.
• For more information visit Helen’s website at www.mannamusic.co.uk
Helen’s early singles Don’t Treat Me Like a Child, You Don’t Know, Walking Back to Happiness and Tell Me What He Said sent her soaring to pop stardom at the start of the Sixties at just 14 years old, when she toured regularly with The Beatles and other stars of the time.
For many years, she has been a much respected jazz singer – as well as singing with her own band, she performed with Humphrey Lyttelton and his band from 1983 to 2001, and also with the BBC Big Band. Helen has also been in demand as a pantomime principal boy and appeared in many stage musicals. In May 1995 she was the subject of BBC TV’s This Is Your Life.
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