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Praise 104.1

Zacardi Cortez is about to get his close-up. The 26-year old Houston-based singer has been singing all of his life and in recent years has become known for his earth-quaking vocals on James Fortune & FIYA’s hits, “The Blood” and the #1 smash, “I Believe.” He began his career singing with his family, The Cortez Singers, and recording with his musical godfather, John P. Kee. The anticipation for his debut CD, “Zacardi Cortez: The Introduction,” has been so strong that his recording home, Blacksmoke Media, has released a five-song digital EP to satisfy Cortez’ fans until his full CD is released.

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The self-titled extended play is now live and available for streaming and downloading on iTunes,, Google Play,, Rhapsody, and Zune. It’s anchored by Cortez’ Top 5 radio smash, “One More Time.” The soul-stirring ballad features gospel legend, John P. Kee and wetted the musical appetites of gospel fans from coast to coast for more Zacardi Cortez. “Zacardi is the best singer in America today,” says Blacksmoke Media CEO, Kerry Douglas. “I’ve been grooming him like I groomed James Fortune and Earnest Pugh. Zacardi is my next superstar and I have no doubt that he will be one of the biggest artists the gospel world has ever seen.”

The EP begins with the beautiful, piano-based ballad, “It Was Love.” On it, Cortez sings of Jesus’ love with a sophisticated charm and charisma that will make this track a crossover nugget that will stretch beyond cultural and denominational barriers. The festive, up-tempo, “Mighty God,” will have church pews ricking from Sunday to Sunday. The EP closes with the two songs that created the buzz for Zacardi Cortez. The anthem “I Believe” featured Cortez holding his own with Shawn McLemore and James Fortune & FIYA. The song remained #1 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart for 14 weeks. The set closes with the old school styled organ number, “The Blood.” The YouTube videos of it have racked up over a million views and Cortez’ spines-tingling vocal gyrations have made the song one of his most requested songs. As Cortez’ puts the finishing touches on his debut CD (featuring cameos by Donnie McClurkin, Lalah Hathaway and Kierra Sheard), he’s hitting the road with syndicated radio host/comedian Rickey Smiley and Earnest Pugh.

Zacardi Cortez Hits The Ground Running!  was originally published on