Yolanda Adams

Yolanda Adams on “The Passion” 

*Billboard spoke to Yolanda Adams on the set of Fox’s “The Passion” Sunday night between her opening and closing numbers.

Adams believes that the play about the final days of Jesus Christ on earth will be the first faith-based TV special of many.

“Now that it’s so popular, I believe that we should be able to do more of these: real stories that come from the Bible, that are interesting,” she told Billboard before her rendition of “When The Saints Go Marching In” with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. “I’m sure now that we can do all types of faith-based stories, if we bring them to 2016 or 2017 or 2018 — I’m claiming 20 years of it,” she concluded, laughing.

Below, excerpts from Yolanda’s interview with Billboard:

How did you first get involved with The Passion?

Tyler [Perry] and Adam [Anders] called. and said they needed an opener and a closer. I was like, “OK, thank y’all so much for thinking of me.” Tyler is a great friend of mine — I’ve known him since he was a teenager. Adam, I’ve known his wife — they’ve been inspirational artists for a while, so I’ve known his work.

What did you think at first of the idea of retelling this story with secular music?

It’s not just secular music — it’s also Michael W. Smith tunes, “When The Saints Go Marching In.” It’s really relevant right now. It speaks to today, with the 2,000+ year message of the saving grace of Christ, so I thought it was awesome.

The dress you were wearing for the opening number was stunning — who designed it?

I have to thank Ms. Kimora Lee Simmons for my dresses for the whole Passion. She’s a dear friend, and she makes stunning clothes. Newly married, new baby — we’re really proud of her. They said they wanted an eye-catcher, so this is what we brought.

What was the energy like for that first song?

It was electric, it was inspiring, it was encouraging. You could hardly hear the music because people were screaming so loud. It was amazing.

For you, what’s the significance of holding it in New Orleans?

I think it’s the best place, because New Orleans has had so much turmoil within the last 15-20 years. You think of Jerusalem, you think of Galilee, you think of all the places from that time, there was a lot of political and economic turmoil going on. New Orleans was the prime place to do The Passion.