Detroit is known for churning out great soul and R&B singers. Known as the home of Motown, it’s also the
home of a great Gospel talent. One of those shining sacred artists in the Motor City is Gospel Recording Artist
Ellen Hayes. A flat-footed singer that can belt out notes that shake the soul, Hayes has been inspiring
believers for decades. The gifted alto epitomizes church with her mastery of traditional Gospel music and
contemporary Gospel music. The multi-talented organist, pianist, vocalist, songwriter, choir director and
four-time Rhythm of Gospel Nominee is getting ready to shake up the world of Gospel with a long-awaited
release, We Owe It All To You.
Originally hailing from Ecorse, Michigan, Ellen was raised in Detroit, Michigan, after her father, Pastor
Charles J Edison, was called to establish a church there. He moved his family, which included his wife and ten
children, into a home on the upper floors of a converted bar, and that’s where Ellen’s father began his
ministry work. Deeply involved in the inner workings of the church, she was very active. Ellen is grateful for
the lessons she learned growing up in the church and how it shaped her as a Christian. “When I was growing
up, I couldn’t see the value of it,” Ellen explains. “But when I got married and started having children,
experiencing life itself, there were so many times I realized that I needed the lessons I learned in church.
And I came to see how important a relationship with the Lord was.”
It was in the church where her love of music began. Her mother, a musician, played for the church and
helped with the choir. A gifted pianist and vocalist, the notes that flowed from the piano as her mother
played soothed Ellen’s soul. Enamored by the sound of the keys, later, Ellen learned to play by ear, starting
with the organ first and then the piano. She had an affinity for jazz, pop and soul, initially, but soon her
passion for Gospel music blossomed. In her 20s, she began directing and playing for her church choir,
completely unaware that she would still be playing, directing and ministering in song almost 40 years later.
A talented singer and skillful interpreter of song, Ellen realized at the age of 16 that she’d been called to
music ministry. Songwriting took hold when her father stopped allowing certain songs – ones he felt didn’t
line up with scripture – to be sung in church. That decision forced Ellen to start penning her own songs,
songs taken right from scripture. Ellen says that the Lord “opened up the creative part” of her mind and
began giving her melodies to complement scripture. Not only did she receive amazing songs, but in the
process she became a devout student of the Bible.
Her exquisite knowledge of the word of God is apparent in Ellen’s forthcoming release. Scripture is at the
very center of her song, “The Holy City,” a track on the new release. Inspired by a series of scripture like
dreams where she witnessed “the holy city” and all of its glory, the song captures the majesty and reverence
of Heaven. Ellen’s performance on the song is a memorable and moving one. Those who like “The Holy City”
will certainly enjoy the soft and uplifting harmonies of “Peace Be Unto You.” Ellen takes the listener back to
the old-time church with the stirring track, “God Will Supply.” and “Walk In the Spirit.” The project’s lead
single, are both rousing, toe-tapping Gospel songs perfect for Sunday morning. Every song on the 10-song,
13-track CD provides its own unique inspiration.
Recording is nothing new for Ellen. She recorded her first song in her early 20s. It began when her brother,
Dr. Raymond Edison, wanted to form a Gospel group; Ellen quickly became a member. True Inspiration, the
new group, booked her brother’s studio, recorded a number of tracks and released two albums. They gained
a following and were known for delivering powerful performances. Ellen remained a member of True
Inspiration for 20 years before launching her solo career. Step Into Your Blessing was her debut CD release.
Dropped in 2012, the project featured tracks written by Ellen and producer Michael Mindingall.
It was the first time that audiences were able to witness Ellen on her own, and the CD gave the songstress an opportunity to spread her musical wings. It was also the first time that Ellen was recognized by the industry
for her work; the title song received four Rhythm of Gospel Award Nominations. In 2018, the Gospel Music
Workshop of America held their 50th Anniversary in Detroit and celebrated with a live recording entitled
Bringing It Back Home. Ellen, a member of the GMWA Detroit Chapter, was honored when her song, “O
King,” a stunningly beautiful worship tune that morphs into a powerful Gospel anthem, was featured on the
Ellen’s first project was followed by the introduction of a new group, Ellen Hayes and Harmonee.
The all female group consisted of Ellen and her three daughters, LaToya Bellafant, Cynthia Gross and Carmen Hayes,
and as their name suggests, they were recognized for delivering impeccable harmonies and a unforgettable
blend that can only be found in families. The ministry was an extension of the musical lineage that started
with her parents, continued with her brother and transferred to her children. A wife of almost 40 years, the
mother of eight and the grandmother of 20, Ellen Hayes is just getting started. Currently, she is the musician
at her home church, the Word of Truth Church in Detroit, Michigan, pastored by Rufus Hayes, the same
church her father established decades earlier.
Now, Ellen Hayes is set to take center stage again with her upcoming 2022 release, We Owe It All To You. A
former executive board member of the National Independent Gospel Music Association, also known as
NIGMA. Ellen maintains her NIGMA membership, her Gospel Music Association membership also known as
GMA, and her Stellar Award Music Academy membership, also known as SAGMA. Ellen feels like the season
is right to showcase more music and to encourage the saints with new songs. And the saints are ready