Gospel singer prepares for comeback - CBS46 News

Gospel singer opens up about past tribulations, prepares for comeback

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MCDONOUGH, GA (CBS46) -

The small church fits neatly into a space that you would normally see a hair salon in. It's one of several ministries renting space in a shopping plaza in McDonough.

On a Tuesday afternoon the house of God doubled as a rehearsal space for gospel singer and evangelist LaShun Pace.

It's been years since Pace released an album. The record label dropped her when it became clear she wasn't going to be able to tour for health reasons.

Those reasons were brought on by the domino effect of her life falling apart like a house of cards.

Pace grew up on the south side of Atlanta in Hapeville. The small community called itself Poole Creek.

It was in her mother's kitchen she first started to sing. She would harmonize with her eight sisters and one brother.

As she grew, her gift for singing caught the attention of the right people at the right time.

Her debut album reached No. 2 on the Billboard gospel charts, with her rendition of I Know I've Been Changed becoming a fan favorite.

After landing a role as an Angel of Mercy in Leap of Faith with Steve Martin and Debra Winger, she was poised to take the world of gospel music by storm.

But a divorce left her a single mother with a career that took her out of town frequently.

Pace explained how she always did the best she could to make it work with her daughters.

They would travel short distances to see their mother in gospel plays in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.

In the meantime, her eldest daughter was struggling at school; not with the material, but with the other students.

Pace says her daughter Xenia was bullied mercilessly over her weight. At 11 years old the girl was 5'6'' and 291 pounds.

Pace remembers one year, her daughter brought Valentine's Day cards for all of her classmates.

At the end of the day she found every card in the trash; her desire for friendship discarded, while her gift of candy was taken.

In February 2001, Xenia collapsed in her classroom and never got up again.

An autopsy showed the girl had an enlarged heart.

"[The doctor] said that comes from chronic sadness," said Pace.

After her daughter died, Pace fell into a deep depression.

"As much as I knew God, and I knew how to pray, I was still lost," said Pace.

On three occasions, Pace says she prayed to God to take her life.

"I said, ‘I ask you to take me. I am ready to leave and come be with my daughter.' He whispered so sweetly, and said, 'I can do what you ask of me. But I won't be able to say well done,'" explained Pace.

It took several people, pharmaceuticals, and her faith to help Pace get over the loss of her eldest daughter.

Little did she know, her troubles were just beginning.

She has spent the last six years in and out of the hospital. She has fought cancer, and nearly died when her esophagus erupted.

Last August her weight, which has always been a struggle for Pace, ballooned to an all-time high.

In one picture you could easily miss the fact she is in a wheelchair because her body nearly covers all of it.

Since then, the weight has started to come off, and she appears thinner than when she was in her prime.

Her voice is also changing from all of the wear and tear she has gone through physically, emotionally and spiritually.

She struggles to hit the same big notes with the kind of awe inspiring power she used to, but is finding other ways to use her gift in a more delicate way.

She remains hopeful that the pure tone she once had will return with some coaching and as her body, mind and soul heals.

While that is happening, she is rehearsing for a concert scheduled for the end of May.

She plans to record the concert live and turn it into her first album in years.

She's hoping to catch the interest of the music industry that moved on while she picked up the pieces of her broken heart.

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