Published 12:00 am Monday, October 6, 2008

Anyone hearing Zachary Lennix sing immediately knows there is a special talent they are listening to.

With a powerful and smooth voice, he is instantly captivating when taking a stage, something that has been going on for years in the region, unknown to the masses.

The LaPlace resident has been well-known locally, singing in churches and special functions. But even with that avenue to be noticed, Lennix has had non-stop encouragement from many local folks, urging him to try for something more.

However it took Lennix 40 years of living before he was ready to do it for himself, leading to the recent release of his first CD that could vault the popular local singer to much larger notoriety.

Lennix recorded a four-song CD earlier this year at Round The Way studios in Gonzalez, and now along with manager Rev. Greg Taylor, is beginning what he knows is the challenging road of trying to promote what he is doing.

“I’ve had so much encouragement for years from family, friends, people at churches where I sing,” he said. “And I was always being told that I needed to cut a CD and try to do something bigger. But that’s the kind of thing you have to feel for yourself, and I never thought the time was right until about two years ago.”

The turning point for Lennix was being invited to go on a ministerial trip to Paris, France with a pastor in the state. He visited numerous churches in France for two weeks, appearing as the guest singer at each one and getting lots of positive feedback.

“The response was really amazing from that trip,” he recalled. “And that’s when I thought that it was the right time. That’s when the idea of doing a CD was really birthed in me.”

All the thought about taking a step up finally came together for Lennix earlier this year, and he is now getting the CD out to radio stations, as well as attending conferences where he can get heard by those in the industry.

Lennix went to the Gospel Music Workshop of America in Nashville in August, while Taylor, a former DJ himself, has plans to attend a conference for disc jockeys and radio stations. They hope that it all adds up to a chance for Lennix to really spread his talent.

“I know that this is a calling of God to sing the Gospel,” Lennix said. “And I know that it’s the very grace of God and his anointing that will give me the opportunity to be heard.”

Lennix comes from a strong Christian family, with his father serving as a minister in their church, while working at the sugar refinery. His mother worked various jobs in retail while also staying home much of the time to take care of the family that involved five other children besides Zachary.

Lennix knew from a young age that he had a special talent, beginning to sing as early as three with his father’s group, the Gospel Stars.

Even though he attended public school, graduating from East St. John High School in 1986, Lennix said he did not have problems sticking to his Gospel music.

“When I went to high school there was lots of wordly music around me, but the friends I had knew my parents and knew where they stood about music. My parents were pretty strict and the only stuff I ever listened at home was Gospel or Christian music, so I never had any problem getting influenced away from it,” he noted.

As he became a teen-ager, Lennix got more-and-more opportunities to sing, opening with the choir with some well-known ministers in the church scene he was involved with, and getting solo opportunities at many churches in the region.

But as good as he was, Lennix didn’t feel a call to try and get serious with his music after high school, and wasn’t thinking about a career in singing at that point.

“I was actually interested in going into the medical field after high school,” he remarked with a slight laugh. “But then I didn’t even go to college, and ended up working in retail for 10 years.”

He worked other jobs until his current position working in security at Marathon Refinery, but all through those years and a marriage with two children, he continued to keep his talent alive.

“I have always sung at everything I could, just because I love to sing,” he said. “I did weddings, and special church functions, and even had a couple of concerts in the area. That was really a lot of fun.”

But then came the trip to Paris and Lennix felt a new calling to try something bigger.

His CD is four tracts that are serious praise and worship songs, and give great insight into the spirit he brings to his music. The songs are moving and will quickly add to his church following.

But his manager, longtime friend Greg Taylor, sees a bigger future for Lennix.

“Even though Zachary has a voice that is as good as anyone, we still have a lot of work to do to try and get him promoted,” he said. “But the talent he has compares with anyone you will ever hear, and I think he has a big future.”

Lennix credits his parents, Ozzie and Barbara Lennix as the people he is most thankful to for the support to get where he is today. Then his pastor at First Assembly of God Church in LaPlace, Rev. Curtis Porche, is another strong supporter along with his manager and good friend Greg Taylor.

“I’m just super excited right now about the possibilities with this,” Lennix said. “Not only do I want to spread the Gospel with my songs, but I want to bring big name artists here to this area. That’s really the goals I’m working towards right now.”

Anyone who is interested in purchasing a CD, or booking Lennix, should call Taylor at 504-881-0070.