MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A gospel singer saw her dreams come true as her song climbed to the top of the charts this year, until COVID-19 almost left her without a voice to sing it.

She might say Jesus fixed it.

Shontelle Norman-Beatty, who grew up in the Raleigh neighborhood of Memphis, is considered one of gospel’s artists to watch. She’d been singing all her life when she finally made it to the top.

“Jesus Will Fix It” started climbing the charts early this summer and made it all the way to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 100 charts in September.

“To see your name on Billboard for number one, I was speechless for like a couple of hours,” she said.

Shontelle and her producers put a spin on an old favorite, and gospel fans loved it.

“It’s just an up-to-date, feel-good version of an old classic gospel song with just that feel-good message that your grandparents had back in the day,” she said. “And when I was in the studio all I could hear was my granddaddy singing it.”

Shontelle comes from a family steeped in the church and gospel music. Her father is a Church of God in Christ minister. Her brother, the late Shae Norman, was also a gospel recording star.  

For years, Shontelle sang only back-up on gospel and R&B albums — until this year, when she stepped out on faith and into the spotlight.

“I didn’t search for this. I didn’t look for it. This was all God, because I was happy being in the background,” she said.

After finally recording her first solo single and seeing it climb to No. 1, it would be months before Shontelle would be able to perform the song live.

She got COVID while recording the song.

“I could make it halfway through the song without losing my voice and losing my breath,” she said. “And I couldn’t do anything and it was like, I can’t talk. I can’t do this.”

She had reached the pinnacle of her career but now had no voice.

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“I was like, ‘Okay, God, I don’t know what this is. Well, I know what it is, but God, you didn’t bring me to this for this, so you’re going to have to go ahead and give me the strength in this,’” Shontelle said.

The symptoms lingered for two months, but she built back her strength and her vocals by singing and walking.

“I started singing my song, ‘Jesus Will Fix It,’ as I would walk around my neighborhood,” she said. 

One weekend, she found she was able to sing again, “and I was like, ‘Alright, God, let’s go!’”

Shontelle goes back into the studio soon to work on her second single. She hopes to release her first album next year.

“It’s been amazing ever since to be able to sing the song, because I’m getting stronger and stronger,” she said. “I just thank God for allowing me, giving me the trial to increase my faith.”

Shontelle is among a number of young Memphis gospel musicians making a name for themselves. The same week she went No. 1, Memphian Evvie McKinney was at No. 2 and Memphian Bart Orr co-wrote the Tamela Mann song that came in at No. 3.