I met Oprah’s pick for America’s songbird at a recent luncheon.

california frog and such 004 Catching up with Michigans Pop Star Winner: LaShell Griffin

LaShell Griffin and Lori Pinson

You may remember LaShell Griffin.  She won Oprah Winfrey’s Pop Star Challenge in 2004, beating out more than 15,000 contestants with, among other songs, her a capella rendition of Amazing Grace.  Now this Michigan Mom can say she’s sung for President Barack Obama and toured the world!

lashell and lee griffin with the president of the united states barack obama Catching up with Michigans Pop Star Winner: LaShell Griffin

President Barack Obama with LaShell & Lee Griffin

Looking back, LaShell was recovering from foot surgery and lounging on the couch watching TV when she learned about the Pop Star Challenge. She never dreamed one day she’d be part of a nationwide vote that would determine her future. Recalling her excitement, LaShell remembers applying to the contest and being surprised when she was contacted two weeks later.  The surprises kept coming when contestants were whittled down to 8, then 5 and suddenly, LaShell was part of the final three!  She says: “Oprah saw my heart and so did the people that were voting.”  The country determined LaShell the winner!

lashell and oprah Catching up with Michigans Pop Star Winner: LaShell Griffin

LaShell Griffin and Oprah Winfrey

Since that stellar day, LaShell’s performed on the Oprah stage four times, seven times for President Obama. She’s placed on Billboard’s best selling CD chart with the most played song (“Dreams are Possible”) in the country.  Forming a production company (DAP Music) with her husband, LaShell’s got a new single out titled “Jesus Said” that’s receiving airplay on the gospel circuit.  Proud to be from Detroit, LaShell has represented the Motor City in London, Zimbabwe and Trinidad, standing tall with other celebrities.  She’s hoping to bring her talent to the big screen in the remake of the movie “Sparkle”.  “I am living my dream, traveling the world and doing what I love because of the opportunity granted by Oprah Winfrey.”

lashell griffin and dr maya angelou at the gracies awards in ny Catching up with Michigans Pop Star Winner: LaShell Griffin

LaShell Griffin and Dr. Maya Angelou at The Gracies Awards

Though her travels have been extensive, LaShell loves performing for a home town crowd. This season, she’s scheduled to open a Lions and Pistons game with her rendition of the national anthem.  For a preview, click here.

With her hectic schedule,  you would think this mother of five would want to return to the couch where it all started for a rest, but no.  Always looking for ways to pay her good fortune back, LaShell says she spends any free time volunteering to work with students and the homeless.  It’s part of her ministry.

“I feel like all the dreams I held in my heart for years has now come true.”

Get more Weather or Not with Lori Pinson.


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