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After his graduation, Norful remained in Chicago as an assistant pastor at the Rock of Ages Baptist Church and stayed active in various church choirs, eventually catching the ear of Joe Anne Brunson, leader of the Thompson Community Choir, who asked him to sing one of his original songs for the choir's Real album, which essentially launched Norful's professional singing career. His debut solo album, I Need You Now, was released by Chordant in 2002, followed by a live album called Limited Edition from EMI Gospel in 2003. Norful has characterized his music as "urban inspirational," an apt term that allows him to stretch the boundaries of traditional gospel while still remaining true to its purpose. EMI Gospel also released Norful's second solo album, Nothing Without You, in 2004. Life Changing appeared in 2006, and in 2009, EMI Gospel released Smokie Norful Live. ~ Steve Leggett