The Winans were pioneers in the field of contemporary gospel, updating the sound and style of traditional black gospel vocal groups for the urban contemporary age. While they weren't the first group to do so, they were probably the most important factor in popularizing the style, paving the way for countless urban-style gospel groups to follow -- including numerous other members of their own, confusingly large family tree. The Winans were composed of brothers Marvin, Carvin, Ronald, and Michael, all of whom were born in Detroit and raised in a strict, loving Christian environment. Their parents later recorded together as Mom & Pop Winans, and their other family spinoff acts included Daniel, Vickie, brother and sister BeBe & CeCe, and Angie & Debbie; plus, their own sons went on to form the third-generation group Winans Phase 2. All of that came later, though. The four brothers, like the rest of their siblings, grew up singing in gospel choirs, and decided to form a professional quartet in their twenties. A mutual friend introduced them to Andrať Crouch, a major force in the contemporization of gospel music, and Crouch signed the Winans to his Light label.