|Photo Courtesy of eOne Music|
By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever
The Recording Academy announced today (Dec. 19) that Shirley Caesar is the recipient of one of the seven 2017 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards bestowed by the Academy. Other Lifetime Achievement Awardees are jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, country singers Charley Pride and Jimmie Rodgers, vocalist Nina Simone, musician/songwriter Sly Stone, and rock band The Velvet Underground.
A deeply spiritual and affecting gospel singer, Shirley Caesar’s emotive vocal talents were discovered in a church choir when she was 10 years old. She is arguably best known for her eight-year tenure with the Chicago-based gospel group the Caravans, whom she joined after appealing to Albertina Walker to sing a solo with the group. Electing to pursue a solo career in 1966 alongside her own choir, the Caesar Singers, she subsequently carved out a profile that earned her the title of First Lady of Gospel Music. Caesar’s roll call of achievements includes 11 GRAMMY Awards®, 14 Stellar awards, 15 Dove awards, a NAACP Image Award, a Soul Train Music Award, and two current 59th GRAMMY nominations.
Caesar, 78, has enjoyed a highly successful 2016 that, in addition to the GRAMMY nominations for her Billboard chart-topping album Fill This House, has included a number one spot on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs chart for “Hold My Mule” (as result of the viral Internet success of the “U Name It” Challenge featuring a portion of the sermonette), and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Libra Nicole Boyd, PhD is a musician, award-winning author, gospel music aficionado, and the founder and editor of Gospel Music Fever™. Her commitment to journalistic integrity includes bringing you reliable gospel music content that uplifts and advances the art form. Libra is presently working on several scholarly projects about gospel music in the media as well as gospel music in social movements.