Evangelist and gospel singer Shirley Caesar might have cut down on her preaching, but she’s still recording and performing in her 80s! A giant in the world of spiritual music, Shirley’s career has spanned seven decades and she isn’t ready to stop any time soon!
Winning 11 Grammy Awards, 15 Dove Awards, and a National Heritage Fellowship, she has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. She was awarded the Rhapsody & Rhythm Award in Nashville and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The history of Shirley Caesar
Shirley began singing in the church where her father preached part-time, but when her father died she sang at other churches for money to help her family. She moved on to sing with a travelling evangelist and recorded her first song in 1951. She wanted to be an evangelist herself, so enrolled in college. But halted her education to join a gospel group, The Caravans.
She sang full-time, released a solo record on her own and began touring in her downtime as a singing evangelist in the 60s. She soon left The Caravans, formed her own group, called the Shirley Caesar Singers and landed a record deal in 1969.
She also launched the Shirley Caesar Outreach Ministries in ’69 (becoming a non-profit organisation in ’81 when she also enrolled in college to get her business degree). She won her first Grammy in 1971 and the rest is history!
Songs you might know
Do you know any of these fabulous Shirley Caesar songs?
- Hold My Mule
- God Will Make a Way
- It’s Alright, It’s OK
- I Know The Truth
- Nobody But Jesus
- Fill This House
- Sweeping Through The City
- Old Apple Tree
Well-known artists who have sung with Shirley
Shirley has also collaborated with Kirk Franklin, Whitney Houston, Al Green, Gladys knight, Patti LaBelle, Dorothy Norwood, Faith Evans, Dottie Peoples and many others.