January 28, 2007
Gospel - Contemporary, Gospel - Traditional, Righteous/conscious
Total Songs Added:
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Shirley Caesar (b. October 13, 1938) is an twelve time African-American Grammy winning gospel singer and Christian pastor. Caesar was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. She faced many obstacles in her youth, including racism, segregation, the death of her father when she was only eight years old, and the responsibility of caring for a semi-invalid mother. Caesar began singing as a young girl in church. Although she was struggling in school, she remained determined, and continued with her education while developing her remarkable musical talent. She eventually graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Shaw University. Caesar began her professional singing career by approaching the legendary "Queen of Gospel" Albertina Walker, founder and lead singer of the already world famous gospel recording group The Caravans in the late 1950s. She convinced Ms. Walker that she was of age and serious about singing with the most popular female gospel singing group at that time, The Caravans. Albertina Walker & The Caravans gave Shirley Caesar many opportunities to be in the spotlight as lead singer, such as on the gospel hit "Sweeping Through the City". In 1966, her solo career began to take flight as audiences learned of her soul-stirring voice. Some of her solo hits include "No Charge", "Jesus (I Love Calling Your Name)", "Rejoice", and "Stand Still". In 2005, she was honored by Oprah Winfrey at her Legends Ball. The same year, she released the album Grammy-nominated I Know The Truth on her own independent record label Shu-Bel Records. The critically acclaimed title track "I Know The Truth (Lies)" produced by avant garde gospel artist Ton x was a hybrid of traditional gospel and hip-hop and featured both Shirley and Ton x rapping. Caesar, is one of the most versatile talents in the gospel music industry. She recorded "Sailing on the Sea of His Love," with Soul legend Al Green and won a grammy in the 1980s. In 2006, she topped the charts with a newly developed hip hop sound, with "I Know The Truth (Lies)" Caesar has also been featured in several movies and television sitcoms. She played Shirley in Good News in 1998 and then Grace in The Parkers in 2004. She also played herself in The Fighting Temptations with Cuba Gooding Jr and Beyonce in 2003 and Soul Food the television show. She also contributed to The Preacher's Wife soundtrack with Whitney Houston and The Prince of Egypt. With an exhaustive list of career credits, singer and Pastor Shirley Caesar tirelessly works in the name of Jesus Christ. She believes the Lord is trusting her to deliver the Word, and her efforts speak greatly to her faith and application of it. Her latest musical effort, Shirley Caesar & Friends, is a collection of collaborations intended to bridge gaps. She believes the Lord has charged her with delivering his Word, and finding more outlets for the great teachings is essential. "If it's not saying anything to the people, I don't want it!" Shirley Caesar & Friends brings together the best in the world of gospel with legends in the world of popular music for one great cause praising God! Featured collaborators include Grammy Award winners Patti Labelle & Gladys Knight, R&B songstress Faith Evans, the incomparable Oleta Adams and traditional and contemporary gospel All Stars Kirk Franklin, Desmond Pringle, Kim Burrell, and Dottie Peoples. This diverse compilation of inspirational songs is boldly moving for a legendary gospel woman who has been recording for more than 40 years. The collaboration begins with "Starting All Over", written by Danny Graham and Shirley Caesar and featuring Oleta Adams. "Starting All Over" is the perfect song to introduce a CD that will have a major impact. This ballad speaks to the application of faith. Pastor Shirley shares, "We do fall occasionally, but let's not succumb to the same issue over again." Oleta's and Pastor Shirley's interpretation is beautifully rich and clear and leads the way for gospel's favorite son, Kirk Franklin. Franklin joins the cast on "I'm Ready," a song that has meshes Shirley's signature sound with Franklin's kinetic gospel energy. From Desmond Pringle ("Just A Closer Walk") to Kim Burrell ("We Praise You"), Shirley Caesar & Friends has something for everyone. "I'm Blessed," features an anointed collaboration with Pastor Shirley and fellow gospel legend, Dottie Peoples. A combination of traditional and contemporary, "I'm Blessed," is, as Shirley says, "two sisters gelling and combining ministries and voices." Patti LaBelle lends her voice on "You Are My Friend," her signature song that performed to new heights as Pastor Shirley's interprets the classic hit. R&B sensation and hip-hop royalty, Faith Evans, joins the project with "Hurting Woman," adding her personal emotion to a song that describes a true experience. This very contemporary expression of unshaken faith and devotion to God and family effortlessly combines Faith's modern vocal style with the wisdom of Pastor Shirley's soulful voice. To round out the album, Pastor Shirley called on her superstar "friends" Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight who both contribute classic and recognizable style to Shirley Caesar & Friends. The trio takes you to church!! Their rendition of the old familiar hymn, "The Blood" will give you chills as it emotionally declares restored faith and gratitude. Raised in North Carolina, Pastor Shirley grew in an environment of obstacles. Segregation, the death of her father at eight years old, and caring for a semi-invalid mother made for a less than ideal upbringing for this budding star, but she accepted the challenges with her head held high. She has stayed close to her roots, but her personal and professional credits prove her unfaltering devotion. Pastor Shirley began singing as a young girl in church. Meanwhile struggling with school, she was encouraged to pursue goals outside of academics. In characteristic strength, she continued with education while developing into a remarkable musical talent. She eventually graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Shaw University, and has been granted several honorary degrees from other educational institutions. Her musical career also flourished. She began her professional singing career with the Caravans in the mid 60s, performing and recording with the group. In 1966 her solo career began to take flight as audiences learned of and yearned for her soulstirring voice. Pastor Shirley has recorded over forty albums since the 60s exploring her gift and spreading messages of faith. She has participated in over 16 compilations and three gospel musicals, Mama I Want to Sing, Sing: Mama 2, and Born to Sing: Mama 3. Her credits also include a series of commercials for MCI Communications and several awards for her recordings. She has been awarded 11 Grammy Awards, 13 Stellar Awards, 18 Doves, 3 RIAA gold certifications, an Essence Award, McDonald's Golden Circle Lifetime Achievement Award, NAACP Achievement Award, SESAC Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Pastor Shirley has made several notable appearances including the televised Live from Disney World Night of Joy, the Gospel According to VH-1, a White House performance for George Bush, and a speech on the Evolution of Gospel Music to the US Treasury Department. While Pastor Shirley has enjoyed a fulfilling career, her personal achievements are just as commendable. She is married to Bishop Harold Williams, husband of twenty years. She is Pastor of a growing congregation, Mount Calvary Word of Faith Holy Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. This ministry has grown from seventeen to over 500 members. "I never dreamed the Lord would bring my ministry to where it is, and I feel that I have not yet reached the zenith because we've got such wonderful things planned!" She sites her mother as a strong influence in her decision to give so selflessly of herself. The pastor has committed a sizeable portion of all concert sales to her Outreach Ministries, continues to deliver weekly sermons and leads an annual Outreach Ministries conference. She notes, "I cannot sweeten the Atlantic Ocean, but I can take a pitcher out of the ocean and sweeten that." Living a life devoted to greatness, Pastor Shirley confidently faces the world's ills, doing her part to make it all a little better. With a schedule including recording, performing, and ministering, Pastor Shirley constantly finds ways to spread messages of love and encouragement. She is a warm soul with remarkable intentions and talent evidenced by her selfless acts and expansive artistic prowess. Shirley Caesar & Friends is significant as it expands the reach and perception of what gospel music should be. Says Pastor Caesar, "the Lord is using me to bridge the gap. He is trusting me, and I am so grateful. I just hope others will join in." Shirley Caesar did not come by her crown as the "First Lady of Gospel" lightly. She earned it...every step of the way. Long recognized as one of Gospel's truly great and historic figures, Pastor Caesar is one of but a handful of artists qualified to share the legacy of such legendary talents as Mahalia Jackson and the revered forbearers of Gospel music. With the release of her new album, A Miracle In Harlem, and her autobiography, The Lady, The Melody, and The Word, set for publication in August '97, Shirley's sense of herself and her purpose has never been clearer or communicated with more authority. As she continues to bring the roots of traditional Gospel alive to contemporary audiences, it's easy to understand why the Washington Post called Shirley Caesar " One of the greatest singers of our time", adding, "she can twist, compress and enhance a lyric a dozen ways without abandoning her central message of affirmation." Whitney Houston, a Caesar fan since she was a little girl, says "if you want anymore to sing gospel on a record, you've go to have Shirley because she knows how to deliver. She's anointed with a power and force that runs through her." Shirley Caesar has flourished for over four decades. And with each successive year, the accolades and accomplishments continue to pour in. A 16 time Grammy Award nominee, Pastor Caesar has compiled more nominations than any Gospel artist in Grammy history - and won more than any female Gospel artist - winning her ninth Grammy Award this year for the Shirley Caesar Outreach Convention Choir Album, Just A Word. Pastor Caesar was also a featured artist on the Grammys in 1996, performing to an international audience of over one billion people. Bringing the audience immediately to its feet, Pastor Caesar was backed by superstar prot g s Whitney Houston, Cece Winans and Hezekiah Walker, representing just a handful of countless admirers throughout both the industry and the world who acknowledge and celebrate Pastor Caesar's defining on modern Gospel music. Beginning singing at the age of 8, Pastor Caesar first gained national prominence in 1958 as a member of the pioneering Caravans, before beginning all illustrious solo career. She has recorded more than 30 albums since 1966 - several of which sold over 500,000 copies - as well as a gold video, all the while amassing a trophy case filled with not only her nine Grammys, but a host of Dove and Stellar Awards, and other accolades too extensive to enumerate. Last year she completed her third sold-out run on Broadway, starring in "Born to Sing", the third installment of the "Mama I Want To Sing" trilogy. Pastor Caesar recently played New York's Madison Square Garden in the hit gospel musical, "This Is My Song", with Cissy Houston and Tramaine Hawkins. Pastor Caesar has also been involved with two major motion picture soundtracks including Whitney Houston's The Preacher's Wife and the John Singleton film Rosewood. Having previously done only ticketed concerts in Harlem; the genesis of A Miracle in Harlem was a free performance for the community, recorded at the First Corinthian Baptist Church. "We had as many outside the church as inside," says Pastor Caesar, "and there was an air of appreciation and joyfulness. It was a very special, wonderful, festive evening." That spirit combined with a razor-sharp band and choir, and a collection of songs that are the best works of both Shirley and some of contemporary Gospel's finest song writers, makes A Miracle In Harlem truly a landmark work in an already singular career. In addition to inspired new material, Shirley also revisits several of her classics and the results are nothing less than thrilling. Lifetime favorites "Don't Drive Your Mama Away", "Faded Rose", "Sweeping Through The City" and "This Joy I Have" are all reinterpreted with contemporary production and sensibilities, while still remaining faithful to the traditional Gospel roots from which they sprang. Other standouts include "How I Love Jesus" and "God Keeps His Promises", both by Danus Brooks, musical director of longtime chart-toppers Reverend Milton Brunson's Thompson Community Singers. Pastor Caesar also forcefully addresses the issue of good and evil in the world in the potent "Strong Man". "This album, more than almost any I've done, touches on a number of issues and challenges in the walk of everyday folks", says Pastor Caesar," and I believe these are songs that will truly bless people." One of the most powerful of the album's songs, Pastor Caesar's own, "You're Next In Line for a Miracle", faces one such pressing concern head-on with a message of hope and trust. The songs starts off: Have you ever walked the floor all night long/ Wondering how you were going to pay your bills/ Then a still, small voice spoke and said be strong/ Sometimes struggles is My will/ I'm never late/ I'm always on time/ You can always trust me/ Move to the front of the line/ Today's your day/ For you're next in line for a miracle. "When we've been told by people that we'll never make it, the Lord has His own plans - much greater than our own - and holding onto that faith can bring great things". Pastor Caesar pastors her own congregation at the Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church, in Raleigh, North Carolina and has previously served on the Durham City Council. Pastor Caesar and her church have been instrumental in organizing and implementing a variety of community outreach programs aimed at giving tangible, material assistance to hurting people, believing that ministry to the human spirit goes hand-in-hand with the meeting of physical needs. "Our church is committed to serving the community at large," she explains. "We try to bring people blessings by visiting the sick and the elderly, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and providing day care and teaching healthy activities to children. We offer a Saturday school to the local youth, teaching crafts to the little one and trades to the teenagers-skills with which they can actually make a living. It's one thing to give someone a meal, but the long-term solution is to help them become self-supporting". Always high on Pastor Caesar's priority list is her hometown annual outreach convention, now in its 25th year. As always, it will offer daily seminars as well as an abundance of worship opportunities led by a number of America's most dynamic and renowned preachers, and will feature some of the biggest names in Gospel music. Anticipating the release of her autobiography this summer, and looking at her life in overview, Pastor Caesar emphasizes the crucial spiritual dimension in all her successes, past, present and still to come. "Everything I do has a spiritual purpose to it", she says. "Everything. Everything! The Grammys, the albums, the videos, the book...they all give me the chance to minister to those many more people. These are all powerful vehicles to touch people far beyond my capacity to reach them one-on-one, and hopefully change hearts and lead people to the Lord, then to motivate them to take up responsibilities to care for one another". Shirley Caesar By The 700 Club CBN.com - San Francisco Examiner critic James Kelton said, "The energy transmitted between her and her audience makes most rock'n'roll fanaticism seem like empty piety." A quote that still stands true today for the energetic 11-time Grammy Award-winning artist Shirley Caesar. Whether mingling with Oprah Winfrey, shooting a film with Beyonce or performing for the President of The United States, she continues to record albums that not only win multiple awards but also touch individuals in unexplainable measures. A woman who has always exhibited unparalleled charisma, who could have, long ago, retired and rested on her many successes, does it again. On September 6th Caesar will release her 41st CD "I Know The Truth"-the first to be released on her new record label Shu-Bel Records-distributed through Artemis Gospel (formerly known as Light Records), to include 12 tracks with a variety of styles including a twist of hip hop, church, and quartet where she undoubtedly brings her signature energetic powerhouse vocals with an abundance of love and encouragement. "We at Artemis Gospel are honored to partner with Pastor Shirley Caesar and her label Shu-Bel Records and consider it a privilege to be chosen as her label home," said Phillip White, former GM of Light Records now President of Artemis Gospel. "To begin a new label with an artist of the caliber of Pastor Caesar is a dream situation that few label executives ever get to experience." Just as people listened to her past recordings and were encouraged, "I Know The Truth" continues her philosophy and combines music with ministry to convey her messages. The unexpected surprise is Stellar and Dove award-winning recording artist Ton x who joined Caesar in the studio collaborating on I Know The Truth where Caesar actually raps. "Working with Pastor Caesar was nothing short of amazing", said Ton x. Not only is she young and hip, she wanted to do the hard stuff in hip-hop that I didn't expect to happen. I have wanted to put her in my world for about five years now and I spoke it prophetically a long time ago. I still can't believe that it's really manifesting!" Other stand-out songs include "Every Day is Like Mother's Day," in memory of Caesar's mother, and "Jail Bird," a country song about a man on death row who commits himself to God. Overall, Caesar takes her listeners on a joyous ride showing versatility while her usual energy uplifts and encourages. "The project itself is vintage Shirley Caesar and offers a few things a little different from the norm for her," said producer Sanchez Harley. "The industry should get ready, cause Pastor Caesar is still here." Earning numerous accolades including 11Grammys, 13 Stellar Awards, 18 Dove Awards, an induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and recently honored at Oprah Winfrey's Legend's Ball for her contributions to the arts and entertainment, Caesar has surpassed her wildest dreams. She has successfully recorded forty albums and performed duets with extraordinary vocalists as Patti Labelle, Gladys Knight, Faith Evans and Destiny's Child Michelle Williams enabling her to effectively bridge the gap between R&B and Gospel music. Indeed a living legend, Caesar has made several notable appearances including a series of commercials for MCI Communications, the televised Live from Disney World Night of Joy, the Gospel According to VH-1, a White House performance for George Bush, and a speech on the Evolution of Gospel Music to the US Treasury Department. She completed her third sold-out run on Broadway, starring in "Born To Sing," the third installment of the "Mama I Want to Sing" trilogy. She played New York's Madison Square Garden in the hit gospel musical, "This Is My Song," with Cissy Houston and Tramaine Hawkins. She has also been involved with four major motion picture soundtracks, including Whitney Houston's The Preacher's Wife, the John Singleton film Rosewood, and acting roles with Warner Brothers Films' Why Do Fools Fall In Love, and Paramount Pictures The Fighting Temptations with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Beyonce' Knowles. While the music industry keeps her busy, she always finds her way back to assume her pastoral duties, at Mt. Calvary Word of Faith in North Carolina, where her messages of encouragement and peace are heard throughout the community. Shirley Caesar is the essence of inspiration and vitality--a global sensation. discography I Know the Truth (2005) Shirley Caesar and Friends (2003) Greatest Gospel Hits (2003) From the Heart (2001) Hymns (2001) You Can Make It (2000) Faded Rose (2000) I'll Go (2000) Christmas with Shirley Caesar (1998) Shirley Caesar and the Caravans (1997) A Miracle in Harlem [Live] (1997) Lord Will Make a Way (1997) Just a Word [Live] (1996) Don't Drive Your Mama Away (1995) Live He Will Come (1995) For Shirley Caesar's complete discography, visit her Web Site.
March 16, 2009
Hello Fans of Ms. Shirley Caesar,
Pastor Shirley Caesar will be in "CONCERT" along with Mary Mary
When: MOTHER'S DAY 2009
Title: A Mother's Day to Remember
Date:Sunday, May 10, 2009
Where: Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, FL
Ticket Price: $67.00, $52.00 and $37.00
Hope "YOU" can make it!
February 17, 2008
|I Know The Truth Shirley Caesar|
Can Shirley Caesar rap? Yes she can flow with the best of them! Joined by gospel hip-hop artist Tonex, Caesar's full bodied voice packs a punch on "I Know the Truth" and when she begins to rap she spits out lyrics like nobody's business! If you have listen to any preacher worth his or her merit you will know that a flowing sermon is required from the pulpit. With that being said, why wouldn't Pastor Shirley Caesar not be able to rap? The mix of rap and traditional not only works on this tune but it brings a freshness to it that can't be denied.
On the ballad "Touch, Heal and Deliver" Caesar gives us that heart-felt tune that we expect to hear from the lady who embodies compassion. The big church sound is also on this project with the tune "Everything Is Going to Be Alright" which Caesar sings about being Heaven bound. Other notable songs are "Everyday is Like Mother's Day" in memory of her mother and sister and "Jesus Can Fix It" which paints so eloquently the picture that Jesus can solve all of our problems if we just trust Him. Queen Shirley Caesar has done it again, mix the traditional with the non-traditional and offered us a project that is a great mixture. Check out Shirley Caesar at http://www.shirleycaesar.com/
February 17, 2008
After 40 Years Still Sweeping Through the City (Shu-Bel/Light)
Released November 2007
By Andree Farias
If you were beginning to worry that no significant traditional gospel albums made a mark in 2007, Shirley Caesar's After 40 Years Still Sweeping Through the City is sure to lay those fears to rest. The title is fairly self-explanatory. This is the gospel matriarch's 40th anniversary as a solo recording artist, a career she began in 1966 after a leap of faith. A call to ministry led Caesar to leave The Caravans, arguably the most popular all-female gospel group of the 1950s, but from there she soared to new heights.
Celebrity-minded gospel luminaries would use this occasion to roll out the red carpet and make this more about the guests and the creators than about the Creator, but not Caesar. This album was recorded live at Mount Calvary Word of Faith Churchthe congregation she co-pastors with her husbandas the culmination of a week of seminars and training for church leaders. It's understandable then why Sweeping sounds like a Sunday morning extravaganza, with Caesar as the officiating minister.
From top to bottom, Caesar is in command of her own celebration, roaring through a dozen tracks and 77 minutes of unbridled gospel fire. As soon as the blues-drenched "Sweeping Through the City" kicks things off, there's no stopping this disc, with every selection a masterwork in its own right, whether it's a floor-stomping hand-clapper, a choral sing-off, a storyteller, or all of the above.
In good Caesar tradition, the classic "Hold My Mule" retains its exhortative qualities. It's a sermon-ette of histrionic proportions, where the singer spews fire and brimstone for six-plus minutes before actually doing any singing. This may be a turnoff for more delicate, unschooled listeners, but it's pure gospel heaven for traditionalist devotees of the genrea vocal showstopper and rock-solid performance that demonstrates Caesar's pipes haven't aged a bit after four decades in music and ministry.
A few Caesar essentials in the vein of "Hold My Mule" are missing from this commemorative effort, particularly the tour de force "Don't Drive Your Mama Away" and the crossover hit "No Charge," but that's nitpicking at best. There are enough Caesar classics here and old-time fervor to make Still Sweeping Through the City the best traditional gospel album of the year.