American Gospel Music news: Shirley Caesar

Shirley Ann Caesar-Williams, known professionally as Shirley Caesar(born October 13, 1938, Durham, North Carolina), is an American Gospel music singer, songwriter and recording artist whose career has spanned over six decades. A multi-award winning artist, with eleven Grammy Awards and seven Dove Awards to her credit, she is known as the "First Lady of Gospel Music". Often called the first lady of gospel music, award-winning Shirley Caesar has inspired many people for forty years. She and her singing group perform all over the country to packed audiences. Not only have many of her recordings been reissued, but they have been nominated for seventeen Grammy Awards, more than any gospel artist in history. Shirley began to sing in church at an early age, with her family, which was headed by gospel singer Big Jim Caesar. In 1950, tragedy struck the family when her father died of a fatal seizure. For years Caesar thought her father had died because he whipped her that day for breaking some street lights. She was twelve years old. That same year, Caesar began to take her singing seriously, especially since her mother, a semi-invalid, was left with 13 children to raise. After hearing the voice of God during a college exam, Shirley Caesar (born 1938) believed it was her duty to spread the Gospel. Praising God through music, however, was not enough. Caesar went on to preach, eventually becoming the co-pastor of the Mt. Calvary Holy Church with her husband, Bishop Harold Ivory Williams.