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Shirley Caesar

First Lady of Gospel Music
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Shirley Ann Caesar-Williams, known professionally as Shirley Caesar (born October 13, 1938 in Durham, North Carolina), is an American Gospel music singer, songwriter and recording artist whose career has spanned seven decades. A multi-award-winning artist, with 12 Grammy Awards along with Dove Awards and Stellar Awards to her credit, she is known as the "First Lady of Gospel Music" and "The Queen of Gospel Music." She began recording at the age of 12 in 1951 on the Federal recording label

Shirley Caesar has released over forty albums. 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. She is also the creator of the #unameit challenge, which occurred during one of her song sermonettes. She opened her eponymous store and plans on using the profits to help others during the holiday season.

Caesar's credits also include a series of commercials for MCI Communications and numerous awards for her recordings. She has won 12 Grammy Awards (plus honored with The Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award), 14 Stellar Awards, 18 Doves, 1 RIAA gold certification, an Essence Award, McDonald's Golden Circle Lifetime Achievement Award, NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, SESAC Lifetime Achievement Award, Rhapsody & Rhythm Award from the National Museum of African American Music, as well as induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. According to Soundscan, she has sold 2.2 million albums since 1991. She has made several notable appearances, including the televised Live from Disney World Night of Joy, the Gospel According to VH1, a White House performance for George Bush, and a speech on the Evolution of Gospel Music to the US Treasury Department. In 2017, Caesar was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy.

Last Updated: March 24, 2020

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