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Gospel mainstay James Bignon was born an only child in Savannah, GA, and raised in New York City. He came from a large family of singers, pianists, organists, and preachers. He started singing in church at the age of five and was already writing his own material at 11. He learned to play the piano by watching his parents and soon started taking lessons and theory courses. He had gigs in several groups before a touring stint with singer Dorothy Norwood led to a call from Reverend Milton Biggham in 1983. Biggham invited him to lead the enormous Georgia Mass Choir. His impressive skills as a singer, writer, arranger, and instrumentalist were key to the successful recording career of the choir. In 1995, Bignon led the ten-member choir featured in Michael Flatley's Riverdance, introducing a secular audience to his unique brand of gospel. After his exit from the choir he continued to record R&B-flavored gospel for several more years.