Richard SmallwoodView in iTunes
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A tenured, talented, and respected inspirational pianist, singer, songwriter, and producer in the gospel music business since the '70s, Richard Smallwood was born in Atlanta, Georgia on November 30, 1948. After graduating from Howard University (his classmates included Donny Hathaway, Debbie Allen, and Phylicia Rashad), where he earned degrees in vocal performance and piano, Smallwood taught music at the University of Maryland and eventually formed the Richard Smallwood Singers, putting out an eponymous debut album in 1982 that spent an impressive 87 weeks on Billboard's gospel chart. The group enjoyed success into the early '90s, releasing a bevy of hit records before Smallwood put the project to rest and began releasing albums with his choir, Vision, who made their debut in 1996 with the Verity-issued Adoration: Live in Atlanta. In addition to his work with the Richard Smallwood Singers and Vision, Smallwood has had his songs recorded by the likes of Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, Kelly Price, Gerald Levert, and Aretha Franklin. Smallwood's ambitious two-disc Anthology Live was released in 2015. ~ James Christopher Monger