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Shirley Caesar

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Known as the First Lady of Gospel, Pastor Shirley Caesar is a beloved and powerful singer known for her boisterous and encouraging performance style. All of her songs combine music with ministry to convey her messages. The Durham, North Carolina native began professionally in the '60s, when she joined the Caravans and quickly established an immensely successful career as a lead artist, working with the Caesar Singers and various choirs. Caesar claimed the first of many Grammy Awards in 1971, when her version of "Put Your Hand in the Hand" won in the category of Best Soul Gospel Performance. Additional Grammy nods followed for albums such as Rejoice, He's Working It Out for You, and You Can Make It -- releases that spanned three decades. From the early '80s through the mid-'90s, seven of her live and studio recordings received the Dove Award for Black Gospel Album of the Year. Besides serving as minister of Mt. Calvary Word of Faith Church and performing concerts nationwide, Caesar has appeared on Broadway and has been featured in Mama, I Want to Sing! and some of its sequels. ~ Kim Summers

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