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Celebrating Shirley Caesar:The First Lady of Gospel Music – Our Time Press

todayApril 1, 2022

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In 1997, We had the distinction of interviewing gospel legend Rev. Shirley Caesar for the Our Time Press particular Ladies’s Historical past Month problem. Referred to as the “First Woman of Gospel Music” and “The Queen of Gospel Music,” Rev. Caesar was in New York performing in Vy Higginsen’s “Born to Sing! Mama 3,” a part of the “Mama, I Wish to Sing” gospel theatre collection. In “Mama 3,” carried out on the Paramount Theater at Madison Sq. Backyard, Rev. Caesar co-starred with CeCe Winans as Doris and she or he was Mama.
Caesar’s efficiency was praised as “an earthy old-time gospel supply” by The New York Instances. Within the OTP interview, she recalled her dynamic mom, her “best inspiration,” revealed the place her drive comes from; and shared a message about peace with Our Time Press readers.
Throughout her stellar profession, Rev. Caesar has picked up 12 Grammy Awards, 18 Dove Awards, 14 Stellar Awards, a Star on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame, and honors together with a NEA folklore grant.
Right this moment at age 83, she stays Senior Pastor of the Mount Calvary Phrase of Religion Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and continues to tour. Lately, Rev. Caesar has tapped into a brand new era by going viral with the U Title It problem of her tune lyrics ‘beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes;’ the sale of her dwelling with a Star Wars screening room; and this previous February’s NPR Tiny Desk Live performance. Listed here are highlights of the Our Time Press 1997 inspirational interview with Rev. Shirley Caesar.

Our Time Press: You arouse a lot emotion. The place does that come from? The place do you discover the power to do all of this?
Shirley Caesar: From inside. I’ve been singing since eight years previous. I dedicated my life to the Lord at 12. I didn’t even go to my junior/senior promenade. Whereas the opposite children had been (there), I used to be at church. I come from a singing background, a preaching and missionary background and since I’m completely dedicated to what I’m doing, it comes from the soul, from the within.
I believe it’s that drive, that love for the Lord. That’s it. Plus, nothing comes straightforward to me. I discover myself giving every thing that I do, my complete coronary heart and my complete soul. When the Lord blessed me to return to varsity, I traveled and sang. This was in ‘83, ‘84. I’d journey and sing and I’d fly in on Monday. My automobile was parked on the airport. I’d fly in and get in my automobile on the airport and drive straight to varsity, go straight to highschool. Nothing has come straightforward. Because of this I understand how to understand it. Because of this I don’t have time to turn into bigheaded as a result of I do know that the identical individuals who put you up will even deliver you down.

OTP: This interview is for OUR TIME PRESS’ March (1997) Ladies’s Month problem. I used to be questioning in regards to the position of your mom and different girls – what sort of roles did they play in your life?
SC: My mom was my best inspiration. On her deathbed, I keep in mind mama saying to me, “Persons are relying on you. God is relying on you. And I’m relying on you. Don’t allow us to down.” I do know that always, I’ve received to be on my P’s and Q’s. I can’t enable the enemy to drag me right down to his or her stage not as a result of I made my mother that promise, however as a result of I made God a promise: “Lord you’ll be able to rely upon me.”

OTP: How did you start your gospel profession?
SC: For me, years in the past once I first began out singing as Child Shirley – I come from a protracted line of poor people, that’s the very first thing – and we didn’t have quite a bit. My mom was a semi-invalid. My father was in heaven. (There was) a number of us.
In my singing, I knew that one God was going to let me use my singing skills out of all my different sisters and brothers – and all of them might sing. The Lord blessed me to purchase my mom a home. I discover myself educating and telling different younger those that “You don’t understand how blessed you’re to have a residing mom. And that is why I discover it straightforward -even although I’ve by no means birthed any youngsters, biologically so – to play this position in “Born to Sing! Mama 3”. My mom didn’t take no foolishness!

OTP: What do you say to of us who’re coming to the understanding later that they must make a contribution to humanity?
SC: I’d say it’s by no means too late. It’s by no means too late. I need to say to your entire readers that no matter you are able to do to assist to result in peace and concord and to make this world a greater place to dwell in, to assist our sons and our daughters and to indicate them the suitable approach to go, do it!

For extra of Shirley Caesar:
1996 Grammy Awards with Whitney and CeCe

2022 NPR Tiny Desk Live performance



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