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Shirley Caesar Biography: Parents, Husband, Songs, Albums, and Awards

Shirley Caesar Biography


Gospel Icon Shirley Ann Caesar-Williams was born on October 13, 1938, in Durham, North Carolina, the tenth of thirteen children to minister Jim Caesar and homemaker Hallie Caesar.

Caesar began singing and performing as “Baby Shirley” in North and South Carolina when he was five years old. She enrolled in North Carolina College after graduating from Hillside High School in Durham in 1956. Caesar, however, did not begin singing with the renowned Albertina Walker and the ensemble The Caravans until she was 19 years old.

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Shirley Caesar’s professional singing career began here, and she dropped out of college in 1958 to devote more time to her music career. Caesar left the Caravans in 1961 to preach full-time as an evangelical and founded the Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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In 1971, Caesar’s received a Grammy Award for the song “Put Your Hand in the Hand of the Man from Galilee.” It was her first of 12 Grammy nominations. She has also garnered 13 Stellar Awards, 18 Dove Awards, an Essence Award, and honorary degrees from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina and Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida.

Caesar’s single “No Charge” was released as a country music hit in 1975. It peaked at number 40 on the Billboard R&B chart and number 91 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, sharing the album’s name.

Caesar married Harold I. Williams, the pastor of Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church in Raleigh, in 1983. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Shaw University in 1984 and then went on to Duke Divinity School. Caesar was the first female gospel singer to perform at Harvard University’s Memorial Church in 1989.

Caesar packed Madison Square Garden in 1994 for the Black musical Mama I Want to Sing. In 1998, she appeared in the film Why Do Fools Fall in Love. Caesar was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2000, and then into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2013, she released the single “God Will Make A Way,” which reached number four on the Billboard Top Gospel Songs Chart and reached the top five. She was invited to perform for President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama at the White House in 2015.

Caesar achieved her first No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs list in 2016 with the single remix “Hold My Mule,” which featured her mentor, Albertina Walker, and Milton Brunson. Shirley Ann Caesar Williams has sold over 2 million albums over her career. As of 2021, she is still performing as “The Queen of Gospel Music” and is regarded as an icon in the entertainment business.


Written by How Africa News

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