Thursday, October 30, 2014

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NY1's Dean Meminger profiles some of soul and R&B's greatest performers as part of his ongoing series.

Soul's Survivors: Shirley Caesar Says Faith Has Kept Her Recording 60 Years

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In this week's edition of "Soul's Survivors," NY1's Dean Meminger caught up with a singer with lots of soul—and faith: gospel great Shirley Caesar.

Still praying, preaching and singing great gospel music, Shirley Caesar—known as the first lady of Gospel Music—says her belief in God as well as the motivation of her songs and followers keep her going.

"Sometimes I am in the airport. I just hear my name, Shirley Caesar! It is a blessing and a privilege," Caesar says.

It's truly a blessing after more than 60 years of recordings.

Singing in the church since she was a child in North Carolina, she joined the legendary Gospel Group the Caravans as a teenager and there's been no turning back.

Her style is a combination of singing and ministering to paint a picture of inspiration for listeners.

"Vivid, that is the word i am looking for—that they can actually see what I am singing about. And I like that," Caesar says.

Over the years, she has released dozens of Gospel albums and won countless awards including 11 Grammys. While continuing to perform, she is also the pastor of her own church in North Carolina.

"It's just a good thing to always to give God his time. Clap your hands and praise the lord," says Caesar.

And she continues to lean on her faith when it comes to her singing career. Like legends in other music genres, it's not easy competing with younger artists as well as battling with radio stations and record labels.

"Many times I have been so discouraged , I tell you the truth. When I sit and I listen to all of these others sings and their projects, their songs are being played on the radio and they won't play mine. I'm telling you, discouragement sets in and sometimes I want to go and tell them that. But, I am singing about Jesus, it is about him and so God is going to take care of it," she says.

With a smile, Shirley Caesar says she'll keep the mic in her hand.

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