Shirley Caesar is an American gospel music singer, songwriter and pastor whose career spans more than six decades, beginning in 1951 when she was just 12 years-old.
Deemed the "First Lady of Gospel Music," Caesar performed with popular gospel group the Caravans from 1958 to 1966, before pursuing a solo career.
In 1983, Caesar married Bishop Harold I. Williams and the two co-pastored the Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church in Raleigh, N.C., and its 1,500 members for more than 30 years until Williams’ death in 2014.
In 1984, the accomplished performer earned her bachelor of science degree in business administration from Shaw University, where she later earned an honorary doctorate. Caesar also studied at the Divinity School at Duke University.
During her more than 60 years in the recording industry, Caesar has been awarded 11 Grammy Awards and 18 Dove Awards, and has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. During that time, Caesar released over 40 albums, including 2016's "Fill This House."
Caesar has also seen her fame cross over into the film industry, starring alongside such luminaries as Little Richard, Beyonce Knowles and Cuba Gooding Jr. in the films "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" and "The Fighting Temptations."
In addition to her recording, Caesar continues to deliver weekly sermons at Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church, as well as maintaining Shirley Caesar Outreach Ministries.
It’s a mission to give back that has driven the gifted singer her whole life through. "I cannot sweeten the Atlantic Ocean, but I can take a pitcher out of the ocean and sweeten that," her church’s website quotes her.
The singer’s star is No. 2,583 on the Walk of Fame.