A Moment of Reflection With Pastor Shirley Caesar
Pastor Shirley Caesar is without a doubt a Gospel music legend and icon. With 40 records to date, 11 Grammy awards, 18 Dove Awards, 14 Stellar Awards and a 2016 star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the reigning Queen of Gospel took time to talk with GOSPELflava about the blessings of God on her life and ministry, her new album and took some time to dispense some good advice.
GOSPELflava: Pastor Caesar, what a privilege to talk with you. What can be said about your many years of ministry? Did you ever imagine that life would bring you to this point?
Pastor Caesar: I always knew that the calling of God was on my life from a child. I used to lay up in bed at night and visualize myself singing and preaching and having a healing service with my mother at the front of the prayer line. But if anybody would have ever told me that I would be next in line behind Mahalia Jackson to receive a Grammy for Gospel music and sing for Presidents and heads of state, and travel overseas and do films and tv. I would have never believed it , never never never. I will add to this, that this is the Lord’s doing, and its just marvelous in our eyes. I owe Him my life.
GOSPELflava: Fill This House is your brand new project. How would you describe it?
Pastor Caesar: Well, It is my prayer that it will reach both the young and the old, I have songs on there for everybody. We were blessed with some amazing writers. Brother Darnell Davis gave us He Won’t Fail You. Brother Mike (Mathis) , I don’t care what I preach about at church, he can write a song about it. The song You Shall Survive this came from one of my messages and we get our shout on with Bishop Hezekiah Walker for a little bit. Then there is a song, the single that is out now that says Its Alright Its ok, the message there is this, don’t burst a vessel over stuff you cannot fix yourself. A problem is only a problem when you don’t know the answer, if you know the answer to it, then its not a problem, and we know the answer to every situation is JESUS. Be Happy (I Command You to Live) is dedicated in memory of my good friend Apostle Richard D. Henton, founder of the Monument of Faith Church in Chicago, a great servant of the Lord who went home to be with the Lord not long ago.
There is also Mother Emanuel, this song is going to bring some healing. As June is the anniversary of the shooting tragedy in Charleston, there will be a gathering in DC of people who will remember the occasion. I am praying that I can be there and that my record company will make sure we are there. By far, this is one of the best albums that I have done in a while, and I am pleased with the outcome.
GOSPELflava: Can you share with us your memories of meeting Mahalia Jackson.
Pastor Caesar: I met Mahalia Jackson in Chicago while I was a part of the Caravans, and when Albertina said Shirley, this is Mahalia Jackson, I ran and jumped up and hugged her neck because all of my life I wanted to be a little Mahalia Jackson. To meet her face to face was such a honor, I will never forget that. To walk in her shadow and continue the tradition of carrying the message of the Gospel around the world is an honor I try to live up to EVERY DAY of my life.
GOSPELflava: Any words to those that are coming behind you?
Pastor Caesar: Hold fast the profession of your faith, don’t just be a Gospel singer, live a life worthy of being a Gospel singer. Then you have to have a boldness. When I was young, I remember asking the Lord, Lord if you just crack the door, you don’t have to open it, I would kick the door open for your glory. I wrote my own request, went to the program, passed it to the people in charge and the lady got up and said we have a request for Shirley Caesar to sing a solo. I felt that was God’s way of cracking the door. I ran to the front, no musician, no rehearsal and just sang my song. It was The Lord will Make a Way Somehow. And look what God has done, from then until now? Oh yes, I have been blessed. Its so important that we follow Bible principles. Honor your parents. I believe God blessed me to live this long and kept his hand on my preaching and music ministry because I cared for my invalid mother. God did it, and I look to him to do it more and more.