One of the greatest male vocalists in gospel music, Daryl Coley has passed away. Confirmation of his passing arrived from his family that the singer died late last night, March 15, 2016. He was 60 years old. The gospel community has begun to mourn the man who brought the world such hits as “Jesus Saves,” Beyond the Veil,” “He’s Preparing Me” and “I Can’t Tell It All.”
Blessed with a golden voice, Coley experienced several health challenges over the past year, including suffering with diabetes, going into hospice care recently and eventually he made his transition. Ironically, the singer’s death had been erroneously reported earlier in the day on social media and many remained hopeful when it was found to be incorrect, but were later saddened by the confirmation coming from outlets this morning.
Gospel music industry insider, Pastor Jerome Bell also mourns the loss of the singer. Pastor Bell said of his friend:
“So many memories … I met him around ’81 during my WYCB years. He was a great part of the Hawkins Dynasty in fact I’ll never forget when Tramaine’s solo project came out listeners thought it was Walter Hawkins at the tag end of Holy One but it’s ACTUALLY Daryl! Also a major feature soloist at GMWA! A classic highlight, the duet of him and Vanessa Bell Armstrong! Ah! He just couldn’t be boxed in, he was beyond contemporary even to contemporary yet traditional in the sense of his purity! Authentic! Just amazing! Unforgettable words to me were… “You’re anointed for the palace, don’t settle for the cave!”
Coley’s voice became known an inimitable instrument that seamlessly fused a myriad of musical genres that resulted in a unique, melodious sound. His multi-decade career began as singer with gospel music icon Edwin Hawkins. He would eventually become a songwriter and musical director for Tramaine Hawkins. After landing lead vocal appearances on recordings for James Cleveland’s Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA), Coley launched his solo career with the album, Just Daryl. In 201cent 3, Daryl Coley was honored at the BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon.
In an interview with the DC Gospel Music Examiner in 2011, Coley reflected on his career. When asked what was most memorable about his career, the magnificent tenor said, “I am just so blessed that even today, there are still people being encouraged by a particular song when they have a challenge in their lives.”