The blessings keep raining down on the legendary Shirley Caesar. Today, December 19, The Recording Academy announced that Caesar will be among those honored with its 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.
According to a statement released by the Academy, the Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording, while the Trustees Award honors contributions in areas other than performance. The recipients are determined by vote of The Recording Academy’s National Board of Trustees. Technical GRAMMY Award recipients are voted on by The Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing® Advisory Council and Chapter Committees, and are ratified by The Academy’s Trustees.
This honor comes on the heels of “Hold My Mule”earning Shirley Caesar her first No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart (dated Dec. 10). “Hold My Mule,” birthed the “greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes” viral social media frenzy and made Caesar a modern-day cultural icon. Shirley Caesar also received two Grammy nominations this month. The Gospel legend received a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance/Song for “It’s Alright, It’s Ok,” featuring Anthony Hamilton and Best Gospel Album for Fill This House.
After going viral, Caesar created www.unameitshirley.com, where individuals could purchase shirts, mugs and other memorabilia with an aim to help the needy and those in Haiti. This weekend, Caesar and her church were able to feed and give out thousands of Christmas gifts and meals to more than a thousand families and children.
Shirley Caesar’s emotive vocal talents were discovered in a church choir when she was 10 years old. She emjoyed an eight-year tenure with the Chicago-based gospel group the Caravans, whom she joined after appealing to Albertina Walker to sing a solo with the group. Electing to pursue a solo career in 1966 alongside her own choir, the Caesar Singers, she subsequently carved out a profile that earned her the title of First Lady of Gospel Music. Shirley Caesar’s roll call of achievements includes 11 GRAMMY Awards®, 14 Stellar awards, 15 Dove awards, a NAACP Image Award, a Soul Train Music Award, and two current 59th GRAMMY nominations.