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The Reverend James Cleveland (c. 1931-1991) combined his talents as minister, singer, composer, and philanthropist to become known as the Crown Prince of Gospel Music.

Variously hailed as the King of Gospel Music and the Crown Prince of Gospel, the Reverend James Cleveland combined his talents as preacher, composer, singer, producer, and philanthropist to become one of the most outstanding exponents of the modern gospel sound. Indeed, with a voice that has earned acclaim as one of gospel’s greatest, and a religious fervor that has refused the lure of secular music, Cleveland, more than any artist of his generation, served as a champion of gospel in its purest form. As he explained to Ed Ochs in an interview for Billboard, gospel is not only “a music, but … a representation of a religious thinking. Gospel singing is the counterpart of gospel teaching. … It’s an art form, true enough, but it represents an idea, a thought, a trend.”

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