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Gospel Legend Shirley Caesar: 'God's Given Me a New Turn Around'


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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Pastor Shirley Caesar is a legend in gospel music. She's won 11 Grammys, 14 Stellar Awards, and 18 Dove Awards.

The latest addition to her growing honors is a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But after more than 50 years in the recording industry, Caesar says she still has lots of work to do.

Studio 5: The Day I Met Legendary Gospel Singer Shirley Ceasar as a Kid

"It just seems like the Lord has given me a brand new turn around," Caesar told CBN News. "{My} now is going to be even greater than my past. I just thank God for that."

'Fill This House'

Caesar has recorded more than 40 albums, and she has been singing since she was just a kid, growing up in Durham, North Carolina. Her latest project is called "Fill This House."

"We worked feverishly to bring it into fruition," Caesar said, recalling the recording process. "One of my goddaughters gave me the idea of going online and putting it out there, write my song, and songs came in by the hundreds. And 'Fill This House' was one of them."

That project also paired the gospel legend with R&B singer Anthony Hamilton for the single called "It's Alright, It's OK."

This is a milestone recording for Pastor Caesar. It's her first since the death of her husband, Bishop Harold I. Williams, and her first since becoming a member of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"I am excited," she told CBN News. "Me, from the clay hills of North Carolina. Me, little, old Shirley."

"So many times I sit up and I say, 'I can't believe it,'" she continued. "Now my name is right there in front of the Fonda Theater with Lucille Ball, Gregory Peck, BB & CC, and now Shirley Caesar. Oh, unbelievable, unbelievable."

Speaking to Today's Violence

Pastor Caesar's new songs speak to today's concerns, from the deadly violence on city streets to the shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

That's the same church where she received her first honorary doctorate degree 35 years ago.

The crime was difficult for Caesar to understand or explain to her own congregation at Mt. Calvary Word of Faith Church.

"It took me two weeks -- I am being honest -- to forgive that young man because he was a coward," she said. "It took me two Bible studies, as we discussed it and talked about it. Why, how, how could somebody come into God's house?""

The Bible studies and discussions gave birth to a song honoring the victims and the survivors at Charleston's Mother Emmanuel Church. That single can also be found on Caesar's new album.

Pastor Caesar has a full plate, as she prepares for a week-long conference at church beginning Monday, August 1, 2016.

But she is still looking forward to other projects, including an acting role in a film about the youngest man to be executed in America. It's called "83 Hours."

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About The Author

Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio. His most recent honor came as co-anchor of the newscast that earned the station’s morning news program its first Emmy Award. Efrem was born in Jersey City, New Jersey; but his formal television and journalism career was born across the Hudson River in New York City. He began as an NBC Page, and quickly landed opportunities to work behind-the-scenes in local news, network news, entertainment and the network’s Corporate Communications Department. His work earned him the NBC