Emmit Powell, one of America’s leading gospel radio and television broadcasters, formed the Gospel Elites in 1977. Primarily he wanted to provide regular back-up for special guests on his television shows, and to create opportunities for new gospel talent, but the group’s unexpected success soon put them in the public eye. Today, they are considered to present the finest in blues-based inspirational gospel music.

The Gospel Elites have recorded extensively, their first nationally released album was “Jesus Above All Others” in 1980 on Savoy Records. Since then, they have released a continuos succession of well received albums: “Stay With The Lord” (1982 – Birthright Records) – this album got the group nominated for a 1982 Grammy Award as “Gospel Group of the Year”, “Blessings From Heaven” (1985 – Plumbline Records), “Don’t Look Back” (1991 –  Gospel Train Records) – this album was nominated for a 1991 Grammy Award as “Gospel Album of the Year”, “In Jesus, Love Is All I Need” (1992 – Quicksilver Records), “The Best of Emmit Powell & The Gospel Elites, Volume I” (1993 – Elite Royal Records),  ” Taking Gospel Music Higher” (1994 – Elite Royal Records) – this album was nominated for a 1994 Grammy Award as “Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album of the Year”, “Live In Paris” (1996 – Elite Royal Records) and “God Is Great” (1997 – Elite Royal Records). The Gospel Elites are currently working on a new album scheduled for release in November 1999.

In all of the groups’ recordings Emmit Powell has featured not only himself but also many other group members such as – Courtney Newsome, Mary Jackson, Barbara Cain, Barbara Davis, Becky Collins, Freddie Srong, Steven Cooley, Frieda Mitchel, Eric Smith, Pinkie Payne and Anise Ritchie.

Emmit Powell’s philosophy is to take gospel music out of the church and into the community for all people to hear. “My purpose has always been to bring this beautifully performed music out from the churches and into the lives of all types of people, not just to uplift spiritually, but also to entertain and inspire”. And that is exactly what The Gospel Elites do, traveling throughout the United States and since 1989 internationally, including extensive European touring, gathering crowds wherever they perform and increasing their already tremendous following.

To mention a few of the many highlights over the years; The Gospel Elites have shared the stage with Joan Baez at her 1987 Christmas Concert in San Francisco. Among their many memorable performances they have performed at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, The Gewandehaus in Leipzig, The Hercules Saal in Munich, The Pori Jazz Festival in Finland, The Hartwal arena in Helsinki, The Banlieue Blues Festival in Paris, The Carlo Felice Theater in Genoa, The Mystic Festival in Istanbul, The San Francisco Blues Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in the USA. The performance in New Orleans was reviewed by Billboard Magazine and included the following – “The Emmit Powell Gospel Elites tore the roof off the tent with their half hour set … perpetuated by hand-claps, tambourines and call and answer-gymnastics, the performance was spine-chilling in its intensity”.

The Gospel Elites have also shared billing with such notable artists as: Al Green, B.B. King, Shirley Caesar, Albertina Walker, Gloria Griffin, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, The Dixie Hummingbirds, The Caravans, Inez Andrews, Jesse Dixon, Rev. James Cleveland and many others. Among their accomplishments and honors, the group has appeared in the 1988 movie “True Believers” with James Wood and the Gene Hackman film “Class Action”; in 1990, they were named “Gospel Group Of The Year” By the Bay Area Blues Society” and were nominated 1991’s “Gospel Group Of The Year” by the Gospel Music Association of America. In 1994 The Gospel Elites were featured in a BBC television special that was broadcast extensively in Europe and the United States. The group has also performed extensively for television in Finland, France, Germany,  Italy and Switzerland.. In 1996 the groups performance at the Dresden Cathedral was broadcast nationwide in Germany.

Whether performing in Cathedrals, churches, Opera Houses, Theaters, on Televion or at Open Air Festivals The Emmit Powell Gospel Elites inspire and bring pleasure to audiences all over the world.

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