Richard Smallwood was born on November 30th in 1948 in Atlanta Georgia.
Education and career
Richard Smallwood graduated cum laude from Howard University with degrees in both vocal performance and piano, in addition to graduate work in the field of ethnomusicology. Smallwood was a member of The Celestials, the first gospel group on Howard University’s campus. That group was the first gospel act to appear at Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival. Smallwood was also a founding member of Howard’s first gospel choir.
Smallwood’s recording career began in 1982 with the album The Richard Smallwood Singers. The album spent 87 weeks on Billboard’s Gospel chart. Its follow-up, Psalms was nominated for a Grammy. Two years later the album Textures was also nominated. Textures spawned the now-classic “Center Of My Joy” written by Richard Smallwood along with Bill and Gloria Gaither. Smallwood won his first Grammy, along with a Dove Award for his production on the Quincy Jones’ gospel project Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration.
Smallwood’s music has been recorded by artists such as Destiny’s Child, Yolanda Adams, Karen Clark-Sheard, and many more. He accompanied opera legend Leontyne Price at a White House Christmas celebration during the Reagan administration. Smallwood, with his current group Vision, has recorded several successful projects for Verity records. He finished his master’s degree in Divinity from Howard University in 2004 and was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2006.
Smallwood’s next project was recorded live at the Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center in New York. The concert features guests Kim Burrell on “Journey”, Kelly Price on “Morning’s Breaking,” Chaka Khan on “Precious Is Your Name,” as well as The Hawkins Family, Tramaine Hawkins, and the original roster of singers who comprised The Richard Smallwood Singers and Vision. Aretha Franklin and The Clark Sisters would contribute to additional studio tracks to appear on the album.
Among Smallwood’s most popular songs are Total Praise, composed in 1996 while he was experiencing sorrow in his life, and I Love the Lord, popularized by singer Whitney Houston in the film, The Preacher’s Wife.
with Union Temple Baptist Church Young Adult Choir
- Look Up And Live(1974)
- Give Us Peace(1976)
with Richard Smallwood Singers
- Richard Smallwood Singers(Onyx/Benson Records, 1982)
- Psalms(Onyx/Benson Records, 1984)
- Textures(Word, 1987)
- Vision(Word, 1988)
- Portrait(Word, 1990)
- Testimony(Sparrow, 1992)
- Look up and live (Union Temple Young Adult Choir)
- Live at Howard University(Sparrow, 1993)
- Adoration: Live in Atlanta(Verity, 1996)
- Rejoice (Christmas Project)(Verity, 1997)
- Healing: Live in Detroit(Verity, 1999)
- Persuaded: Live in D.C.(Verity, 2001)
- Journey: Live in New York(Verity, 2006)
- Promises(Verity, 2011)
- Anthology Live (Verity,2015)
- Gospel Greats(Benson, 1994)
- Memorable Moments(Sparrow, 1999)
- Praise & Worship Songs of Richard Smallwood With Vision(Verity, 2003)
- Quintessential Collection(EMI Gospel, 2007)
- “Center of My Joy” (Rhino/Shanachie, 2007)
Awards & recognitions
- Inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame on November 14, 2006, at the Richland Country Club in Nashville, TN.
- Received Howard University Distinguished Achievement Award.
Grammy, Stellar & NAACP Image Award Nominations
- 1984: Grammy Nomination, Best Soul Gospel Performance, Duo or Group – Richard Smallwood Singers: “Psalms”
- 1988: Grammy Nomination, Best Soul Gospel Performance, Male – Richard Smallwood: “You Did It All”
- 1990: Grammy Nomination, Best Soul Gospel Performance, Album-Richard Smallwood Singers: “Portrait’
- 1991: Grammy Nomination, Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Performance, Album-Richard Smallwood Singers: “Testimony”
- 1993: Grammy Nomination, Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Performance, Album-Richard Smallwood Singers: “Live”
- 2001: Grammy Nomination, Best Traditional Soul Gospel Performance, Album-Richard Smallwood with Vision: “Persuaded: Live in DC”
- 2001: NAACP Image Award Nomination for Best Gospel Artist, Traditional –Persuaded: Live in DC
- 2003: Stellar Award Nomination for Artist Of The Year –Persuaded: Live in DC; Verity
- 2003: Stellar Award Nomination for Song Of The Year – “My Everything (Praise Waiteth)”; Verity
- 2003: Stellar Award Nomination for Choir Of The Year –Persuade: Live in DC
- 2003: Stellar Award Nomination for Producer Of The Year –Persuaded: Live in DC
- 2003: Stellar Award Nomination for Male Vocalist Of The Year –Persuaded: Live in DC
- 2003: Stellar Award Nomination for CD Of The Year –Persuaded: Live in DC
- 2003: Stellar Award Nomination for Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year –Persuaded: Live in DC
- 2003: Stellar Award Nomination for Music Video of the Year –Persuaded: Live in DC
Stellar Award Wins
- 1992: Stellar Award for Best Group/Duo – Contemporary– Testimony
- 2000: Stellar Award for Choir of the Year –Healing – Live in Detroit 
- 2000: Stellar Award for Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year –Healing – Live in Detroit 
- 2000: Stellar Award for Traditional Choir of the Year –Healing – Live in Detroit 
- 2002: Stellar Award for Traditional CD of the Year –Persuaded – Live in DC
- 2002: Stellar Award for Traditional Choir of the Year –Persuaded – Live in DC