As he got more confident and certain of the words, he began to sing out, which brought him to the notice of the choir as welll as its director, Thomas A. Dorsey, perhaps one of the greatest gospel composers who ever lived. Rather than landing him in trouble, as he feared, the young Cleveland found himself crowned the new "Choir Mascot" and furthermore acquired the honor of having a song written especially for him by Thomas A. Dorsey. Dorsey spent alot of time with Cleveland which influenced and inspired him more and more as he grew older.
Before long, Cleveland began singing as a boy soprano at Pilgrim Baptist Church, under Dorsey's baton, the watchful eye of his grandmother, and the accompaniment of famed pianist Roberta Martin. As a teenager,however, Cleveland's voice underwent more than a normal pre-adulthood change. He strained his vocal cords singing with a local gospel group, leaving the distinctive gravelly voice that was his hallmark in his later years. The change in his voice led him to focus on his skills as a pianist and later as a composer and arranger.
Thus 1950, Cleveland joined the Gospelaires, a trio led by Norsalus Mckissick and Bessie Folk, who were associated with Roberta Martin. Martin hired him as a composer and arranger after the group disbanded. His arrangements of songs such as "(Give Me That) Old Time Religion" and "It's Me O Lord" transformed them, giving a rocking lilt and insistent drive to old standards. The rest is history in his music like: I Don't feel noways tired, Where Is Your Faith in God, Everything Will Be Alright, Shine on Me, and This Too Will Pass Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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