Affectionately known as "the World's Greatest Storyteller," Dorothy Norwood used her soulful vocals and uplifting delivery to rise to the upper echelon of contemporary gospel music. Five of her albums achieved gold status. Her studio work also garnered Grammy, Dove, and Stellar award nominations.
Norwood was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1935 and was touring and performing with a family group at the age of eight. After she moved to Chicago in 1956, she sang with Mahalia Jackson and Reverend James Cleveland and was a member of the Caravans. During the mid-'60s, she launched a solo career with the Savoy label and was a hit from the start. With her 1964 debut solo album, Johnny & Jesus, she earned her first gold record certification from the RIAA. Her second album, A Denied Mother, released in 1966, did equally as well. An opportunity to bring her music beyond the church came in 1972, when she opened for the Rolling Stones during a 30-state tour of the U.S.
One of the most prolific gospel artists, Norwood regularly released new material through the '70s and '80s and was given another boost in the early '90s, when she signed with Malaco. Her first recording for the label, Live, made with the Northern California G.M.W.A. Mass Choir, peaked at number three on Billboard's gospel chart. By the start of the 2010s, Norwood had made more albums for Malaco than she had for Savoy. An Incredible Journey, released in 2014 and supported by appearances from VaShawn Mitchell, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Melvin Williams, among others, missed the top of the gospel chart by one spot. ~ Craig Harris