The City of Houston has lost a giant in the world of gospel music, after news that gospel legend Shawn Lamont Mclemore died on October 9th after experiencing health challenges. He was 54.
Mclemore’s wife, Rhonda, posted a photo of him and shared the news of his passing on Instagram, stating: “It is with deep and great sorrow The Mclemore Family announces the transition of Shawn Mclemore. Official details to follow.”
While the family has not released any statement surrounding Mclemore’s cause of death, it was widely known that he had been experiencing illness for some time.
Back in April of this year, a benefit concert was held for Mclemore at the Community of Faith Church in Houston. It was also reported that fellow gospel artist James Fortune informed Mclemore that he was donating $7,500 to him as he dealt with his ongoing health challenges.
Over eleven years ago, Mclemore suffered a major heart attack, with doctors only giving him a one percent chance of recovery. After coming out of unconsciousness with all his brain function intact, Mclemore recovered and returned to what he loved doing—singing gospel music.
He went on to work on his fourth and final album—The One Percent Miracle—which was released in 2011 by Black Smoke/World-Wide Music. The primary song on the album called “One Percent Miracle” was written to describe his health experience and challenge.
Born on May 3, 1967, Mclemore grew up in Los Angeles, California, and was heavily involved in the church. He always felt a calling on his life to spread the word of God and was active in music, having been exposed to it while growing up in the church.
Mclemore graduated from West LA University with a Bachelor of Arts in musical education and went on to obtain his Doctorate degree from Houston Bible College.
Singing came natural to Mclemore, as he recognized at an early age, so he chose to use music as a means to spread the word of God. He launched his music career by releasing a single entitled Wait on Him on Verity Records on July 16, 1997, which was featured on his debut album titled the same—Wait on Him. Mclemore also charted on Billboard magazine’s Gospel Albums chart with the song, along with the gospel group he led named New Image. As a result of his success, Mclemore went on to become a nationally recognized gospel recording artist.
Verity Music took to Twitter and shared the following message after learning of Mclemore’s passing:
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Shawn McLemore . A staple in this industry for decades, Shawn will truly be missed. We join in prayer for the family and friends.”
McLemore had a stellar music and entertainment career, having performed with many top gospel artists and having several successful gospel hits as part of his repertoire. He wrote many songs for himself and other artists, as well as engineered songs, conducted choirs, sang background vocals, and appeared as a featured artist on other people’s projects. He sang background for Donnie McClurkin, arranged vocals for new artists, and played piano and served as minister of music for many churches.
McLemore was featured on the hit gospel song, “I Believe” by James Fortune and FIYA, featuring gospel heavyweight Zacardi Cortez. He was also featured on the song “Jesus He’s My King” by gospel powerhouse and legendary singer John P. Kee and the VIP Mass Choir.
Days prior to his passing, John P. Kee flew to Houston to visit McLemore and posted a photo of them together and sharing the details of their last encounter together, stated about the photo:
“On this particular day I was getting ready to leave him! After praying he said, wipe your eyes and brang yo uhnunumumhnngnffgb and take this picture! ??? He was low key a real comedian.”
Gospel superstar and “Mary Mary” singer, Erica Campbell, posted on Instagram about her relationship with Shawn McLemore , writing:
“Ive been tryna figure out what to say about this loss, what post reflects the impact my friend Shawn Mac made?? he was the first to really affirm my gift outside of my church and family. My church choir was recording a song he arranged, I know who hold tomorrow and I was leading the song! I was terrified I was 19yrs old, he told me I could do it… and I believed him! He remained that way in my life, encouraging me all the time. Rest Well Shawn Mac your impact was great and you certainly will be missed. I’m praying for the family. I love you @shawnmclemore67”
Not only was McLemore a talented singer. In addition to his musical career, he was an accomplished stage and film actor, staring in productions that toured across the country. McLemore appeared in several large stage productions, such as Tyler Perry’s If Loving You Is Wrong; Hell Has No Fury Like A Woman Scorned; Come Out Of The Rain; I Need A Man; Momma Don’t; Don’t Get God Started; Sneaky; Momma I’m Sorry; Listen to Your Woman; Friends and Lovers; Casino; Confessions; and others. He also starred in a theater piece called Baby Hold On To Me, which was about the life and music of Gerald Levert. As far as movies, McLemore appeared in the popular gang film Colors, which starred legendary actors Sean Pen and Robert Duval.
McLemore leaves to mourn, his wife, Rhonda, and his daughter, ShaRon.
There is no doubt that the music that Shawn McLemore left us here with on Earth will undoubtedly continue to inspire and encourage all who continue to listen to it for years to come.
There will be a Celebratory Tribute held on Friday, October 15, 2021, at 7 pm at Greater Grace Church, located at 10800 Scott St. The Celebration of Life will also be held at Greater Grace Church on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at 11 am.