By Bob Marovich
Although premature reports of his death swept social media yesterday, it has been confirmed that contemporary gospel singer Daryl Coley passed away after a longstanding illness.
Born October 30, 1955, in Berkeley, California, Coley was a member of Helen J. H. Stephens’ Voices of Christ choir, and also sang with, and played keyboards for, the Hawkins Family. He wrote Tramaine Hawkins’ hit, “I Am Determined.” Rev. Dr. Yolanda Freeman notes that Coley’s star, as well as the careers of Helen Stephens and others from the Northern and Southern California gospel communities, truly began to rise after they became active with the Gospel Music Workshop of America, under the leadership of Rev. James Cleveland.
By the 1980s, Coley had set off on a gospel solo career, with his 1986 Just Daryl (Plumeline Records) earning him a Grammy nomination for Best Male Gospel Soul Vocalist. Subsequent LPs for Light, Sparrow, and Verity Records placed well but did not remain long on the charts. Nevertheless, Coley has been embraced by the gospel community for his stellar vocals and luminous expression in live performance. (sources: Rev. Dr. Yolanda Freeman; Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia – Bil Carpenter).