Edwin Hawkins is a musical multi-talent and since 30 years he
has a reputation as ideal and reformer of gospel and R&B.
But only very few people know, that Edwin Hawkins is now
working since nearly 50 years on the big stages of the world.
He started his musical career as a five year old Pianist for
the Hawkins Family. When he was seven, he took over full-time
playing duties for many years for the Hawkins Family group in
the end of the 40's. 1957 he recorded the first album with the
Hawkins. 1968 he created with Oh happy day
the greatest Gospelhit of all times and in-between the lines of Gospel,
R&B and Soul he developed a new musical style, that became
well-known in the Gospel-Scene as Contemporary Gospel Music
and which is influencing Popmusic even today.
It was unforeseeable, that it came so far. 1967 Edwin Hawkins
founded together with Betty Watson the 'Northern California
State Youth Choir' and 1968 this group recorded its first
album with the title Let us go into the House of the Lord.
It seemed to be a very normal production, recorded live as
two-track-recording with 500 copies, like many others at that
time. But something was different: this mixture of traditional
Gospelmusic sounded so much like R&B - a creation, that
was unknown in Gospelmusic and in R&B as well.
On this album, there was one outstanding song, entitled
Oh happy day,
that attracted attention from broadcasters and
retailers alike. It gained further public appeal, when an
underground FM station in San Francisco began playing it.
The reaction in market and media was explosive! A worldwide
promotion-campaign was started, which was very unusual in
Gospelmusic at that time. It was like a revolution for
Gospelmusic. The title climbed up the Gospel-charts, the
R&B-charts and the Pop-charts in many countries world-wide.
More than seven million records were sold and rewarded Edwin
Hawkins with the first GRAMMY award of his career and with an
evergreen, which is up to date even today.
What happened now seems to be like a fairy tale - or an
excellent career in the music-business. Performances on the
biggest festivals, world-tours again and again, countless
TV- and radio-appearances, honors like ten GRAMMY-nominations
and four GRAMMY-awards, for instance for the production with
the world-famous Oakland Symphony Orchestra and the legendary
LP Every man wants to be free.
Something strange happened: even though he did not really play
their music, Edwin Hawkins became one symbol for parts of the
Since the early 80s, Edwin Hawkins has shortened his work as
live performing artist to have more time for his work as
songwriter, producer and promoter of young talents. Only in
the USA, Japan and Scandinavia there were appreciable tours
within the last 15 years. And exactly since 15 years he is
organizing his annual Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts
Seminar, which attracts every summer thousands of young
talented artists, coming to Florida, Washington, D.C., California
to be taught in seminars
and to be perhaps discovered by talent-scouts in the big
Totally clear, that the concert scene is still attracting a
musician like Edwin Hawkins. For the 1997
European tour, he has invited a
long row of excellent musicians and singers. Together with
them he has also recorded a CD, Love is the Only Way
which contains besides many new titles also a new
radio-version of Oh happy day.