Cynthia Clawson

Last updated
Cynthia Clawson
Birth nameCynthia Dee Clawson
Born (1948-10-11) October 11, 1948 (age 70)
Origin Houston, Texas, USA
Genres CCM, worship, gospel
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, composer
Years active1970s–present
Associated acts Bill and Gloria Gaither, Bruce Greer

Cynthia Clawson (born October 11, 1948 in Houston, Texas) is a Grammy Award-winning American gospel singer. She has been called "The most awesome voice in gospel music" by Billboard Magazine, and has received five Dove Awards, 15 Dove Award nominations, and a Grammy for her work. [1]

Grammy Award accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States

A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals with Christian lyrics. Gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century, with roots in the black oral tradition. Hymns and sacred songs were often repeated in a call and response fashion. Most of the churches relied on hand clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. Most of the singing was done a cappella. The first published use of the term "gospel song" probably appeared in 1874. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root, Philip Bliss, Charles H. Gabriel, William Howard Doane, and Fanny Crosby. Gospel music publishing houses emerged. The advent of radio in the 1920s greatly increased the audience for gospel music. Following World War II, gospel music moved into major auditoriums, and gospel music concerts became quite elaborate.


Biographical information

Clawson is the daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Tom Clawson. [2] She was 3 years old when her father asked her to sing in the small church of which he was the minister. From that time, she sang in local neighborhood churches and in Robert Schuller's Hour of Power. She has a sister, Patti Clawson, a pianist who sometimes accompanies her in concerts. [3]

Minister (Christianity) religious occupation in Christianity

In Christianity, a minister is a person authorized by a church, or other religious organization, to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community. The term is taken from Latin minister, which itself was derived from minus ("less").

Robert Schuller American television evangelist

Robert Harold Schuller was an American Christian televangelist, pastor, motivational speaker, and author.

Clawson graduated from Milby High School in Houston, Texas, [4] and is a 1970 graduate of Howard Payne University [5] with a major in vocal performance and a minor in piano. She won the Arthur Godfrey Talent Show her senior year in college. [6]

Howard Payne University

Howard Payne University is a private Baptist university in Brownwood, Texas. The university is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It is named after Edward Howard Payne, a Missouri resident whose brother-in-law gave the lead monetary gift to start the university.



Clawson was spotted by a CBS television producer who signed her to headline a summer 1971 replacement for The Carol Burnett Show called the CBS Newcomers. [5] That show led her to a recording contract with record producer Buryl Red. Around that time, Buryl was writing a new musical with lyricist, poet and playwright Ragan Courtney titled Celebrate Life; Clawson was invited to record the solos for the original cast album.

<i>The Carol Burnett Show</i> television series

The Carol Burnett Show is an American variety/sketch comedy television show starring Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner. In 1975, frequent guest star Tim Conway became a regular after Waggoner left the series. In 1977, Dick Van Dyke replaced Korman but it was agreed that it was not a match and he left after 10 episodes. The show originally ran on CBS from September 11, 1967, to March 29, 1978, for 279 episodes, and again with nine episodes in the fall of 1991. The series originated in CBS Television City's Studio 33, and won 25 primetime Emmy Awards, was ranked number 16 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time in 2002, and in 2007 was listed as one of Time magazine's 100 Best TV Shows of All Time.

Her other TV appearances include Get Together With James Robison , [5] The Lawrence Welk Show [3] and Arthur Godfrey's All American College Show. [2] She was "a favorite guest" on the Hour of Power Christian television program. [7]

James Robison is an American televangelist and the founder and President of the Christian relief organization Life Outreach International.

<i>The Lawrence Welk Show</i> American weekly TV variety series

The Lawrence Welk Show was an American televised musical variety show hosted by big band leader Lawrence Welk. The series aired locally in Los Angeles for four years, from 1951 to 1955, then nationally for another 16 years on ABC from 1955 to 1971, followed by 11 years in first-run syndication from 1971 to 1982. Repeat episodes are broadcast in the United States by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations. These airings incorporate an original program—usually, a color broadcast from 1965 to 1982—in its entirety. In place of the commercials, newer performance and interview clips from the original stars and/or a family member of the performers are included; these clips are occasionally updated.

Hour of Power is a weekly American Christian television program formerly broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, a cathedral that is now a Catholic church. The program is currently broadcast from Shepherd's Grove.


In 1981, her recording of "The Lord's Prayer" with Andrae Crouch, The Archers (Janice Archer, Steve Archer, Tim Archer), B.J. Thomas, Dony McGuire, Reba Rambo, Tramaine Hawkins & Walter Hawkins won the Grammy Award for the Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary Or Inspirational category. She performed on the Grammy show that year. [8]

The Archers were one of America's earliest Contemporary Christian music groups. They were originally brothers Tim and Steve Archer, Fred Satterfield, Nancye Short and Billy Rush Masters. After Masters and Short departed in 1977, sister Janice Archer joined. They enjoyed greater longevity than most of the pioneering CCM artists, recording chart hits in the decades of the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. Their hits included, "Jesus Is The Answer", "Little Flowers", "It Wouldn't Be Enough", "Fresh Surrender", "Stand Up!", and "Heaven In Your Eyes". Former Maranatha! Music artist and CCM pioneer Erick Nelson defined The Archers' role in the development of contemporary Christian music as representing one-half of a convergence: traditional vocal groups like The Archers got hipper while the hippie rock groups got more mellow—eventually both evinced the polished, commercial sound that would be identified as stereotypical contemporary Christian music.

Steve Archer is an American singer-songwriter and producer. He is a pioneer of the genre of Jesus music, later to become known as contemporary Christian music. He is the former lead singer of The Archers, a contemporary Christian music and Jesus music band who toured and recorded throughout the decades of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Tramaine Hawkins American gospel singer

Tramaine Aunzola Davis, known professionally as Tramaine Hawkins, is an American award–winning Gospel singer whose career spans over five decades. Since beginning her career in 1966, Hawkins has won two Grammy Awards, two Doves, and 19 Stellar Awards.

In 1985, Clawson's rendition of "Softly and Tenderly" was included in the soundtrack of the Academy Award winning movie The Trip to Bountiful. In 1992, she recorded "Somewhere In Between" on the soundtrack of "Where the Red Fern Grows: Part 2". In 2014, Clawson recorded the closing song "You Are Home" for the original score soundtrack of the movie "Heaven is Real.

As of 2018, she has appeared on twenty Gaither Homecoming videos.


In 1986, Clawson was featured in Lou Rawls Parade of Stars, along with The Judds, New Edition, Bill Cosby, Charlton Heston, and Natalie Cole. In later years, she became closely associated with Bill and Gloria Gaither and frequently sang with them in their Gaither Homecoming recordings and concerts. She has sung in a variety of prestigious venues, including a concert at London's Wembley Stadium.

In the early 1990s, she performed in a one-woman show, A Private Showing/A Public Confession, which was written for her. [7]

Evangelistic efforts

In 1970, Clawson and the musical group The Lively Ones accompanied evangelist Billie Hanks on a tour of five Asian countries in cooperation with the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. [9] In 1972, she was featured soloist for the Meet Jesus Youth Crusade in Kerrville, Texas. [2]


Clawson and Courtney have produced several musical works, including Bright New Wings, through their collaboration. [7]


Clawson was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Houston Baptist University in 1995, [1] and was awarded the same degree from Howard Payne University in 2007.

Cynthia has performed regularly as a guest artist for Grammy-nominated Conspirare, a choral group recognized as the preeminent a cappella choral ensemble in the United States. She's also performed with the Houston Chamber Choir as well as years of singing with church choirs around the world.


Clawson and Courtney were married in 1973. [10] They were co-ministers of The Sanctuary in Austin, Texas, where they designed worship services using theatre and music as a means of religious expression.

Clawson has a son, Will, and a daughter, Lily. Lily graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Religious Studies and is a Family Therapist-based out of Sante Fe. Will and Lily released their own Indie rock CD called Brothers and Sisters, and Will currently tours, writes and records on his own.



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  1. 1 2 Liverett, David (2005). This Is My Story: 146 of the World's Greatest Gospel Singers. Thomas Nelson, Inc. ISBN   1-4185-0607-9. P. 45.
  2. 1 2 3 "Cynthia Clawson To Be Soloist For Crusade". Kerrville Mountain Sun. July 13, 1972. p. 1. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  3. 1 2 "Cynthia Clawson Gives Concert Sunday Evening". Amarillo Globe-Times. August 8, 1975. p. 19. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  4. Pappas, Leona (April 12, 1970). "A Time of Decision". Express and News. p. 120. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  5. 1 2 3 "Cynthia Clawson to debut Monday". Brownwood Bulletin. July 7, 1991. p. 2. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  7. 1 2 3 "Cynthia Clawson to sing at First Baptist Church". The Paris News. September 13, 1991. p. 11. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  8. "". Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  9. "Evangelistic Team Makes Tour of Far East". Abilene Reporter-News. September 12, 1970. p. 22.
  10. "Clawson due HP program". Brownwood Bulletin. November 15, 1977. p. 2. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  11. 1 2 3 4 "Past Winners". GMA Dove Awards. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  12. GRAMMY Winners Search Archived October 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  13. Hall of Fame - Cynthia Clawson Archived 2007-10-21 at the Wayback Machine