Sunday, February 22, 2009
Joshua Nelson is an American gospel singer and Hebrew teacher. Nelson transcends differences between races and faiths through his music. He is both an up-and-coming Jewish Gospel singer in the tradition of Mahalia Jackson, and a Hebrew teacher full-time in the Hebrew school at Sharey-Tefilo-Israel, a Reform synagogue in South Orange, NJ, when he is not on the road. He also serves as director of music at Hopewell Baptist Church in Newark, NJ, which is housed in a former synagogue (the former B’nai Jeshurun.
Through his composing, gospel singing, and chanting Torah, Nelson is the musical embodiment of cultural harmony, with his rich voice, charismatic personality, and personal mission to build bridges between the races.
Nelson created a new sound that blends Jewish liturgical and African American spiritual styles.
Nelson has performed with musical legends including Wynton Marsalis and Aretha Franklin and Stephanie Mills and Billy Preston, as well as gospel singers Albertina Walker, the Barret Sisters, Hezekiah Walker, Kirk Franklin, Dottie Peoples, Dorothy Norwood, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Reverend Timothy Wright, and Bobby Jones & New Life. Nelson also performs frequently with the Jewish Klezmer band The Klezmatics, and performed with the late jazz greats Cab Calloway and Dizzy Gillespie.
Nelson sang before Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, and performed for an audience in Jerusalem that included then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.