Melvin Crispell was a gospel musician and songwriter who was known for his skillful organ playing and his prolific compositions. He wrote many hit songs for renowned artists such as James Hall, Hezekiah Walker, and The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir. He was also a member of the Grammy-nominated group Professor James Hall and The Voices of Citadel. He died on May 29, 2014, at the age of 46, from complications related to his diabetes, after undergoing a minor surgery.
A Life of Music and Faith
Melvin Crispell was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a musical family. His father, Melvin Crispell Sr., was a renowned gospel pianist who played for the Hawkins Family, the Clark Sisters, and others. His mother, Patricia Crispell, was a singer and choir director. Melvin inherited his parents’ talent and passion for music, and started playing the organ at the age of three. He grew up in the church, and was influenced by gospel legends such as James Cleveland, Thomas Whitfield, and Richard Smallwood.
Melvin began his professional career as a teenager, playing for various choirs and artists in New York and beyond. He joined James Hall and Worship and Praise (WAP) in 1989, and became one of the main songwriters and arrangers for the group. He wrote some of the group’s most popular songs, such as “Caught Up”, “If He Never Does Anything Else”, and “What He’s Done For Me”. He also wrote songs for Hezekiah Walker and The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, such as “Jesus Is My Help”, “Wonderful Is Your Name”, and “What A Mighty God We Serve”. He was known for his distinctive style of writing, which combined traditional gospel with contemporary elements, and his ability to create catchy melodies and powerful lyrics.
Melvin also formed his own group, Professor James Hall and The Voices of Citadel, with his longtime friend and mentor James Hall. The group released several albums, such as “We Need Him” and “God Is In Control”, and received a Grammy nomination in 2000 for their album “Trip Down Memory Lane”. Melvin was the musical director and producer of the group, and showcased his versatility and creativity as a musician. He also collaborated with other artists, such as Donnie McClurkin, Kim Burrell, Karen Clark Sheard, and Kirk Franklin.
Melvin was not only a gifted musician, but also a man of faith and integrity. He was devoted to his family, and was married to Tunesha Crispell, a gospel singer and songwriter. He had three children, Melvin III, Melonie, and Melody, who also inherited his musical talent. He was a humble and generous person, who mentored and inspired many young musicians and singers. He was also a faithful member of Citadel of Praise Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he served as the minister of music.
A Sudden and Shocking Death
Melvin’s life was cut short by a tragic and unexpected death. He was involved in a car accident on May 22, 2014, and had to undergo a surgery to remove glass from his foot. He was diabetic, and
Melvin’s death was a shock and a loss for his family, friends, colleagues, and fans. He was remembered as a musical genius, a gospel legend, and a loving and loyal person. His songs and his legacy live on in the hearts and minds of many people who were touched by his music and his ministry. A memorial service was held for him on June 7, 2014, at The Park Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Many gospel artists and personalities attended the service, and paid tribute to Melvin’s life and work.