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September 1, 2014, 3:07 pm

At age 81, McLendon signs debut CD


Elder Goldwire McLendon has truly proven that age is just a number.

McLendon has accomplished something that many in the music biz have not; he has secured a record deal with a major label. But most notably, McLendon is believed to be the oldest American contemporary solo artist to sign with a major record label. On Tuesday April 24, McLendon, 81, released his first debut solo CD project, “The Best of Elder Goldwire McLendon” on the Music World Gospel record label.

You may know McLendon from his smashing performances as a contestant on Season 3 of BET’s Sunday Best singing competition, hosted by Kirk Franklin (think American Idol but for Gospel singers exclusively). Of the hundreds of contestants vying to compete for the coveted title of Sunday Best, Mclendon placed first-runner-up to Season 3 winner Le’Andria Johnson. McLendon’s soulful performances made him an endearing Gospel celebrity and created great buzz within the music industry.

“When I received a call that Mathew Knowles wanted to sign me to Music World Gospel, my daughter and I were stomping on the floor, and holding our mouths because we wanted to scream. I carried on and she did too,” said McLendon. He humbly remarked that he always wanted to do a solo project.

Knowles, President and CEO Music World Entertainment, founded the record label Music World Gospel. Knowles is the father and former business manager of mega super-star and R&B singer, Beyonce Knowles. Under the Music World Gospel record label, McLendon joins an elite roster of top Gospel groups, soloists and special projects that include: Trin-i-tee 5:7, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Brian Courtney Wilson, Micah Stampley, Juanita Bynum, Le'Andria Johnson, Michael Pugh, and ESSENCE Gospel, to name a few.

Commenting about his debut solo CD, McLendon shared, “It’s an awesome project, it’s exciting, I’m excited about what the Lord is doing at this stage of my life.” McLendon has been singing all his life, so he’s no novice at performing his craft.† During his early beginnings, McLendon shared that his mother, father and aunt had a great influence on his singing. “I love singing…the Lord has given me this gift.”

When asked about what Gospel singers he greatly admires, McLendon responded, “James Cleveland was one of them. Then there’s Walter (and) Edwin Hawkins, Shirley Caesar, and Albertina Walker. My mother was a great inspiration, too. She could sing.”

“Elder Goldwire has an ageless appeal—with the heart and soul of a man who has done a lot of living. He has the energy and enthusiasm of a young man,” said Knowles. “As I watched him in Season 3, he competed with vigor and stamina. He proved that he can connect with people in a wide range of demographics as he won the hearts of over a million supporters—especially females.”

McLendon’s first single is a contemporary rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Jesus Be A Fence Around Me.”  He also offers a hand-clapping, foot-stomping, in-the-pew dancing rendition of  “He’s All Over Me.” And McLendon’s smooth, melodic, crooning virtuosity, is evident on his cover of “How Great Thou Art” – this was one of his best Sunday Best song performances that solidified him as an endearing and formidable Gospel performer. His performance of the song garnered over 60,000 views on!

In the 1960s, McLendon toured and performed locally around the Philadelphia area with a Gospel group called the Savettes Choral Group. McLendon was also a featured artist with two other Philadelphia Gospel groups: The Brockington Ensemble and the Victory Choral Union. When his children were old enough to travel, they performed as the McLendon Family for many years. And it was McLendon’s daughter who actually urged him to audition and compete in the Sunday Best Competition.

It hasn’t always been an easy musical career for McLendon, he admits, “I had to go through some trials and some tests.” McLendon confided that after many years of being persistently faithful as a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Lord finally opened some doors for him in 2010. McLendon said, “The Lord said, ‘This is your season!’”