African-American Jewish musician Joshua Nelson is the first famous Kosher Gospel artist, performing his music in synagogues across the country. Raised in East Orange, NJ, Nelson grew up in a synagogue that was quick to serve fried chicken and collard greens. His grandmother exposed him to both classical music and gospel as a child. He combined the two sounds and made the Kosher Gospel genre.
Nelson studied Judaism in Israel, preparing children for bar and bat mitzvahs. Seeking more exciting ways to approach the music, he introduced the Kosher Gospel style and recently performed at the Jewish Music Festival in Pittsburgh. The musician has taught Hebrew at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel for 15 years.
Nicknamed the “Prince of Kosher Gospel,” Nelson discovered gospel music at age eight when he found his grandmother Mahalia Jackson's album. After falling in love with the gospel sound, Nelson combined his Jewish culture and music lyrics with the African-American Gospel sound to form a unique musical experience that brings praise to both cultures.
Nelson has performed for and impressed the company of President Barack Obama and has accompanied the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, on his album, “Mi Chamoca.” He was called “The Next Big Thing” by Oprah Winfrey. Nelson was featured in the documentary film “Keep on Walking.”
The Kosher Gospel music of Nelson has been widely accepted among the Jewish community.
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