John Prince Kee was born in Durham, North Carolina the 15th of 16 children in a family full of music and church. From a young age, John showed singing and musical talent. He began playing the piano when he was eight; inspired by the music he heard in church, he began writing songs.
When he was 13, John and bassist Clinton “Chip” Shearon began a jazz trio and a gospel community choir in Durham. Because of his musical gifts, John entered the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. When he was 14, he and his two brothers, Wayne and Al, moved to California where they attended the Yuba College Conservatory School of Music in Marysville. He also began performing with groups such as Cameo and Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds and moved back to North Carolina when he became National Musical Director with Miss Black Teenage pageants.
After John moved back to North Carolina, he followed a path away from his Christian upbringing. After seeing one of his friends murdered, he knew he had to change his life. While working at the PTL network’s Buffalo Park, John Kee re-dedicated himself to Christ.
During the mid-1980s, John founded a community choir in Charlotte and street ministry, which evolved to become the New Life Community Choir. As the leader of his choir and a solo performer John Kee has received 27 Gospel Music Workshop of America excellent Awards, 21 Stellar Awards, a Soul Train Award, two Billboard Music Awards, nine Waljo Awards, seven Grammy nominations and a Trailblazer Award from former President Bill Clinton.
His songs have been recorded by Stephanie Mills, Jonny lang, The Hawkins Family, Billy Preston, Daryl Coley, Dorinda Clark Cole, Joe Walsh, Reverend James Cleveland, the Florida Mass Choir, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong.
John Kee has not only been active in music, combining traditional gospel music with contemporary gospel music, but he has also been a leader and spiritual force in his community. As a singer, he has a husky, soulful voice that delivers the gospel message with power and persuasion. As a minister, he serves the hurt and forgotten, seeking to reach people with the heart of God.
John Prince Kee was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2005. He has recorded a number of albums and is known as “The Prince of Gospel Music.”
In 1995 John married Felice Sampson and they have nine children; their son, Chris, is a drummer for Sean P. Diddy Combs and plays with him on tour.