JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Grammy-nominated gospel singer Troy Sneed has died from complications with the coronavirus. He was 52.
Sneed’s publicist Bill Carpenter said the singer died early Monday at a hospital in Jacksonville. Sneed earned a Grammy nomination for his work on the Youth For Christ’s 1999 album “Higher.”
Sneed was born December 14, 1967, in Perry, Florida, and graduated from Florida A&M University, where he met his wife, Emily. He later made Jacksonville home.
“I know that he and Emily met at Florida A&M, so he always says that he was meant to be in Florida,” said Tawanda Shamley, who worked with Sneed as his radio promoter for the last 15 years. “He’s penned some beautiful songs and produced for a number of artists, you know, across the county, has put some amazing music out there himself as an artist, and it’s just been a blessing to work with him.”
Shamley still seemed stunned at the loss of a man her contemporary with so much to live for.
“To know that we’re all around the same age, I think I’m a year older than Troy, that this is real, you know, and people need to take this very seriously,” Shamley said. “This thing is, it’s pretty incredible and unbelievable. I would have never imagined a month ago we would be sitting here having this conversation.”
Sneed traveled throughout the United States early in his career to sing the gospel with the Georgia Mass Choir. He arranged music on their albums and appeared with the choir in 1996 film “The Preacher’s Wife,” starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington.
Sneed helped form Youth For Christ, which was comprised of members between the ages of 12 and 18 from the Georgia Mass Choir. He served as a producer on Youth For Christ’s “The Struggle Is Over,” which landed at No. 1 on Billboard’s gospel songs chart in 2006.
As a solo artist, Sneed released seven albums and had several hit songs within the gospel realm including “Work It Out” and “My Heart Says Yes,” which both peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s gospel chart. He’s also known for the upbeat “Hallelujah.”
Sneed and his wife, who were married for 27 years and have four children, started their own record label Emtro, which is a blend of their first names. Their label became a success with a roster of artists from Alvin Darling & Celebration and Rev. Rudolph McKissick.