Mary Mary, John P. Kee, Fred Hammond Share Condolences
Shawn McLemore listened to the audible words of his wife Rhonda McLemore one last time, and acknowledged her with a single tear. Then the balladeer that meant so much to people around the world took his last breath. The final words spoken by Rhonda were, “Your daughter will be alright.. REST!” And then he let go.
Known to those closest to him as Shawn Mac, McLemore was a local Houston legend that was respected in many circles around the world. It’s been said that his vocal range was one of the purest in the Gospel industry. Able to hold and manipulate notes with clarity few have ever done before.
Shawn is survived by his wife and fellow Gospel singer Rhonda McLemore along with their daughter ShaRon McLemore. The pair took to social media to clear up his cause of death and announce funeral services taking place in Houston, Texas. You can watch that video below, and get funeral instructions at the end of the article.
“Mary Mary” singer Erica Campbell posted on Instagram about her relationship with Shawn McLemore. Says Campbell:
John P. Kee flew down to Houston to visit McLemore during his final days and said this about the encounter and photo opportunity captured below.
Fred Hammond was brief with his comments while posting a video of Shawn McLemore’s vocals on the hit song “I Believe” sung with James Fortune and Zacardi Cortez. Says Hammond,
The tributes are coming in by the thousands, but some people are still wondering who he is, and why all their favorite Gospel artists respect him, and they’ve never heard of him? The answer to that shines a light on a testimony that was full of miracles, God’s favor, and persistence.
THE EARLY DAYS
Shawn Mac did not get famous overnight. His road to Gospel success was full of hard times when he could have gotten bitter but chose to stay humble and in his own lane. In the mid-90’s he started drawing comparisons to the legendary John P. Kee, and Verity Records signed the artist hoping to repeat the success they just had after prying John P. Kee away from Tyscot Records.
Shawn McLemore’s first solo release was in 1997 titled, “Wait on Him” and this placed McLemore on Billboard magazine Gospel Albums chart. His second album came 10 years later in 2007 and was titled, “Sunday Morning: The Live Experience” This album marked a new partnership with Black Smoke/Worldwide Music founder and recent Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee Kerry Douglas. A relationship that would prove pivotal in Shawn’s later years. But still, McLemore’s album Sunday Morning was not a chart-topper, but it was anointed. The third album was, Stand: The Shawn Mac Project, released in 2010 by Black Smoke Music alongside Worldwide Music, and this album did not chart as well.
After a series of average sales McLemore continued to stay on his God given PATH. Winning over audiences one guest appearance at a time. Church after Church, with little televised appearances. Shawn Mac didn’t care if he performed in a white-wood country church with 25 members in it or a mega church with 10,000 members; He still sung his heart out every time. Something I witnessed personally in my coverage of him as publisher of PATH MEGAzine.
Hoping for another chance at a solo album, McLemore continued to network and sing on everyone else’s album. He sang background for Donnie McClurkin, arranged vocals for upcoming artists, and played piano as minister of music for more churches than I can count in the Houston area. McLemore just loved to worship! He cared little about notoriety and cared only about leaving it all out on the sanctuary floor every single Sunday for the glory of God.
THE HEART ATTACK
Then it happened. 11 Years ago, the singer would suffer a major heart attack that doctors said gave the singer a one percent chance of recovery. Shawn McLemore said in a later interview that his wife Rhonda bought oil to the hospital against the medical staff’s wishes and prayed over him while he laid unconscious. The singer would soon wake up with all his brain function in-tact, and Shawn would go to work on his fourth and final album, “The One Percent Miracle.” (Released in 2011 by Black Smoke/World-Wide Music.)
This time the passion project went somewhere, but more than anything it re-energized the singer and reminded him to leave it all on the table for God. McLemore told Path MEGAzine in 2010, “I used to be part of the crowd that heard what God can do, but now I’m part of the crowd that knows what God can do. And he’s a healer!”
Around the time this was all going on, McLemore teamed up with James Fortune and Zacardi Cortez for the hit song that would take all of them to heights few Gospel artists reach. Singing the ballad to Christian and secular television audiences alike, the song would reach the hearts and minds of many.
Shawn wrote many songs for himself and other artists; engineered songs, conducted choirs, musical stage plays, sang background and guest featured on dozens of projects. But when he took the mic, there was never visible signs of nervousness; no quiver in his vocals. This was a man that was doing what God told him to do. Just look how he stepped into this song (below) with John P. Kee, who was one of Gospel’s all-time best sellers at this point in time. No hesitation, just the anointing flowing all over him.
Shawn Mac would eventually suffer another heart attack and make it through it again. But years after the second heart attack, his heart began to fail, affecting other organs in the body.
So, who was Shawn McLemore? Album sales and fandom can’t begin to describe what Erica Campbell wrote in the aforementioned quote. McLemore was genuine and built people up and brought out the best in them. The end result led to more souls being saved. He was a father, he was a husband, he was a talented artist, and he was also my friend. My God time is short… To those people who have read this far, I encourage you to do exactly what Shawn did and be a testimony about the goodness of God. Run at your own pace but finish your race! Shawn Mac, you finished your race brother. Rest well. Until we meet again.
Kris Patrick – Path MEGAzine (Publisher)
Have more time to worship? Check out Shawn McLemore’s Interview with Path MEGAzine in 2010 where he tells his testimony.