James DeWitt Johnson, Known as DeWitt, was born November 27th 1945 to Jessie J Boyd and Pearl Johnson Boyd, in Nashville, TN. Preceded in death by five siblings; Remaining siblings are his sister, Brenda J Boyd and brothers, Reginald Johnson (June), Claude J (Jada) Johnson, Cecil Boyd, Bishop William Boyd (Marilyn), Roderick Boyd (Angela) his devoted nephews, Troy Boyd and Orlando Boyd. Devoted friend Charlene Harrison and Patricia Hall-Easley and a host of cousins and friends along with numerous colleagues, singers, songwriters, and musicians.
He united with Christ at an early age and was considered by many as child prodigy. His talents for playing and writing music were a God giving gift. Being the forth of eleven children, he co-organized his first gospel group, The BC & M Mass Choir, while he was still in Cameron high school in Nashville, Tennessee. DeWitt toured and recorded around the world with the James Johnson Ensemble along with other choirs and groups. Many of his original songs have become standard in the repertories of churches nationwide. Several of his songs have been used as theme music for television and radio gospel music programs. Songs such as, national renowned single “Glad to Be In God’s Service”, “I’ve Been Touched”, “Nothing Gonna Hinder Me”, and “Things Have Got to Get Better” “ Calvary Settled It All “Down Home Church, and “Bottom to the Top”.
In 1974, The James Johnson Ensemble’s album, “Harvest is Plentiful” won a Gold record and was nominated for the recording industry’s Grammy Award and remained on Billboard Magazine’s Gospel Chart for more than 100 weeks! No list of credits could covey the kind of electricity DeWitt Johnson would generate in live performances. The combination of fresh, sensitive materials and outstanding delivery made James “DeWitt” Johnson a phenomenal force and a highly sought after artist. DeWitt shared stages in cities across the nation with some of Gospel’s greats, such as, The Edwin Hawkins Singers, Shirley Caesar, Reverend James Cleveland and Bobby Jones, just to name a few.
Additionally, James DeWitt Johnson performed in Barcelona, Spain, headlining for Gladys Knight and The Pips. He also sang at the Montrose Jazz Festival in Switzerland with Quincy Jones, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Andre and Sandra Crouch, Take 6, Tramaine Hawkins with the Atlanta Super Choir. DeWitt also took part in Canada’s 350 year Anniversary celebration in Montreal, Canada. During his performance he shared the stage with Mariah Carey, Joe Cocker, The Nevel Brothers, and Pebo Bryson when he sang his original song, “Sing That Jesus Song”. The song later became a hit single in Europe.
He worked with other ministries including, Reverend Otis Mays of Memphis, Tennessee and Bishop G. E. Patterson and the Bountiful Blessing Church of God in Christ of Memphis, Tennessee. DeWitt recently played a leading role in the Gospel Production “You Gotta Believe It”, which has provided an even greater experience on his ministerial outreach for Jesus Christ. He devoted his later years to maintaining his Music Ministry, touring the world, composing musical specials, such as his yearly Music City Christmas and appearing on his own weekly, local television program “DeWitt Johnson Ministries, Touching the World”. He also co-hosted a weekly radio show on 760 AM The Gospel.
He leaves so many to cherish his memory and his music, from across the nation to around the world people will remember the world renowned sensation James DeWitt Johnson.