Andraé Edward Crouch was born in San Francisco, California. His father, Benjamin Crouch, had a street ministry, and ministered in hospitals and prison. Andrae was eleven years old when his father was invited to preach at a small church in a farming community. The church didn’t have a pastor so the bishop invited Andrae’s father to become the pastor. That first Sunday, Andrae’s father asked him to come up front. He said, “Andrae, if God gave you the gift of music to play and sing for him would you do it for his glory all your life?” Andrae said, “Yeah daddy.” A couple of weeks later, his father asked him to come up as the congregation was singing. He said, “If you’re gonna play, play.” Andrae found the key, and started to play the piano. As he got a little older, he started to write songs, and lead a choir. Until he was fourteen, he had a stuttering problem so he let his sister talk for him in public.
Crouch’s first group was the Church of God in Christ Singers (COGICS) in 1960, which included Billy Preston. The COGICS were the first group to record the song “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power.”While attending Valley Junior College in California for a career in teaching, he was called to the ministry and formed The Disciples in 1965, along with Perry Morgan, and Bili Thedford. The group became a frequent attraction at “Monday Night Sing” concerts in southern California put on by promoter Audrey Meier. Meier would introduce Crouch to Tim Spencer of Manna Music Publishing who would be the first to publish one of his songs (“The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” which was written by Andrae at age 15 but tossed in the trash because he thought it poor. Sister Sandra thought differently and salvaged it.)
In turn, Spencer helped launch their recording career by introducing the group to Light Records founder Ralph Carmichael. Sherman Andrus and Reuben Fernandez were added to the group in time to record their first album, Take the Message Everywhere, in 1968. They were subsequently replaced by Andrae’s twin sister Sandra in 1970. Sherman Andrus went on to join the Imperials. In 1972, singer Danniebelle Hall, trumpeter Fletch Wiley, Harlan Rogers and drummer Bill Maxwell joined the Disciples. Many support singers, Kathy Hazzard, Bea Carr, and James Felix were part of the Disciples entourage. In 1996, Crouch’s songs were the impetus for the Grammy Award- winning CD, Tribute: The Songs of Andraé Crouch (released on Warner Bros. Records), which featured a range of artists performing some of his classic songs including, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Take 6 and Michael W. Smith. In 2006, Crouch released Mighty Wind, a 40th anniversary album featuring guest performances by Marvin Winans, Crystal Lewis, Karen Clark Sheard, and Lauren Evans.
Andraé Crouch was a key figure in the Jesus Music movement of the 1960s and 1970s. As a result, helped bring about contemporary Christian music, and began to bridge the gap between black and white Christian music. Though sometimes criticized for diluting the Gospel message by using contemporary styles, his songs have become staples in churches all around the world and recorded by mainstream artists such as Elvis Presley and Paul Simon.
Crouch is also credited with revolutionizing the sound of urban Gospel music. Crouch was instrumental in bringing Walter and Tramaine Hawkins, Jessy Dixon and The Winans to Light Records, all enjoying successful gospel music careers. His influence has extended to countless artists like BeBe and CeCe Winans, The Clark Sisters, Wintley Phipps, Anointed and Israel Houghton.