Doris Akers was born in Brookfield, Missouri and lived for many years in Los Angeles, California where she formed and directed the famous Sky Pilot Choir. She also resided in Columbus, Ohio and, until her death in 1995, was Director of Music at Grace Temple Deliverance, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Her most well-known compositions include Sweet, Sweet Spirit, Lord, Don’t Move That Mountain” (co-written with Mahalia Jackson), How Big Is God, and Sweet Jesus. Her composition, Trouble, was a hit song in the Broadway production of Me and Bessie (the life-story of Bessie Smith). Sweet, Sweet Spirit, and her song, Lead Me, Guide Me, were sung in Elvis Presley’s last movie.
Her unique choir-direction style, and her choir arrangements, are popular around the world and have been emulated by hundreds of choir directors. Her style is often referred to as The Doris Akers’/Sky Pilot Method And Sound.
Akers was instrumental in the careers of many popular gospel singers, many of which went on to become famous in the pop and R&B fields.
Doris Akers has been featured recently on television, appearing in the best-selling video series put out by Bill Gaither, entitled Old Friends and Turn Your Radio On.
Doris was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Doris died in July of 1995 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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