Very few gospel musicians can boast of having an audience beyond the often limited niche of gospel music, as Daryl Coley had.
Daryl Coley Biography
Daryl Coley, born on 30 October 1955, was born in Berkeley, California. His parents split up when he was 5 years old. He always felt that his mother influenced his choice of gospel music, emphasizing how he learned to play the clarinet and piano.
As a child, Edwin Hawkins attracted attention in 1968 with his newly released contemporary arrangement of Oh Happy Day Coleys. He later joined Helen Stephens And The Voices Of Christ after hearing her sing in December 1969 at the age of 13.
While still in high school he studied with Phillip Reader in the choir of Castle Mont High School. The effect Reader had on Coley was so profound that it influenced him until his college days. His career only began when he started playing the organ for the Eddie Hawkins Singers. Later he took on the role of music director, which helped artists like Tremaine Hawkins to solo play.
Daryl Cole moved a little into secular mainstream music and sang in jazz clubs. He had so many high profile collaborations, including artists such as Phillip Bailey of Earth, Wind and Fire, Rodney Franklin and Nancy Wilson. His debut solo album was released in 1986 under the title Just Daryl. The album was a success and was nominated for a Grammy award. It was re-released in 2006.
After his debut he released several albums; he released “He is right on time” which climbed to #3 in the gospel charts; this was followed by his album “When the music stops” which climbed to #1 in the gospel charts.
But his sweet life began to take a bitter turn when the singer began to fall ill in 1991 when he celebrated his new fame and glory under Sparrow Records, and after the doctor diagnosed that he was suffering from juvenile diabetes, which later developed into temporary blindness. He struggled with it for the rest of his life.
In the later years of his life, Daryl Coley became more involved with the ministry, where he and Nancy Sellers hosted a radio show in his home Bay Area called God Said I Can, a medium he spoke to many ministers and artists about. In January 2014 he was honored by the BMI at their 15th annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards in Nashville.
At the tender age of five, Daryl had to endure the pain of his parents’ separation. His mother won custody and he and his siblings were raised by their mother, who was a very devout Christian.
He grew up in a home with a strong Christian faith and his mother had a strong musical influence on him. He went on to affirm that there was gospel, classical and jazz music in his house. He was married to Jenelle Coley and left his three children, including the son “Te’ceion”. Later in his life, he adopted, with the consent and approval of the Antonio Brooks family, as their godchild and son.
Cause of Death
In the early 1990s, at the height of his powers, Daryl was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes – a chronic disease in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter the cells to produce energy.
The disease caused him temporary blindness, which he would continue to struggle with for years to come. At the end of his life, he remembered that he would wake up and would not be able to control himself because he could not see beyond his feet.
Daryl Coley died on a Tuesday night on March 15, 2016, after succumbing to his long battle with diabetes. He died in the hospital next door to his family, who tried everything to make him feel comfortable. He died of kidney failure.
- Daryl Coley opened up on his battle with homosexuality at a stage in his life. A battle he says he overcame with support from his family and Christian friends.
- His wife Jenelle was at some point both his agent and manager.