Wintley Augustus Phipps, Sr.
Wintley Phipps, an internationally known baritone singer, was born in Trinidad, West Indies, and grew up in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In those formative years he was surrounded by music of the church. Following graduation from Kingsway College, a Seventh-day Adventist high school near Toronto, Ontario, he attended Oakwood College, now University, in the 1970s, where he studied music theory and began writing gospel music. After graduating in 1976 with a degree in theology, he continued his education by attending Andrews University, where he completed an M.Div. in 1979. Oakwood University awarded him its first honorary doctorate in 2010.
Since graduating from AU, Phipps has served simultaneously as a minister, acclaimed singer and writer of religious music, and innovator in programs that offer hope to children and youth. With his distinctive resonant baritone voice, he has witnessed through music in a way that has earned him international recognition. He earned two Emmy nominations in 1988 and 1989 for his writing, has given numberless concerts, and sung at prayer breakfasts and other special occasions for Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama and at the Vatican, Billy Graham Crusades, and Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power telecast.
Phipps has also participated in noteworthy events, including Democratic National Conventions in 1984 and 1988, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., television special, and events honoring Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. He sang at Rosa Park’s 77th birthday gala at the John F. Kennedy Center and was guest soloist at Diana Ross’ wedding in Switzerland.
A person who believes that "there is a purpose and destiny for each life" and that "the most exciting adventure a human being can experience is to connect through service," Phipps has inspired others with both his message and his actions. An outstanding example of the latter is his founding of the U.S. Dream Academy in 1998, a nonprofit organization that through its programs seeks to offer hope to those with few opportunities to better themselves and lead productive lives.
Discouraged by the high number of African-Americans he saw when doing prison ministry years ago, Phipps wanted to help persons break the cycle of crime and incarceration that plagues families and communities when few opportunities exist. The academy provides value-based tutoring, remedial education, support, and mentoring for children and youth in at-risk situations.
The first U.S. Dream Academy, which opened in 2000 in Washington, D.C., was followed by a second in that area. Their successes led to the establishment of similar programs in ten cities across the nation.
The program attracted national attention and in 2004 an Excellence in Mentoring Award, the nation's highest award for service of this type. Phipps subsequently received a Use Your Life Award of $1,000,000 from Oprah Winfrey in 2005, which was used to expand the program; and in that same year, Phipps received a check for $100,000 to assist in his work with the academy at the MarkerMan Productions Fall Leadership weekend.
Phipps is married to Linda Diane Galloway, a fellow Oakwood student, and they have three sons. He presently serves as pastor of the Palm Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Palm Bay, Florida.
Sources: Kenneth Greenman, "His Voice is Only a Prelude," Andrews University Focus, Spring 1988; Adventist Review.org, 24 June 2010, 61 (605); Biography at the U.S. Dream Academy website; Wikipedia; “Wintley Phipps Sings During President Obama’s Inauguration Prayer Service,” Southern Tidings, March 2013, 28; Other online sources.
(A Partial Listing)
Lord, You Are My Music (1984)
I Give You My Life (1984)
I Choose You Again (1984)
We Are One (1985)
The Great Controversy (1985)
It's Christmas Time (1986)
Wintley Phipps (1987)
A Love Like This (1988)
Sun Will Shine Again (1990)
The Power of a Dream (1995)
Favorite Hymns (1996)
Favorite Spirituals (1996)
Wintley Phipps Live (2000)
Songs of Christmas (2000)
Out of the Night (2001)
Heal Our Land (2001)
Favorite Hymns of Billy Graham (Discovery House, 2005)
Spirituals: A Symphonic Celebration (Discovery House, 2006)
No Need for Fear (Discovery House, 2007)
The Classics (Discovery House, 2008)
O Holy Night! (Discovery House, 2009)
My Greatest Romance (Discovery House, 2011)
No Need to Fear (Discovery House)
Spirituals: A Symphonic Celebration (Discovery House, 2008)
Favorite Hymns of Billy Graham (Discovery House, 2008)