b. 1923, Missouri, USA, d. 26 July 1995, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Akers’ most productive period came after she moved to Los Angeles, California, USA. As the founder and leader of the Sky Pilot Choir, she was the pioneer of what became known as the Doris Akers/Sky Pilot Sound, referring to her distinctive style of directing and arrangement that was subsequently much imitated. She was also a recording artist and songwriter in her own right. Among her best-known compositions were ‘Sweet, Sweet Spirit’, ‘How Big Is God’ and ‘Sweet Jesus’. She also co-wrote ‘Lord, Don’t Move That Mountain’ with Mahalia Jackson. She contributed to several films of the period. Her ‘Trouble’ was prominently featured in the Bessie Smith biopic Bessie And Me, while ‘Lead Me, Guide Me’ was included in Elvis Presley’s final movie. Later, she also featured in the videos to Bill Gaither’s ‘Old Friends’ and ‘Turn Your Radio On’. Through the 80s and 90s she became director of music at Grace Temple Deliverance church in Minneapolis, before her death from cancer at the age of 72.
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