At times it can be hard to find the words to describe Pastor John Prince Kee. Although he is one of gospel music's greatest artists, this neither conveys the capacity nor the passion for real and clear ministry with which God has impregnated him. His desire is to show the love and power of the Lord to the world.
Pastor Kee was born 15 th out of 16 children and was raised in Durham, NC. At home in Durham, music and attending church highlighted the family's weekly activities. John exhibited extraordinary talent at an early age, both vocally and instrumentally. An excellent student, John was placed in a special school for the musically gifted children, and he started his musical career at the age of 14.
Kee moved to Northern California where he studied with brothers Al and Wayne at the Yuba College Conservatory School of Music in Marysville and became involved with the area's top musicians where his music skills flourished. While living in California he had a chance to meet and play with numerous some of jazz greats such as Donald Byrd & the Blackbirds and Cameo. In his late teens, Kee drifted into a street lifestyle that brought him to Charlotte, NC. Once in Charlotte, he moved to the Double Oaks Community and began a life of corruption.
Material possessions offered John no consolation, and the senseless violence that encompassed him became insufferable so in his early twenties John began to turn his life around. He ultimately gave his life to the Lord at a revival meeting at PTL in Charlotte and returned to active involvement in the Church.
In the mid 1980s he started a community choir in Charlotte. This choir, which eventually grew to become the New Life Community Choir, achieved rapid success. Albums titled "Wash Me", and "We Walk by Faith" carried him into the late 80's with a bang.
In early 1995, Pastor Kee released his gold award winning "Show Up" CD, which increased his popularity in the music industry.The '90s brought the beginning of what would be a flood of awards for Kee including more than a dozen Stellar Awards, 20 GMWA Excellence Awards, a Soul Train Award, and two Billboard Music Awards. In 1995, Kee and New Life Community Choir reached their first commercial peak with the gold award-winning album Show Up which was also nominated for a Grammy, as was his 1999 album Strength. It was during this time that Pastor Kee also accepted his call to minister and pastor the New Life Fellowship Church in Charlotte, NC.
In response to the prophet word received from Bishop Norman Wagner in early 1995, "Build It and I'll Come," Pastor Kee says, "It was on that night that I knew to go forward and build a Fellowship Center in Charlotte, NC, to teach and preach the uncompromising Word of God."
"So built we the wall..., for the people had a mind to work." These sentiments of Nehemiah can still be heard echoing in our present Christian Society.
In December of 1995, Pastor Kee married the former Felice Sampson, and they have 9 children. This Pastor and First Lady Kee are certain that God has anointed them to touch the lives of their children and the Partakers of New Life Fellowship.
Since its inception Pastor Kee, since 1995, has been the full-time pastor of the New Life Fellowship Center, and does not collect a salary from the church. The Fellowship Center is growing rapidly, with ministries that extend into the community. These ministries include: after-school tutoring; food for the hungry; Adopt-A-Family; mentoring and One-Step, and health and wellness. "There is so much hurting and suffering in the world", says Pastor Kee, "that the only way not to be overwhelmed by it, is to know that you are doing something about it."