We are sad to report that gospel singer Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson, known as a king of gospel quartet music, has passed away at the age of 50.
An official statement from Black Smoke Music Worldwide confirmed that Johnson was found dead in his Atlanta home on Friday, September 30. An autopsy has been scheduled.
The news was first reported by Black Gospel Radio and Larry Reid Live on social media. The news was further confirmed in subsequent IG tributes from singer/songwriter Ted Winn, singer Titus Showers, and Pastor E. Dewey Smith.
In a statement, Black Smoke Music Worldwide Founder Kerry Douglas says he is “in total disbelief” of the loss. Douglas first discovered Johnson when he was performing at the American Gospel Quartet Convention in Birmingham, AL in the late 1990s. “I saw Keith perform there and I was just taken by how he moved the audience,” Douglas recalls. “He was an electrifying performer. He was the second act I ever signed, and he was my first signing to become a major artist. We used to sell CDs and The Gospel Truth magazines out of the trunks of our cars. We sold over 100,00 copies back in the day. Keith was like a brother. I was there when his first child was born. We fussed and fought with each other since we met, but that relationship built this company. A lot of the big artists today stand on Keith’s shoulders because of those sacrifices we both made in those early days. Keith began his career with Black Smoke and ended with Black Smoke.”
Getting his start with his father and uncles as a member of The Spiritual Voices, the 6x Stellar Award winner launched his solo career in 1998 with the release of his Through the Storm album. He released a total of 14 solo projects, with 11 of those albums landing on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart with other chartings on the Independent Albums and Heatseekers charts. Some of his big hits include “Let Go and Let God,” Be Right,” “Send A Revival,” and a bouncy rendition of “12 Days of Christmas.” His final project, Restructure, Renew & Reunion, was released just this past spring.
He leaves behind his parents, Susan & Phillip Johnson, sister Sonya Johnson, and two daughters, Elyse and Brianna Johnson. We send our condolences to his family, friends, and fans.