Byron Cage, the Prince of Praise, is not a newcomer to gospel music.

Byron Cage, the Prince of Praise, is not a newcomer to gospel music.

The Grand Rapids, Mich. native not only knew Marvin Sapp very well, “I was engaged to his best friend,” Cage said.

Recently, the Verity Zomba Gospel recording artist talked about his early days as minister of music before the spotlight.

“I was with Bishop Eddie Long when he was Rev. Eddie Long … Ten years later, he had a little over 20,000 (members) when I left to go be minister of music at Ebenezer AME in Washington D.C.,” Cage said of his early days in gospel.

“It was difficult to leave (Bishop Eddie Long) but the season had ended. And that’s one thing I thank God for…I know when the season ends and God is ready to take you to another place. And a true testament of that is (when) I got out of my comfort zone and left out of Atlanta and went to a strange place in Washington D.C. … God elevated me and gave me The Presence Of The Lord Is Here, I Will Bless The Lord, Royalty, With All My Might and now Faithful To Believe. God is so good,” he said.

Cage went on to talk about his music career.

Chicago Defender: How did you get the name the “Prince of Praise?”

Byron Cage: I was minister of music … at Ebenezer AME Church in Washington, D.C. and our co-pastor Joann Rounding … introduced me on the Presence of the Lord is Here album and said, ‘Now let’s receive the Prince of Praise-Minister Byron Cage.’ And our label executive at the time was Vickie Mack Lataillade. She loved that and said … ‘we are going to label him as the prince of Praise.’

But, I kind of backed off from it because I don’t want the believers to ever think that I’m trying to raise myself up to some position, God gets all the glory. know that some of the deeper saints may be offended (by the moniker).

CD: Were you ever intimidated being surrounded by so many talented artists?

BC: Growing up in Grand Rapids I went to the same church as the DeBarge Family. We all grew up in that church together. So when I got to Detroit, Donald Vails was my minister of music, then around the corner you had the Clark Sisters, Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, you had the late Min. Thomas Whitfield and so many singers in Detroit. It was really a time for me to sit back and glean and learn what other people were doing and I just knew that was what I wanted to do. Me and Commissioned, we grew up together.

CD: How difficult is it to balance being a minister of music as well as a popular, award winning recording artist?

BC: It comes with a great price. It’s a lot of sacrifice that you have to do. A lot of things that happened were hurtful in 2008 and this year. I thank God that there’s a song on my new CD called Goodbye. There were things that I had to learn in life…everyone is not ordained to go with you to the next place of your destiny. Sometimes, people … you have to cut them off. Sometimes people who were your friends last year cannot be your friend anymore this year. They don’t understand the anointing and the level of God in your life which can catapult you into places … that if they go there with you they will hate and try to tear you down. Because I am a minister of music, I really don’t have any off day. When I do have some off time, I try to go spend time with my family. On the other hand, I also like being a minister of music because it helps to keep me grounded. I don’t get a chance to see myself on TV, because there are two services on Sunday, choir rehearsal on Tuesday, Bible study on Wednesday, men’s Bible study on Thursday and service on Friday. So I don have time to sit back and say, ‘Oh I’m so wonderful.’ I don’t have time for that. No time for that at all.

As we concluded our conversation, Cage offered advice to his fans who may be star struck.

“When they get to my concerts, the presence of the Lord is there. I don’t want the people to see me, I want them to see God every time because if you look at me … I can’t bless you. I’m not the one that wakes you up in the morning or provides for you. My music points them to Christ. I don’t want them to see me. I may give them the wrong answer,” he said.

In the meantime Faithful To Believe is holding steady in the Top 5 on the Billboard charts.

Happy belated B-day belated to blessings to Kim Stratton, Mark Hubbard and yours truly (Dec 1)

“Happy Thanksgiving and remember you are blessed by the Best!”

Effie Rolfe is a radio personality and the religion entertainment columnist for the Chicago Defender. E-mail her at

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