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Sandra Crouch, Grammy-Winning Gospel Musician, Dies at 81

Sandra Crouch, the late Andraé Crouch’s twin sister who co-wrote “Jesus Is the Answer,” has died. She was 81.

Sandra Crouch passed away on Sunday, March 17 at Northridge Hospital in Northridge, California, following complications from radiation for a non-cancerous brain lesion, Billboard has learned.

Sandra and Andraé were born on July 1, 1942, in Los Angeles to parents who went into ministry and founded Christ Memorial Church C.O.G.I.C. in 1951. The siblings began performing music together around 1960 as The COGICS, alongside friends who were active at church.



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Andraé went on to form the group Andraé Crouch & The Disciples, and Sandra worked as a percussionist in Hollywood. As a percussionist, Sandra’s credits included playing on notable projects like The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” Neil Diamond’s Tap Root Manuscript and Janis Joplin’s Pearl album.

In the 1970s, Crouch joined her brother with The Disciples, singing, playing and co-writing songs including “Jesus Is the Answer,” which became a mainstay on gospel radio.

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Among the twins’ musical accomplishments together was backing Michael Jackson on several songs on History – Past, Present and Future Book 1, and on “Man in the Mirror” when Jackson performed it live at the Grammys in 1988. Both Andraé and Sandra also worked on film soundtracks for 1985’s The Color Purple, 1993’s Free Willy and 1994’s The Lion King.

Sandra released three of her own albums in the 1980s, all of which resulted in Grammy nominations — and collected a Grammy for one of them.

Her first solo album, We Sing Praises — featuring singles “He’s Worthy,” “There’s Power in the Blood” and “We Need to Hear From You” — was released in 1983. The set earned Crouch three nominations and won the award for best soul gospel performance, female at the 26th annual Grammy Awards.

We’re Waiting, Crouch’s sophomore solo album, arrived in 1985 with the song “Completely Yes.” The album and track were nominated for best soul gospel performance by a duo, group, choir or chorus at the 28th annual Grammy Awards, though Crouch did not take home an award this time around.

Crouch’s third and final solo album, With All of My Heart, was released in 1992. It received a nomination, but did not win, for best gospel album by a choir or chorus at the 35th annual Grammy Awards. She went on the road in support of the album with Daryl Coley and the Richard Smallwood Singers on the Gospel: Good for the Soul Tour.

Sandra won two GMA Dove Awards for traditional gospel album, first for We Sing Praises in 1984, and then for With All of My Heart in 1993.

Andraé Crouch had taken over their parents’ church, Christ Memorial COGIC in San Fernando, California, in 1998 and ordained Sandra as a co-pastor, which defied the COGIC denomination’s policy against female preachers. They gave the church a new name: New Chris Memorial Church.

Sandra assumed the role of senior pastor beginning in 2015, when her brother passed.

The church’s assistant pastor, Kenneth J. Cook, released a statement about Sandra’s death last week via social media, writing, “It’s with a heavy heart that I announce that at 12pm today, March 17, 2024, our beloved Senior Pastor Sandra Elaine Crouch transitioned into the arms of the Lord. We as believers know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. We will forever cherish the memories and teachings we received from her.”

Crouch’s life will be celebrated with an April 16 viewing and musical tribute at New Christ Memorial Church, followed by a homegoing service on April 17.