Troy Sneed, the iconic Grammy-nominated gospel singer, has died at the age of 52 following a battle with coronavirus. Sneed is survived by his wife, Emily, and the couple’s four children, Troy Jr., Evany, Trey and Tyler.
Sneed’s death was confirmed by his friend, radio personality KD Bowe. Bowe wrote in an Instagram post on April 27, “I don’t know how to make sense of this. I’m not ok, man. Covid19 sucks. Will y’all please pray for Emily & the kids? Please? RIH, King. Or walk around it … all day. #RIPTroySneed.”
Sneed Got His Start Singing in the Choir at Florida A&M
Sneed was a native of Perry, Florida, a town located 50 miles southeast of Tallahassee, and was a graduate of Florida A&M. Sneed got his start in music singing in the school’s choir at major events such as football games. During his time at the school, Sneed became the choir director, according to his official Facebook page.
Sneed had been a high school football star but his career had been cut short due to an injury. Sneed told Deep Roots magazine in a May 2013 interview that he suffered knee and ACL injuries during his freshman year. In the same interview, Sneed spoke about his first choir rehearsal, saying, “That tragedy was a new beginning for me. I went to my first choir rehearsal. Wow! Look at all these girls! This is where I need to be!’”
In that interview, Sneed spoke about his musical influences, saying, “I listen to all kinds of music, from country to classical. I’m a fan of Luther Vandross, DeBarge, the Isley Brothers. Those ’70s and ’80s artists, that’s where I am, so you’ll hear a lot of those influences, that old-school R&B groove, in my music.”
After graduation, Sneed went into teaching. Sneed was a teacher at Jacksonville Beach Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida, before he launched his music career.
Sneed Released His First Solo Album in 1999
Sneed released his first solo album, Call Jesus, in 1999. Prior to that, Sneed sang with the Georgia Mass Choir. Sneed had been spotted by the choir’s director while he performed with his college choir during an event in Los Angeles. Sneed’s second album, Bless That Wonderful Name, came out in 2001. Sneed followed that up with A State of Worship, his first to chart on Billboard’s gospel charts.
Together with his wife, Emily, he ran two record labels, Emtro Records and T-Sneed Records. Sneed told Deep Roots in May 2013 that he met his wife in the Florida A&M choir. After the founding of the label, Sneed’s solo musical output slowed until the release of 2010’s My Heart Says ‘Yes!’
Despite His Success, Sneed Said in 2013 That He Still Suffered From Nervousness Before Shows
Sneed told Jacksonville.com in a 2013 interview that despite his success and hundreds of performances over the years, he still got nervous before shows. Sneed said, “When you see people getting blessed by the music, it’s all worth it. God knows there’s a need for the music. As long as Sunday comes, we’re OK. And we always need new music that will fit the worship experience.”