Babbie Mason (b. 1955)
Babbie Mason is an African American contemporary Christian singer-songwriter, author, television talk-show host, and adjunct professor. The former schoolteacher has lived in Georgia since 1980. Her song "All Rise" was one of the most-recorded contemporary Christian songs of the 1990s.
She was born Babbie Yvett Robie Wade in 1955, in Jackson, Michigan, to Georgie and George W. Wade, a Baptist pastor. Her family tree includes at least five generations of preachers, and she, too, embraced service to her church, assuming the roles of church pianist and choir director for the same congregation her father pastored.
Before embarking on a full-time ministry, Mason taught school in Michigan and, after relocating to Georgia in 1980, in Cobb County. In 1984 she left teaching to create her own musical ministry. A year later she was honored with first place in both the songwriting and vocal categories at the Christian Artist Music Seminar in the Rockies, in Estes Park, Colorado. This exposure prompted additional performance opportunities. In 1988 Word Records of Nashville, Tennessee, signed Mason to a recording deal.
Mason soon achieved fame with such chart-topping singles as "Each One, Reach One" and "A World of Difference," and some of her songs have become church standards. Many congregations have incorporated such compositions as "All Rise," "With All My Heart," and "Hallowed Be Thy Name" into their weekly worship services.
With each addition to her discography, Mason has capably blended pop and contemporary praise, inspirational ballads, and soulful gospel. Particularly noteworthy is her 1996 album Heritage of Faith. Mason's arrangement of "Amazing Grace" features excerpted sermon recordings of her late father. Another album highlight is "Stop by the Church," a Sullivan Pugh–penned number that earned Mason a Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association. Her mother joined Mason on this song for a duet.
In 1999 the Brentwood, Tennessee–based record company Spring Hill Music Group added Mason to its roster and released No Better Place. This disc includes "The House That Love Built," a song she cowrote with longtime friend and veteran producer Cheryl Rogers.
Mason had longed to record a 1940s-era project à la Billie Holiday, and Spring Hill granted her wish with Timeless (2001). Highlights of this collection include "Theme on the 37th (He Can Work It Out)," a song written by Danniebelle Hall, an early Mason influence, and "Black and Blue," a poignant reflection on racism that Mason wrote with Turner Lawton.
In addition to her own concert tours, Mason has performed before U.S. presidents, including Jimmy Carter, and sung at Billy Graham's evangelistic crusades. Appearing with Bill and Gloria Gaither and their "Homecoming Friends" at such major annual concert events as Praise Gathering and Jubilate, she has also been featured on several of their best-selling projects, including the Grammy Award–winning Kennedy Center Homecoming (1999). A frequent guest at Christian women's conferences, Mason has been a part of the popular Women of Faith tour.
For aspiring recording artists and songwriters, Mason annually presents her Babbie Mason Music Conference International. She joined the faculty at Atlanta Christian College in East Point and Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, as an adjunct professor teaching songwriting. She also is the author of two books, Treasures of Heaven in the Stuff of Earth (2000) and FaithLift: Put Wings to Your Faith Walk and Soar (2003), and hosts a television talk show, Babbie's House, which is broadcast on WATC in Atlanta as well as nationally and throughout Europe and Africa.
Mason lives in Carroll County with her husband and two sons.