- Horace J. Maxile Jr.
(b Oakland, CA, May 18, 1949; d Ripon, CA, July 11, 2010). American gospel songwriter and singer. Walter Hawkins is celebrated by gospel musicians and audiences for his passionate voice, gripping song interpretations, and enduring compositions. Although his first solo album was released in 1972, he was already contributing cutting-edge developments in gospel music—he sang in the recording choir for Edwin Hawkins’s classic song “Oh Happy Day.” Hawkins founded the Love Center Church (Oakland, CA) in 1973 and the choir recorded their first album Love Alive in 1975. This album was the first of a series of Love Alive recordings: Love Alive II (1978), Love Alive III (1982), Love Alive IV (1989), and Love Alive V (1998). This series contains a number of his notable and popular gospel songs such as “Changed,” “Goin’ Up Yonder,” “Be Grateful,” “Thank You,” and “Marvelous.” Active as a songwriter, producer, and developer of young talent through the 1980s and 90s, Hawkins released six other albums during his recording career and collaborated with a number of gospel artists including John P. Kee, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, and Richard Smallwood. Hawkins’s influence and artistry connected with more urban-contemporary audiences in the 21st century through his featured appearance with Donald Lawrence (“Seasons” on ...