J.D. Steele: Spreading joy and soul through song

Coming up at 9 a.m. on Tuesday

J.D. Steele performs at Bridge of Song
J.D. Steele performs at a community sing-a-long in Minneapolis in 2016 called "Bridge of Song."
Steven Cohen for MPR News 2016

J.D. Steele doesn’t just walk onto a stage. He bursts onto the stage, mic in hand, full of energy and ready to belt into song. He usually gets his audience to sing along or at least clap and sway in their seat.

Steele is the oldest sibling in the Minnesota gospel group The Steeles. And he’s been making music and spreading soul and joy for 40 years in Minnesota.

Steele toured with “The Gospel at Colonus” with actor Morgan Freeman and on Broadway in 1988. He collaborated with Prince during the 90s. He’s produced, performed and recorded multiple Steeles albums and worked with R&B, soul, gospel and jazz artists like George Clinton, Mavis Staples, Kim Carnes, Fine Young Cannibals and The Sounds of Blackness.

Coming up at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, MPR News host Angela Davis will talk to J.D. Steele about his career and current projects, directing community choirs and inspiring the next generation to sing with soul.


  • J.D. Steele is a singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and choir director known for his work with Prince, as part of the J.D. Steele Singers in “The Gospel at Colonus,” in musical theatre and as a member of the Twin Cities-based vocal group The Steeles.

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment‘s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.