Daryl Coley was born in Berkeley, California in 1955, spending his formative years in Oakland, California. His parents separated when he was five years old, with he and his two siblings being raised by his mother in a solid Christian home. Musically, Coley was first influenced by his mother. Daryl stated, “In my house there was gospel, classical and jazz. I had that kind of musical influence.” During his childhood, he learned to play clarinet and piano.
In 1968, when Edwin Hawkins released “Oh Happy Day”, the contemporary arrangement caught Coley’s ear. In December 1969, at the age of 13, Coley first heard Helen Stephens And The Voices Of Christ, and by February of the next year had become a member of the nationally acclaimed ensemble. During his high school years, Coley was a student of Phillip Reeder, choir director at the school. Reeder helped Coley broaden his musical boundaries and even influenced him to advance to college. Coley’s career advanced further as he pursued studies in college; being a top student, working toward a business degree, and even assisting in teaching college courses. However, when things began to open up musically, Coley took a break from his studies. Main Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Patti Labelle & Daryl Coley - Will You Be There [Michael Jackson NAACP] HQ
There was a point in his life when Daryl Coley’s soul was divided. Should he join the ranks of secular artists or should he devote his talent exclusively to the less glitzy but spiritually satisfying gospel arena? After a long period of soul-searching, Coley chose the latter path. More than a decade later, the 40-year-old singer and pastor is certain he made the right decision.
Until that fateful choice, Coley had been splitting his time between praise singing and working with jazz and R&B artists like Nancy Wilson and Ramsey Lewis. But entry to the pop world was opened to him because of his increasing prominence in gospel music; as a teenager, he sang with nonsecular superstar Edwin Hawkins. That Coley was initially drawn to both idioms is no surprise considering his background. As a youth in Oakland, he was exposed to black jazz and white classical music. And because he grew up in a devoutly Christian home, gospel music was an essential part of his musical–and moral–development. Secondary Source: Metroactive Arts