Gladys Knight was born May 28, 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the third of four children. Gladys was raised Baptist in a very gospel centered home. Throughout her life she worshiped Jesus Christ and strived to grow closer to Him.
Gladys is foremost a mother. After watching her children, Jimmy Newman and Kenya Jackson, become faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, she decided to investigate the church herself. In 1997, she was baptized by her son Jimmy and she stated “I feel so blessed because my son held the priesthood and was able to baptize me. It is such a precious thing to me. I was overjoyed”.
After joining the Church, Gladys was then invited to perform at President Hinkley’s (LDS Prophet) Birthday celebration, where she mentioned to him, during a humorous interchange, that the LDS music needed a little “zip”. This inspired her to create the Saints Unified Voices, an all-volunteer, multicultural LDS choir that would bring a new level of energy and cultural awareness to traditional hymns.
Gladys continues to share her testimony through music as a “Worldwide Missionary” for the LDS church. She does so with the support and love of her family. She married, William McDowell in 2001, and has found great joy in growing in the gospel together. Her daughter, Kenya Jackson and granddaughter, Aria-Love Jackson have management roles in the SUV choir organization. They both share Gladys’ commitment to spreading the gospel. Gladys has learned much about missionary work from her four grandsons (Rishawn, Stefan, Sterling & Aaron), whom have all served honorable missions. She is elated that her family has testimonies and strives to live the true gospel principles. Gladys currently has 16 grand-children, 9 great-grandchildren with more on the way.