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Deleon Richards is an American gospel singer. She is the wife of baseball player Gary Sheffield. DeLeon Richards was a child star in the gospel music industry.
Deleon, the youngest artist ever signed to a major Gospel label, has been singing professionally for almost a lifetime. Recording, writing and co-producing with some of the biggest in the music industry, Jeffrey "J Dub" Walker of Dub’s World Production, Jerry Peters, Brian McKnight, Tim Miner, Percy Bady, Tonex, Warren Campbell, Raymond Tisdale w/Tisway Productions, and Fred Hammond, all having a great influence in her musical career.
Born in the suburbs of Chicago, Deleon started singing at the age of 5 before 20,000 people at a Chicago Gospel Festival. She has performed for numerous political and religious figures, including President Ronald Reagan. At age 9, she became the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Grammy: the previous record-holder was Michael Jackson.
In the early 1980s, Deleon was the youngest Gospel artist ever signed with a major recording company. She toured for the first time at age five, opening in Japan for the Mighty Clouds, which sparked the beginning of her musical travel throughout the U.S., Germany, Europe, Asia, West Indies, etc., as well as regular concert performances for the military and USO.
1986 was the beginning of the exciting film and television career, making numerous appearances on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, The 700 Club, NBC, CBS, ABC, WGN, and a variety of cable networks. Deleon studied voice with Chicago music teacher Sandra Leconte in her teen years. In 1990 she was cast in ABC's short-lived television drama Brewster Place, based on the 1989 miniseries The Women of Brewster Place.
Deleon has been featured in several national magazines including People, Sports Illustrated, In Style, Ebony, and Billboard. She won the Gospel Music Workshop of America Award for Excellence and was nominated for a Stellar Award.
Deleon has shared the stage with Patti LaBelle, Shirley Caesar, Lou Rawls, The Winans, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Sandi Patti, Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams, Al Green, Joni Eareckson Tada, and many others.
Deleon writes much of her own music and is President of her own company, DeMari Publishing and Entertainment, Inc. She also supports the Gary Sheffield Foundation, founded by her husband; New York Mets outfielder Gary Sheffield. Deleon sang the National Anthem at game 5 of the New York Knicks/Toronto Raptors Playoff Game held at Madison Square Garden. Most recently, she performed at RFK Stadium to a crowd of 80,000 people at the Bobby Jones Gospel Fest.