Grammy nominated gospel singer, writer and producer Troy Sneed, known for uplifting songs such as “The Struggle Is Over,” lost his own struggle with life Monday when he died due to complications from the new coronavirus. He was 52.
“Troy was like a brother to me,” Mike Chandler, CEO of Rejoice! Musical Soul Food radio network told Action News Jax. “He was a businessman. He was a husband; he was a father. He was an industry leader, so it’s not just my loss it’s a loss to the whole industry. He was one of the most talented men in our industry, but more importantly Troy was a good person and he did a lot of good work. The world is going to miss him.”
Sneed, who lived in Perry, Florida, started his music career at Florida A&M University, where he studied education with a minor in music, Billboard reported. Shortly after he graduated he joined the renowned Georgia Mass Choir as assistant minister of music. He would go on to arrange music on the choir’s albums and appeared with them in the 1996 Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston film, “The Preacher's Wife.”
He later created an offshoot of the Georgia Mass Choir called the Youth for Christ Choir which comprised of 300 members between the ages of 12 and 18. In 2005, shortly after Sneed and his wife, Emily, created their own label, Emtro Gospel, Youth for Christ was one of their earliest signings. The Struggle Is Over was the choir’s first album for Emtro in 2006. The title track, which featured gospel vocalist Jonathan Nelson, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Singles chart and was nominated for a Soul Train Music Award. The album won a Stellar Award in 2007 for Children’s Performance of the Year.
Reacting to the news of Sneed’s death Monday, Nelson recalled how the opportunity to work with Sneed on “The Struggle Is Over” changed his life.
“#RIH @troysneed - THANK YOU for giving me a chance. ‘The Struggle is Over’ was 1 of the songs that gave me space in this music biz. You gave me great insight and asst as I was building my platform. Thank you for every connection! As I reminisce, I’m so glad I answered the phone bk in 2004/5 when @iamtrentphillips said u wanted to meet me. God knows exactly who to place in your path. Some1 just called me and said you would always mention my name - wow -after all these years. Thank you TROY! Take your rest man!!” Nelson wrote on Instagram.
Gospel artists Kurt Carr and James Fortune also publicly shared their thoughts on social media about Sneed’s passing.
“The Gospel community has lost a superb talent in Troy Sneed. Keep his wife, family, friends and everyone who was blessed by his music in prayer!” Carr wrote on Twitter.
Televangelist Brian Carn who called Sneed “my producer and friend” said he was a “mastermind” to many in the gospel community.
“This morning I learned the news of the transitioning of my producer and friend, Troy Sneed. What a mixer is to a microphone, and a microphone is to a voice, Troy Sneed was to my music career and so many others,” Carn wrote on Instagram.
“Troy has been the mastermind, producer, and ink pen behind so many of the gospel community’s favorite and most popular songs. We will miss him in the earth, but we are strengthened in the word of God. We are not ignorant concerning them that sleep, and we do not mourn in the same way as them that have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Let us keep his wife (Emily) and family in our prayers for divine strength during this time,” he added.