Son of the late recording artist Reverend Benjamin Cone Jr., Benjamin “Benji” Cone III is a singer, worship leader and founder and manager of the gospel choir Worship.
Born in 1974 in Jackson, Mississippi, Cone formed Worship in the living room of his Jackson home in March 1997. The 12-member choir initially sang a cappella because none of its members played instruments. Worship quickly grew to 25 singers and eventually added musicians, including Cone’s teenaged son, Christian Jean-Michael, on drums.
Today, the 30-member Worship performs traditional gospel, spirituals and contemporary pieces. Its debut full-length CD, When Praise Meets Worship, was issued in October 2013 on Malaco’s Muscle Shoals Sound imprint. It produced gospel radio singles My Hands are Lifted Up, The Race and You Just Don’t Know How the Lord Brought Me Out.
In addition to its own CD, Worship has served as the background choir on recordings by Malaco gospel artists Dorothy Norwood, Carolyn Traylor, Bryan Andrew Wilson, Lillian Lilly and others. The ensemble appeared on the late Rev. James Moore’s final recording, Live in Detroit—Family and Friends, and on the Messengers’ live recording Special Delivery. The 32nd Annual Mississippi Gospel Music Awards named Worship Local Choir of the Year.
Alongside his duties with Worship, Cone continues his father’s legacy as spiritual advisor, associate director, songwriter and soloist with the Mississippi Mass Choir. His declarative voice can be heard leading the Mississippi Mass Choir’s hit, God Made Me, from its 2010 album Then Sings My Soul. Cone is also Coordinator of Music and Arts for West Point Baptist Church in nearby Hattiesburg
—Robert M. Marovich