Norman Holland passes away

Long-time Southern Gospel executive Norman Holland passed away yesterday of heart failure. In his role as A&R Director with Riversong, Chapel, and Daywind, he guided and helped shape the careers of many of Southern Gospel’s leading artists. 

He entered the Southern Gospel industry in 1980, and rose through the ranks until he reached the position of Vice President and A&R of Daywind Records. He held that position for sixteen years, through his retirement last year.  Though Holland’s impact was behind the scenes, it was massive. Countless colleagues have posted tributes to him, including these:

  • “There may never be another who cares for artists like Norman Holland did. He was an innovative and dedicated employee. This is a heartbreaking loss.” —Ed Leonard, President of Daywind
  • “The wonderful memories of working and sharing life with Norman for 16 years are precious. I will cherish them as I cherished him.” —Dottie Leonard Miller, Founder of Daywind
  • “Norman and I had a great working relationship for 27 years, but more importantly, he was one of my closest friends. His laughter was contagious, and his larger-than-life, magnetic personality always lit up any room he was in. Gospel Music has lost one of its most innovative and influential behind-the-scenes personalities, and I have lost a friend. But not for long. I know where he is.” —Gerald Wolfe
  • “So sad to hear of Norman Holland’s passing. He was such a sweet man. We will miss you, Norman.” —Wes Hampton
  • “Our hearts are broken today to learn of the passing of our great friend, Norman Holland. He was sooo much more than just our A&R director for years, but he was a true friend!” —The Perrys
  • “All of us at the Harper Agency are deeply saddened to hear about the untimely passing of our dear friend Norman Holland. At one time or another over the last 32 years, Norman worked with nearly all of the artists our agency currently represents and those in years past as an A & R director. He loved the music the artists sang and the God they all sang about. He was a true friend to the gospel music community and loved by all of us.” —The Harper Agency
  • “Please pray for his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.” —Mark Lowry

UPDATE, 6:45 P.M.: A Daywind press release offers the following information on funeral arrangements: “Funeral services for Norman will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 15th, 2014, with visitation taking place from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. that day.  The funeral and visitation will take place at Sorrell’s Funeral Home, 2744 W Magnolia Ave, Geneva, Alabama, 36340, Phone:(334) 684-9999.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Norman Holland Memorial Fund c/o Norman’s sister, Edith Brown, 1209 Glenwood Street, Dothan, Alabama, 36301.  The balance of the fund after funeral expenses will be donated to the Gospel Music Trust Fund. There will be a memorial service in honor of Norman held in Nashville within the next month.”

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10 Letters to the Editor

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  1. I met Norm in 1984 and during that time had the honor to have filled in with the Singing Americans for 2 weeks. Even just being a fill in Norm made me feel like part of the family by giving me a Riversong T – shirt and a Jacket that I still have. When getting to see him off n on through the years he never forgot me and always called me by name. He did as much for gospel music as anybody I’ve ever known. He had a genuine love for the music and people involved.

  2. Daniel, for those of us outside of the industry, can you tell us what an A & R Director is and does.

    • Sure, and no problem. I actually explained it in the post, when I said what he did, but I wasn’t clear that I was explaining what an A&R Director does. A record label includes all sorts of staffers; people who handle royalties, people who handle the overall company finances, people who work in physical and digital distribution, people who work in radio promotions, people who work in publicity/marketing, and the like. The A&R (artists & repertoire) person is an artist’s main contact with their label. As such, A&R will negotiate contracts, be the main point person for crafting a release schedule and sometimes marketing plan, and often provide crucial strategic advice to the artist through their career.

  3. Wow. This is really a shock. I didn’t know him well…I shook his hand maybe a time or two, that was it. His personality made a great impression on me, though. As an employee of a radio station, I remember seeing him beaming with pride and love for this music as he handed out awards for number 1 songs at Daywind’s DJ-only NQC event. They all called him the “gentle giant.” As Gerald said, he will be missed. But, praise God, not for long.

  4. I read about Norman Holland passing away and looked up the oboit on the funeral home’s website and it dosn’t have it posted. Sorrell’s Funeral Home Geneva, AL. Was he married or have a family. That would be interesting to know as well. Ir wasn’t mentioned on the other sites either. Thanks

    • I was wondering that too, Ann. I’ve been checking the funeral home website, but no updates. Sometimes small-town funeral homes are slow about posting information, but you would think they would have it together by now.

    • Norman had never been married. His sister handled the funeral arrangements. Both his parents and his brother had passed away in the past few years.

  5. Sorry for the family and friends who lost this God loving man. He will be missed I’m sure. They are in my thoughts and prayers as they celebrate his life and eternal peace, health and rest in the arms of our Savior.