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He later recalled that people in his neighborhood during segregation sang gospel songs throughout the day to keep a positive outlook, because "there was so much poverty, so much prejudice in those days".
Little Richard sold Coca-Cola to crowds during concerts of star performers of the day, such as Cab Calloway, Lucky Millinder and his favorite singer, Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
On October 27, 1947, Sister Rosetta Tharpe heard 14-year-old Little Richard singing two of her gospel recordings before her concert at Macon City Auditorium.
He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
His mother recalled how Richard was "always musical" and that when he was young, he would always "beat on the steps of the house, and on tin cans and pots and pans, or whatever", while singing.
While in high school, Little Richard obtained a part-time job at Macon City Auditorium for local secular and gospel concert promoter Clint Brantley.
Little Richard's initial musical influences were gospel performers such as Brother Joe May, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Mahalia Jackson and Marion Williams.
May, who as a singing evangelist was known as "the Thunderbolt of the Middle West" because of his phenomenal range and vocal power, inspired the boy to become a preacher. His musical talent, however, was recognized there when he learned to play the alto saxophone.
Little Richard's family was highly religious, joining various A. E., Baptist and Pentecostal churches, with some family members becoming ministers.