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Gloria Gaynor: Disco Queen Goes Gospel

When Gloria Gaynor says "God has been so good to me," she wants to make something clear.

"People often think that when you say God has been good to you it means that you've had a wonderful, carefree life," she says. "Not so at all. But I say that because he's brought me through so much unscathed."

Gaynor released a gospel album called Testimony, celebrating her faith through original songs and reimagined versions of classics like "Amazing Grace" and "Take My Hand, Precious Lord." Gaynor drops by World Cafe to perform gospel songs and her classic disco hit "I Will Survive." She first recorded the song while recovering from major spinal surgery after an on-stage fall threatened to leave her paralyzed. At the time, Gaynor was struggling with finances and having trouble with her record label. Gaynor handed copies of "I Will Survive", originally a B-side, to the DJ at Studio 54 and describes how her life changed when the song blew up through the club scene in the late 1970s.

Gaynor explains why "I Will Survive" is still her favorite song to perform. She also sings an a capella version of a song she wrote as a kid to keep herself company when her father wasn't around, and talks about her current work as the spokesperson for the Home Sharing Program. Run by the New York Foundation For Senior Citizens, the program matches adults with extra space in their homes with guests who need a place to live, as long as one of the match mates is over 60. Hear it all in the player.

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