Canzetta Maria “Candi” Staton (/ˈsteɪtən/) (born March 13, 1940 in Hanceville, Alabama) is an American soul and gospel singer, best known in the United States for her 1970 remake of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” and her 1976 disco chart-topper “Young Hearts Run Free”. In Europe, her biggest selling record is the anthemic “You Got the Love” from 1986 released in collaboration with the Source. Staton was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame.
At the age of eleven or twelve, Staton and her sister Maggie were sent to the Jewell Christian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. Her vocal abilities quickly set her apart from the crowd; the school’s pastor teamed the two sisters with a third girl (Naomi Harrison) to form the Jewell Gospel Trio. As teenagers, they toured the traditional gospel circuit in the 1950s with the Soul Stirrers, C. L. Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. They recorded several sides for Nashbro, Apollo and Savoy Records between 1953 and 1963.
Candi Staton onstage at Guilfest 2012.
In 1968, Staton was introduced to Rick Hall by Clarence Carter and launched her solo career as a Southern soul stylist, garnering 16 R&B hits for Rick Hall’s Fame Studios and gaining the title of “First Lady of Southern Soul” for her Grammy-nominated R&B renditions of the songs “Stand by Your Man” and “In the Ghetto”. Staton appeared on the September 23, 1972 edition (Season 2, Episode 1) of Soul Train. In 1976, Staton began collaborating with producer David Crawford on disco songs such as “Young Hearts Run Free”, which reached #1 on the US R&B charts, #2 in the UK Singles Chart and went Top 20 on the Pop Hot 100  during the summer of 1976. It was remixed and re-released in 1986 reaching the UK Top 50. Follow up song “Destiny” hit the Top 50 in the UK. Candi’s version of “Nights on Broadway” hit the UK Top 10 in 1977; it had been a US Billboard hit for the Bee Gees over a year before. In 1978, she scored another Top 50 hit in the UK with “Honest I Do I Love You”. In 1979, from her album “Chance” Staton released album single “When You Wake Up Tomorrow” (co-written by Patrick Adams and Wayne K. Garfield) and the title song “Chance”, a TOP 20 R&B charted record. Other Dance club chart hits included “When You Wake Up Tomorrow” and “Victim”. In 1982, Candi again hit the UK chart with a version of Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds”. In 1997, singer Kym Mazelle recorded “Young Hearts Run Free” for the film adaption of Romeo and Juliet.
In 1982, Staton returned to gospel music. She married her fourth husband, John Sussewell (drummer for Ashford & Simpson and also Dory Previn’s sixth album). Together they founded Beracah Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia with help from Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s PTL Ministries. She has since recorded eight gospel albums, two of which received Grammy Award nominations.