RCA Inspiration is in full prep mode for the release of Anthology Live, the highly anticipated 15th CD from Gospel Music maestro Richard Smallwood The two disc set pairs Smallwood with his celebrated ensemble Vision and features memorable cameos from former Richard Smallwood Singers Dottie Jones (He Won’t Leave You) and R & B song stylist Angela Winbush.
“After nearing the 40 year mark of being in ministry and doing music as a profession, I am elated about this latest work ANTHOLOGY LIVE,” says Smallwood of the release. Anthology hits stores and digital outlets on June 29th.
RCA Inspiration recording artist Donnie McClurkin will pay tribute to Gospel Music legend Pastor Andrae Crouch during the 2015 BET Awards on Sunday, June 28th. The show will air live on BET. Check your local listings for time and channel information in your area.
McClurkin marks 9 years as host of his syndicated Donnie McClurkin radio show as well as getting in gear for the July 19th premiere of the popular BET Sunday Best singing competition. This season’s All Star Show features popular contestants from previous years.
June 26th is the date set for the live recording of GRAMMY-nominated, Stellar and Dove Award-winning inspirational artist Martha Munizzi at Miami’s Metro Life Church. Israel Houghton will return in the producer’s seat for this project along with guest appearance from Anthony Evans. The recording becomes a family affair as the Munizzi children join their mom for this praise and worship experience.
Fo Yo Soul Recordings/RCA announced the signing of WLAK group member and writer, singer, rapper, and producer Christon Gray. In 2014, Gray’s solo album, School Of Roses, debuted in the top 5 on Billboard’s R&B albums chart.
“Christon is one of the most exciting, young voices in urban music today,” says Kirk Franklin. “We are thrilled to be able to partner with him to cultivate his influence in the flourishing Christian Hip Hop market and to expand his platform into the mainstream.”
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers held its 28th annual Rhythm and Soul Awards honoring the songwriters and publishers of the most performed songs on the charts.
In the Gospel category, top honors went to Bart Millard for I Can Only Imagine (as recorded by Tamela Mann). Other award recipients include Smokie Norful (who performed his composition No Greater Love during the evening), William McDowell for Withholding Nothing, Erica Campbell for Help and David Bratton for Every Praise (as recorded by Bishop Hezekiah Walker). A full list of Gospel award recipients can be found here: 2015 ASCAP Top Gospel Songs
Multiple Grammy winner Pastor Shirley Caesar was recently announced as a 2016 recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is the 4th Gospel artist to receive the prestigious honor. Eone VP/GM Phil Thorton shared these sentiments: “Entertainment One Music congratulates Pastor Shirley Caesar on this monumental achievement as an honoree on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for 2016! What a great blessing to be selected for this honor. Pastor Caesar’s incomparable style, personality and lifelong dedication to ministry have continued to impact and influence so many fans around the world, and we are thrilled to celebrate her upcoming 50-year anniversary and deliver new music to come.”
Individually, Lisa Wright and Theresa Bailey have enough credits to set up shop as a writing machines anywhere on the planet. It was their coming together, however that set them on a new path. Lisa was fully involved in the process and making plans to record a solo project. At the behest of her producer, she met with 2012 GMA Immerse Female Songwriter of the Year winner Theresa Bailey to come up with some new material. Upon hearing the musical collaboration, Lisa’s producer was blown away. The end results gave credence to the undeniable fact that the sovereign God had orchestrated this meeting and set these two minstrels on a divine path. AsOne was born.
Now knowing God was in the plans, Lisa and Theresa fully accepted the call and mandate to be shining examples of the message of reconciliation through the power of Jesus Christ. “You have to come to the conclusion that you can do nothing in and of yourself”, states Lisa. “We are here and we are open and ready to be used by God as an interracial duo to impact and bless the nations.” Their sights are set on tearing down boundaries and racial divides to minister the love of God to a hurting world. Fueled by the April release of their ever popular praise anthem and radio single Hero, their 8 song self titled disc produced by Paul Wright hits stores on Tuesday, June 23rd. The CD presents a diverse musical offering drawing from both ladies musical experiences and influences. In addition to Hero, the listener is treated to stellar work from the ladies alongside Lamar Campbell’s Spirit of Praise Choir, Take 6’s Mark Kibble and rapper Da TRUTH.
The second annual Chicago Gospel Music Awards will present lifetime achievement awards to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Mavis Staples, Gospel luminaries Rev. Maceo Woods and Apostle Richard D. Henton in addition to honoring Chicago Gospel singers, songwriters and musicians in eleven categories on Friday, June 19th.
Performances will come from Bishop Larry Trotter and the Sweet Holy Spirit Combined Choirs, Stellar Award winner Tiff Joy, Paul Porter, Chicago Mass Choir and a special performance by the Thompson Community Singers Reunion Choir with special presentations from BET host Dr. Bobby Jones, Bebe Winans and Maurette Brown Clark.
Fountain of Life Records recording artist Ashford Sanders will delight audiences as he hits the stage in the inspirational drama Lord, Why Can’t I Do Right written by Richard Torrence. The Sunday Best Season 5 fan favorite can’t wait to take the stage. “I’m good in the sense that all you have to do is give me a place to sing, but NOW I get a stage, lights, and a band??? You need to watch out and then pray when the music starts I’m able to stay in character. Real talk, we are REALLY going to have a great time.” The play will also feature the comedic stylings of Shelly Garrett (Beauty Shop), comedian Don DC Curry and Dee Dee Simon.
Catch the play in the following cities
June 25th – Clarksdale Civic Center, Clarksdale, Ms
June 26th – Perot Theater, Texarkana, Tx
June 27th – Strand Theater, Shreveport, La
June 28th – Statehouse Convention Center, Little Rock, Arkansas
You cannot mention Chicago Gospel without a mention of the Godfather of Gospel Preaching, the Rev. Clay Evans. For some 5 decades, the What A Fellowship Hour reached thousands of home weekly via radio and television and featured the preaching of Evans and the melodic sounds of the 200 voice Fellowship Baptist Church Choir. We were on hand for his 85th birthday (check out the photos here), and this weekend everyone is all excited as friends from across the country gather to celebrate the 90th.
Producer/Singer/Songwriter and Fountain of Life Records CEO Pharis Evans Jr. (who features his famous uncle on his new single All My Help) shared these sentiments, “Reverend Clay Evans is a religious icon”, says master producer/songwriter and Fountain of Life Records CEO (and nephew) Pharis Evans, Jr. “He is an inspiration to so many. A man of great wisdom, candor and great humor, he motivates us to keep moving and trust God with everything. At 90, he can go into any church, anywhere on the planet on any given Sunday and simply say, “My, My, My” or “Can I get a witness” and the church will go in. ”
Fountain of Life is preparing for the reissue of some early recordings of Rev. Evans and the choir as well as a previously unreleased track. In the meantime, catch the spirit of Fellowship in the following throwback clip.