Archive for January, 2014

HeeSun Lee Breaks Stereotypes With Latest CD

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

HeesunLeeHeeSun Lee will declare to you that her life is far from ordinary.  Being put up for adoption in Korea at the age of four months, she was brought to America and raised by Chinese parents in a Christian home.  In the US, she would be exposed to the Hip Hop influences of Will Smith, Tupac and Lauren Hill.  These experiences are the catalyst for her latest CD Stereotypes being released to digital and retail outlets on January 21st via In My City Records.

She credits faith in God and Hip Hop for saving her life and envisions Stereotypes as an evangelism tool.  If there is any doubt to the sincerity and validity of her message, it can be easily refuted in verses from the opening track of her CD: “Every day I’m on a mission now trying to save the lost. I’m never by myself, someone see me take the Cross, devil on my backside, watch me how I shake him off”.  Lee will celebrate the CD release with appearances at the Canyon Music Festival on Friday, January 24th and Saturday, January 26th on the campus of Canyon State University in Phoenix, AZ.

Zacardi Cortez Wows Audiences During Stellar Weekend

Monday, January 20th, 2014

What a weekend it was for Zacardi Cortez. The soulful singer paid tribute to gospel legend Daryl Coley covering the Coley classic Jesus Saves at the annual BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Luncheon and then performed his latest hit “1 on 1” on the 29th annual Stellar Awards on Saturday eve20140120-222330.jpgning. Cortez garnered praise from fans and fellow comrades in the Gospel community.

“Zacardi is the best singer in America today,” says Worldwide Music, Inc. CEO Kerry Douglas. “I have no doubt that he will be one of the biggest artists the gospel world has ever seen.” “1 on 1” is now #1 on this week’s Mediabase Gospel chart and remains at #2 for the sixth week on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart. Cortez’ forthcoming CD “Reloaded” will be released in March.

 

Recap: 29th Annual Stellar Awards

Monday, January 20th, 2014
Seven time 2014 Stellar Awards winner Tamela Mann (Photo Credit: Linximages / The FrontPage Firm

Seven time 2014 Stellar Awards winner Tamela Mann (Photo Credit: Linximages / The FrontPage Firm

Nashville, TN was on fire as the 29th Annual Stellar Awards came into time. This year’s award show was hosted by two comedians who truly love GOD. The View’s, Sherri Shepherd, and Rickey Smiley from The Rickey Smiley Morning Show had the crowd in stitches the entire evening. The night kicked off with Bishop Hezekiah Walker singing, “Every Praise”. The song is still the #1 song at Gospel Radio and the crowds reaction to it explained why. The entire room stood as one big choir and lifted their voice in praise unto GOD. The show was being broadcast live on upTV and the praise in the room was high.  In between commercial breaks Comedian Jonathan Slocumb kept the crowd entertained and warmed up. Central City Productions might want to consider doing a behind the scene of the show as some of the funniest moments happened when the cameras weren’t on. The first award of the night was given to Tye Tribbett for Male Vocalist of the Year. After such a big debut of his latest album  “Greater Than”, and the smash single, “If He Did It Before”, this award was well deserved.

Next up there was an all female lineup that included Lexi, Erica Campbell, LaTice Crawford, and JeKalyn Carr. Lexi started it off singing her two step theme song, “Abide”, and Latice Crawford followed behind with some hot new music. The little vocal powerhouse JeKalyn Carr set the house on fire with her song, “Greater Is Come”. Many marveled at how much vocal power and anointing the young lady had. Perhaps if she had more time, we probably would have went over time as the anointing fell thick. Lastly Erica Campbell took is in with some down home Gospel singing her song, “A Little More Jesus”.  Erica’s sister Tina was her biggest fan in the audience cheering her on.  In between commercial breaks the crowd got a chance to see a sneak peak of the new season of Mary Mary which premiers on February 27th.

Actress Kimberly Elise presented Bishop Hezekiah Walker with the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award. Pastor Joel Osteen appeared via video and sent his congrats to the Bishop. Next the now Stellar Award Winning Anthony Brown and Group Therapy took to the stage to sing his song, “Testimony”. The entire room went into a frenzy when the group added vocal inflections to their hit song. I just happened to be sitting near Anthony’s mother who had the biggest smile on her face as she watched her son minister in song on this national stage.

Now the Stellar Awards would not be complete without a performance from the First Lady of Gospel, Pastor Shirley Caesar. Looking beautiful and never aging Pastor Shirley Caesar sang her song, “God Will Make A Way”. Next Melinda Doolittle and Jason and Jonathan Nelson presented Tasha Cobbs with the UNCF award for “New Artist Of The Year”. Despite their being a mixup of the envelopes, Cobbs graciously accepted the award and thanked her parents.  This proved to be bittersweet as when she returned home from the Awards, her Father suddenly passed away.

There was a special tribute to the late great Nelson Mandela. Kirk Franklin who performed at Mandela’s memorial service talked about this great South Africa leader and how honored he was to be there. Jennifer Holiday, The Original Dreamgirl sang a special song in tribute, delivering a song only the way she can.

Sister Bernice Jenkins made a special appearance to this year’s show and read this years church announcements.  Tamela Mann was presented the Albertina Walker Female Vocalist Of The Year by Kierra Sheard who won the award previously and past Stellar Nominee Anita Wilson.  Next Donald Lawrence and Company took to the stage doing choreography to their single, “The Gift”.  The Tankards from Bravo’s, “Thicker Than Water”, presented Bishop Hezekiah Walker with “Choir Of The Year”. After a successful debut of Azusa: The Next Generation no one was surprised Bishop received this honor.

Isaac Carree gave a unique performance of his song, “Clean This House”. The performance started off with a video that set up the theme of the song. In the video Carree sat a  conference table with this legal team. The team brought up some of the issues the song talks about. Next Carree was on stage in a press conference style setting, setting the record straight through song. Carree’s performance will go down in the Stellar history books as one of the most unique live performances.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was presented with the Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award. This was a well deserved award as Congresswoman Lee works tirelessly for the Gospel music industry in Washington, DC. She was the driving force behind making September: Gospel Music Heritage Month.

For All the quartet fans there was a special performance featuring The Wardlaw Brothers, The Canton Spirituals , and The Gospel Legends. Dr. Bobby Jones presented Reverend Maceo Woods with the Bobby Jones Legends Awards.  Erica Campbell and Tye Tribett presented Anthony Brown and Group TherAPY the award for “Group/DUO of the Year”. Anthony thanked his team and his parents who went into a Baptist fit when his name was called.

When Tasha Cobbs took the stage to sing her hit “Break Every Chain” the atmosphere was immediately charged. Cobbs took the stage and the power of GOD fell strongly in the room.  The Ford “Song Of The Year” was presented to Kirk Franklin for writing Tamela Mann’s smash hit, “Take Me To The King”.

VaShawn Mitchell, Jonathan McReynolds, Zacardi Cortez, and Jonathan Nelson took to the stage singing a medley of their hits. And Lastly Tamela Mann was presented the award for “Artist Of The Year”. A tearful Tamela took to the stage thanking her family and longtime friend Kirk Franklin and all who believed in and pushed her.

 

Full List of Winners 

 

DeWayne Woods Teams Up With PJ Morton, Readies New CD

Monday, January 20th, 2014

DewayneWoodsPromoDeWayne Woods reunites  with PJ Morton for a new radio single fronting a new CD scheduled for a fourth quarter release. Never Be The Same is Woods’ first radio single in three years.  Also announced was a distribution agreement with Central South for the release of his third CD that will feature a collaboration with Mint Condition.

“ P.J. was instrumental in creating a voice for me and he keeps helping to define that voice,” Woods says of the reunion with Morton. “We have such great chemistry like we did on `Let Go.’” The song is positioned for airplay on both Gospel and Urban AC radio formats. “The deal with Central South Distribution is the perfect marriage for Soul Therapy Music Group to make inspirational yet out-of-the-box music,” says Jordan. “And having the opportunity to work with an industry legend like Vicki Mack and a major businessman and salesman like Chuck Adams is just huge.”

 

 

Byron Cage Signs With Charles Jenkins’ Inspired People Music Label

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

f20070914094919-byron_cageIn breaking news announced during Stellar Award Weekend, Chicago’s Pastor Charles Jenkins announced the signing of award winning praise and worship leader Byron Cage to the Inspired People roster.

“Byron Cage is a genuine statesman of Gospel music,” says Pastor Jenkins. “He is an anointed artist and most importantly he is dedicated to God, his people and The Church of Jesus Christ. When charles-jenkins1this opportunity came to me it was a natural fit for our company.

He is a globally revered psalmist, one of the body of Christ’s marquee worship leaders, and a proven voice committed to leading the world in worship to our God while serving beyond the stage. Our team is ecstatic to welcome him as we look forward to serving God’s people together.”

Carlton Jenkins, Vice President of Inspired People Music, says: “We experienced a tremendous amount of success with our Fellowship Chicago project, and it has established the benchmark for what we aim to achieve with every Inspired People project – uplift and inspire the church and the world with God’s message.”

“We are excited to bring Byron Cage into our musical family because it is a partnership that we know will continue to fulfill this vision.”

Larry Blackwell, General Manager and Vice President of Motown Gospel, says:

“Motown Gospel is thrilled to join Pastor Charles Jenkins in welcoming Byron Cage to the Inspired People Music/Motown Gospel family. We’re elated to embrace Byron’s uniquely gifted talents and award winning pedigree to our collective, dynamic array of artists.”

Tracey Artis, CEO of I Hear Music, Inc. and Byron Cage’s manager says:

“I have worked with Pastor Charles Jenkins very closely over the past few years, and I have worked with Byron for more than 25 years. I know that they both have a deep commitment to music, the industry, and moreover, to God, so I thought this would be a great partnership.”

Byron Cage says:

“I am extremely proud of Pastor Charles Jenkins. He is a phenomenal leader in the body of Christ, a people’s pastor whose heart for ministry spills over into everything he does. I believe this is why his music ministry has been so blessed. And I believe this is why his business ventures are so blessed.

Pastor Jenkins has a vision that is firmly planted in God’s Word. I am honored to be part of the Inspired People family, and look forward to breaking boundaries together.”

Daryl Coley & Richard Smallwood Feted at BMI Trailblazers Luncheon

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

BMI Pres nemThe Gospel music industry gathered en masse as Broadcast Music, Incorporated  (BMI) celebrated the music and ministry of Daryl Coley and Richard Smallwood at its 15th annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon. Kirk Tam BMI

Donnie McClurkin was joined this year by Erica Campbell (Mary Mary) as  hosts for the luncheon, along with Del Bryant, BMI President and Catherine Brewton, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Atlanta.  During the celebration, BMI honored Kirk Franklin for penning “Take Me to the King,”  BMI’s Most-Performed Gospel Song of the Year performed by Tamela Mann and appearing on her Billboard chart topping Best Days CD.

 

The musicDonnie and Ericaal tributes were phenomenal and included presentations from  Zacardi Cortez (“Jesus Saves”), Tasha Page-Lockhart (“He’s Preparing Me”), Earnest Pugh (“More Like Jesus”), Floyd Wilkinson (“II Chronicles”), Beverly Crawford (“Can’t Tell It All”) and Jason Nelson (“Sovereign”). Serving as the event’s triumphant finale, the charismatic songs of Richard Smallwood were then celebrated with dynamic performances by Yolanda Adams (“ Total Praise”/“I Love The Lord”), Anaysha Figueroa-CooDaryl BMIper and Timiney Figueroa (“Angel Watching Over Me”), Y’Anna Crawley (“He Won’t Leave You”), Dorinda Clark Cole (“What He’s Done For Me”), Donnie McClurkin (“Jesus Lover of My Soul”/“Center of My Joy”) and Marvin Sapp (“Healing”).

ASCAP Salutes Tye Tribbett, Warryn Campbell & Edwin Hawkins During Stellar Weekend

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

warryncampbelltheindustAs part of its Centennial celebration, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) will honor Gospel Music during Stellar Award weekend at the 5th annual ASCAP Presents: Morning Glory breakfast. While recognizing the 2014 Stellar nominees, the breakfast will also pay tribute to Grammy Award-winning artist Edwin Hawkins with the Gospel Icon Award, and Tye Tribbett and Warryn Campbell with the newly-established Spirit of Song Award.

“We are so excited to honor an amazing group of artists as part of the Morning Glory breakfast. They have made remarkable achievements in music and have inspired so many,” states NicolTyeTribbettFinalCDCoverApril2013[1]e George-Middleton, ASCAP VP, Rhythm & Soul/Urban. “Artists like Edwin Hawkins, Tye Tribbett and Warryn Campbell have produced a legacy that will live on and continue to shape music.”

 

Donald Lawrence, Tamela Mann And Hez Get Nods For Image Awards

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Congrat20140110-195002.jpgs to the GOSPEL nominees for the 45th Annual NAACP Image Awards, taking place February 22, 2014 and airing on TV One.

Outstanding Gospel Album – (Traditional or Contemporary)

“20 Year Celebration Volume 1 – Best For Last” – Donald Lawrence (Quietwater Entertainment/eOne Music)
“Azusa: The Next Generation” – Hezekiah Walker (RCA Inspiration)
“Best Days Deluxe Edition” – Tamela Mann (Tillymann Music)
“Good God” – Shirley Caesar (eOne Music)
“Music From the Motion Picture Black Nativity” – Various (RCA Inspiration

 

SistaFriendz Honors Gospel Women During Stellar Awards

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Toya Beasley, President and CEO of Sista Friendz Organization Giving Welcome

Toya Beasley, President and CEO of Sista Friendz

Making its repeat appearance during Stellar Award week is Toya Beasley’s SistaFriendz Stellar Women of Gospel Awards, celebrating the contributions of female professionals who work “behind-the-scenes” to help bring Gospel Music to the world.

This year, the event will honor Monica Bacon, Founder and President of Sovereign Agency; Dr. Teresa Hairston, Founder and Chair of the Gospel Heritage Foundation; Tomeka B. Holyfield, President and CEO of RCM Media Productions and The HELPPPP Agency; Karen Jackson, Director of Marketing and Artist Development for Motown Gospel; and Gwendolyn Quinn, Founder and President of Gwendolyn Quinn.

Beasley had this to say about the event, “There are an incredible number of exceptional women who are un-sung heroes in the Gospel Music industry, and we produce the only event of its kind where they are honored and celebrated.”

Funeral Arrangements for Dr. Joyce Taylor

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Joyce Taylor FuneralThe Gospel community mourns the passing of Dr. Joyce Taylor, lead singer for the famed Institutional Radio Choir. Known for her fiery, evangelistic vocal delivery, Taylor’s voice  rang out on a number of Institutional’s hits including I Feel The Spirit Moving, If You Hold Out, Let’s Go to the Top of the Mountain, Behold and Come Over Here to Stay Lord.