By Mark Chappelle Coston at Elev8.com
This year’s ceremony for the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards was touted as the most exciting ceremony in years, drawing in more than 25 millions viewers. However, unless those viewers visited Grammy.com, they probably didn’t find out about the latest pack of winners in the Gospel music field (most awards are presented in an earlier ceremony that isn’t televised). However, the honor is no less prestigious and we celebrate with these artists who are being recognized worldwide. Check out some of the highlights from this winners in this field:
Best Gospel Performance:
“Wait On The Lord” – Donnie McClurkin featuring Karen Clark Sheard
Donnie McClurkin previously won three Grammy awards. After much too long a delay, Karen Clark Sheard finally won two Grammy awards with her sisters Jacky, Dorinda, and Twinkie, plus an additional Grammy for being the writer of their song “Blessed and Highly Favored.” This should provide a nice momentum for Karen as her new album All In One is slated to be released on April 6, 2010.
Best Gospel Song:
“God In Me” – Mary Mary featuring Kierra “Kiki” Sheard
No one is surprised by the latest award netted by the ladies of Mary Mary. The Campbell sisters have a knack for penning melodies that are as loved in church as they are outside of it. This time, they struck gold with their swag-accessible anthem of praise “God In Me.” Although Clark heiress Kierra Sheard is a featured artist on the song, the Grammy award only goes to its songwriters Erica, Tina, and Warryn Campbell. Their The Sound album has already won them one Grammy for Best Gospel Performance with the lead single “Get Up.” Also, their debut album Thankful won them the Grammy for Best Contemporary Gospel Album the same year it was released.
Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album:
“The Power Of One” – Israel Houghton
Israel Houghton is no stranger to the Grammy awards. He’s won twice before for his albums Alive in South Africa and A Deeper Level, both with his group New Breed. This most recent win is Israel’s first win as a solo artist. I’d also like to take this opportunity to wave a good-natured “I told you so” in the face of Israel’s naysayers (of which their shouldn’t be many). I won’t repeat my reasons here, but I gushed about this release which topped my list of the Best Gospel Albums in 2009.
Best Traditional Gospel Album:
“Oh Happy Day” – Various Artists
Based on sheer star power alone, it’s no wonder Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration beat out stiff competition from Vickie Winans and Donald Lawrence in the Traditional Gospel category. The album invited multiracial artists from varied denominational backgrounds and musical styles to perform traditional Gospel songs and Gospel-themed pop songs. Among the guests who made this collection shine were The Clark Sisters, Jon Bon Jovi, Al Green, Heather Headley, Queen Latifah, Angelique Kidjo, Michael McDonald, Joss Stone, Robert Randolph, 3 Doors Down, and many more.
Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album:
“Audience of One” – Heather Headley
The most fantastic upset of the year comes courtesy of Heather Headley’s hard fight to claim the Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album. Heather was this year’s “dark horse,” as Audience of One is only her first album as a gospel artist. Her pedigree as the Tony Award-winning Broadway star of The Lion King, didn’t stop her from launching a respectable career as an R&B singer against the odds. Apparently against-the-odds is Heather’s specialty, because again, even with established gospel favorites Sheri Jones-Moffett, J. Moss, Smokie Norful, and Kierra Sheard as her competition, this preacher’s daughter from Trinidad takes home top honors.