Contemporary Gospel

52ND ANNUAL GMA DOVE AWARD NOMINEES ANNOUNCED

ELEVATION WORSHIP, FOR KING & COUNTRY, BRANDON LAKE, CECE WINANS AND ZACH WILLIAMS LEAD NOMINATIONS The GMA Dove Awards in-person Nashville event will be held October 19th and will air exclusively on TBN, Friday, October 22nd, 2021 8:00p.m. ET and 10:00p.m. ET Nashville, Tenn. (August 11, 2021) – The Gospel Music Association is pleased to announce nominees for the 52nd Annual GMA Dove Awards. Top nominations include Steven Furtick with ten (10) nominations, Chris Brown with nine (9), Wayne Haun with eight (8), seven (7) nominations each for Elevation Worship and Brandon Lake, six (6) to for KING & COUNTRY ...

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Kisha Grandy – Epitome

Kisha Grandy Epitome K.J. Productions (release date: June 22, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Epitome is a solo album by actor and singer Kisha Grandy, an alumna of Kirk Franklin and the Family going back to the group’s debut album in 1993. Indeed, it’s a Kirk Franklin reunion of sorts, as the album’s solitary churchy track, Jessy Dixon’s “God is Standing By” (popularized by Walter Hawkins), finds Grandy in a fiery duet with Family alumna “Mother” Sheila Brice. The background vocalists support the two on the drive-tempo vamp that could have kept on going. “More Than Ever,” featuring Family member ...

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Travis Greene – Oil & Water

Travis Greene Oil & Water RCA Inspiration (release date: August 20, 2021) www.rcainspiration.com By Robert M. Marovich Listening to Travis Greene’s Oil & Water reminds me of a quote ascribed to hymnist John Newton: “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.” On multi-Grammy Award nominee Greene’s new studio album, and particularly on its title track (with Anthony Hamilton), ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 9, 2021

“Amazing” Pastor Mike Jr. Blacksmoke Music Worldwide (release date: July 30, 2021) www.pastormikejr.com By Robert M. Marovich Pastor Mike McClure Jr., better known as Pastor Mike Jr., the 2021 Stellar Awards Artist of the Year and gospel music’s current It Guy, cleverly gospelizes Gnarls Barkley’s 2006 smash hit “Crazy” as “Amazing.” Amazingly, it works. To a chill arrangement and with ample support from a full-throated choir of background vocalists, Pastor Mike Jr. takes his time with the famous melody. He stretches the tension to the breaking point, then lets the choir handle the finish. Expect groups around the country to ...

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“People of Light” – Ritasoul

“People of Light” Ritasoul A4 Music Records (release date: June 8, 2021) http://www.praisecamp.com.ng By Robert M. Marovich From time to time, JGM likes to find interesting songs from Africa, where gospel music is vibrant, and present them here. “People of Light” is one. This beautifully-produced and stirring anthem calls on believers to join forces as an army of good and let their light shine “like never before.” It is led by Ritasoul, a Nigerian singer whose commanding soprano is fortified by a team of tight musicians and background vocalists who literally sound like the army she calls forth. Relevant words ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 2, 2021

“Still Faithful” Christina Bell feat. Fred Hammond From the Malaco Music Group CD Still Faithful (release date: July 30, 2021) www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich With or without assistance from gospel legend Fred Hammond, “Still Faithful” is former Z’iel member Christina Bell’s best solo single yet. To a lilting melody, Bell declares on the title track of her new album that regardless of the day’s pains and tragedies, and there are many, don’t worry, God is there for you. Hammond is in full agreement, grateful that God prevented potential problems from happening in his life. In true gospel song fashion, ...

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Various Artists – Gospel Songs by Lee Hawkins, Volume One

Various Artists Gospel Songs by Lee Hawkins, Volume One Devine Jamz (release date: July 2021) www.devinejamz.net By Robert M. Marovich Here’s something you don’t see that often: an “…and then I wrote” compilation of gospel and praise & worship songs. Produced, arranged, and composed by award-winning songwriter Lee Hawkins, by day a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Gospel Songs Volume One is a collection of well-produced demos of eight Hawkins songs delivered by young and talented artists. Hawkins’ thoroughly contemporary compositions are unvarying, introspective, serious, lyrical, melodic, and with a hint of classical influence. For example, both the unplugged and ...

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“Begin Again” – Tevis Harris & faVor

“Begin Again” Tevis Harris & faVor (release date: January 11, 2021) www.tevisharris.com By Robert M. Marovich “Begin Again” by Dr. Tevis Harris and faVor is a lovely song with a message that is inspirational but also steeped in Scripture. The melody and arrangement have an easy, heart-tugging 1980s Peabo Bryson vibe that fits perfectly with the lyrical declarations of starting over. And on top of that, the group declares, God is calling you to begin again. Midway through, Harris is joined by fellow Rocky Mount, North Carolina, native Wanda Barnes of the famous Barnes Family. faVor, a group of Harris’s ...

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“Survivor” – Mika Morrow

“Survivor” Mika Morrow Cardo Morrow Records (release date: April 30, 2021) www.MikaMorrowMusic.com By Robert M. Marovich “Survivor,” the new single from singer-songwriter Tamika (Mika) Morrow, has a message for these times: no matter what you’re going through, you’re still here because God made you strong. Pop inflections permeate this song, from the percussive piano backing and the intense melody to Morrow’s sweet-to-stentorian delivery. At times, the vocal track seems a little too separated from the rhythm track but regardless, gospel music proves to be a music about resilience.

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“Thank You” – Felica Welch

“Thank You” Felica Welch D’MAKK Entertainment (release date: May 29, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Veteran Chicago Mass Choir alumna Felica Welch debuts “Thank You,” her new single under the D’MAKK Entertainment imprint. Welch gives this well-produced and lovely ballad of gratitude an even-handed reading, her pleasant and melodic voice reminiscent of Gloria Estefan. She provides the song just the right amount of spiritual passion. “Thank You” was written by D’MAKK founder Angela Frazier, who also wrote Leah Oduro-Kwarten’s 2018 “He Worked It Out.” Produced by David Davis. Restful and enchanting.

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