Nashville, TN— The nominees for the 27th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, gospel music’s biggest night of the year, were revealed October 28, in a special one-hour live telecast from Nashville’s NorthStar Studios, “The Stellar Awards Nomination Concert and Announcements” on Atlanta-based GMC Network. The Stellar Gospel Music Awards is the first and only annual nationally-televised awards show honoring African American gospel music artists. With nominations revealed in twenty-nine categories, emerging gospel star Vashawn Mitchell led this year’s nominees, earning an impressive ten nods for his work on his 2011 release Triumphant, including “Artist of the Year” and “Male Vocalist of the Year.” Veteran superstars Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin tied with six nods for their respective projects Something Big and Hello Fear. Groundbreaking artist Deitrick Haddon’s latest CD, Church on the Moon, earned five nominations.
In addition to the individual nominations of the top artists, their team members also scored nominations for the projects: Director Christian Heuer received a nomination for Mary Mary’s music video, Walking, and Warryn Campbell received a nomination for Producer of the Year for Mary Mary’s album Something Big; Songwriter Darius Paulk received a nomination for Nobody Greater, sung by Vashawn Mitchell; and Denise Trotman and Greg Gilligan received a nomination for the recorded music packaging on Kirk Franklin’s Hello Fear. The live announcement show was led by the evening’s hosts, Christian comic Akintunde and Stellar Award-winning gospel artists Trin-i-tee 5:7. They were joined by Isaac Carree, William McDowell, Y’anna Crawley and Brian Courtney Wilson, who delivered stirring performances. Additionally, Stellar Award-winning artist James Fortune made a surprise guest appearance. The show’s producers, Central City Productions Founder/Chairman Don Jackson stated, “Last year marked our first live nominee announcement on the GMC television network and today’s show was another huge success! It is very appropriate and fitting to celebrate the nominees of Gospel’s biggest night through praise and worship because everyone is a winner here today.” The 27th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards Show will be hosted this year by gospel legends Dorinda Clark Cole and Marvin Sapp and taped before a live audience on Saturday, January 14, 2012. The telecast is scheduled to air in national syndication from January 21, 2012 to February 26, 2012 on the GMC and local markets around the country. The show will feature star-studded performances by James Fortune, Kirk Franklin, Jessica Reedy, Earnest Pugh, Richard Smallwood and Vision, Martha Munizzi, LeAndria Johnson, Lecrae, Canton Jones, Kim Burrell, Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Fred Hammond and Ricky Dillard among others. In addition to recognizing the year’s most outstanding contributions in the genre, The Stellar Awards also bestow special honors upon individuals whose names are synonymous with greatness throughout distinguished careers in the gospel arena. During this year’s ceremony, Vy Higginsen, founder of Gospel for Teens will be recognized with the Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award; Dorothy Norwood will receive the Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legend Award; and John P. Kee will receive the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award for his historical contributions to the industry. Other special categories were also revealed, highlighting the top radio stations serving urban Gospel music audiences. Public Voting for the Gospel Announcer of the Year and Internet Radio Station of the Year will be available online from October 29, 2011 through November 15, 2011 by visiting www.thestellarawards.com. Viewers can also log on to Facebook.com/stellarawards and follow Twitter.com/@TheStellars for show updates. The live taping at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, TN is open to the public. For additional details, visit the Stellar Awards website (http://www.thestellarawards.com/). In related news, the Gospel Music Channel renewed its agreement to broadcast the Stellar Awards through 2014 as part of a long-term deal announced Friday between the two parties. GMC has telecast the Stellars since 2009. Additionally, the network will also air the live Stellar nominations in 2012 and 2013. Chicago-based Central City Productions, Inc. (CCP) has produced The Stellar Gospel Music Awards for 26 years. The first show was taped at the Arie Crown Theatre in Chicago and The Stellar Awards has since evolved into a premier Gospel event recognizing and honoring African American artists. An original awards show, it has propelled and showcased top Gospel artists and countless television and film stars. The ever-expanding roster of celebrity appearances on the Stellar Awards has included such notable personalities asLou Gossett, Jr., Oprah Winfrey, The Winans, Clifton Davis, Yolanda Adams, Vicki Winans, Tyler Perry, Aretha Franklin, Idris Alba, Kirk Franklin, Hezekiah Walker and countless others. “Once again we have an amazing lineup for the 27th Annual Stellar Awards,” said Stellar Awards Producer Barbara Wilson. “As Producer of this show for over 25 years, I am constantly inspired by the wealth of talent out there. My mission is to continue to produce a show that not only entertains our viewers, but touches their souls in a way that only gospel music can do.”