ROUNDTABLE: The 2011 Stellar Award Nominations (December 2010)

The annual Stellar Awards are always an opportunity to debate, discuss and reflect on the year's past set of Gospel music. Everyone has an opinion, and that's no different for our own esteemed panel of Gospel enthusiasts. In this session, Gerard Hall, Gerard Bonner, Martin Williams, Dwayne Lacy and Nakiyah Hayling offered up their opinions. (Drop us a line to let us know if you agree or disagree with them.) Let the discussion begin!

The questions to address are:
  • How well did this year's Stellar Award nominations represent the preferences of gospel music consumers?

  • What's your take on this year's re-emergence of Gospel legends such as BeBe & CeCe Winans and Fred Hammond, with their demonstrated continued success and staying power after all of these years?

Roundtable PanelistsBio
Photos Gerard Hall : is a Virginia native, and serves as the choir director for both Virginia Tech's Enlightened Gospel Choir and the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship State of Virginia. Gerard attends the Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Chesapeake VA under the leadership of Bishop K. W. Brown. .
Photos Martin Williams: is Entertainment and Sports Marketing major at American Inter Continental University in Atlanta and blogs for Gospel Music Channel's "G-Beat". He has travelled with Canton Jones and attends World Changers Church International, where he sings in the Music Department.
Photos Dwayne Lacy: is a Gospel music enthusiast extraordinaire, residing in Houston, and immersing himself in the city's Gospel scene. His particular interests lie in Holy Hip Hop and the various diverse cross-over genres that Gospel music has spawned. Dwayne is a teacher in the city's public school system.
Photos Gerard Bonner has been with GOSPELflava.com from its beginnnings. Based in Virgina, Gerard founded and operates the internet radio station, Bonnerfide, and is also a Gospel music photographer.
Photos Nakiyah Hayling: resides in New York City and serves as a praise & worship leader, youth leader, and choir director at her local assembly. She authors blog entitled "Kya's thoughts", which addresses life lessons and tools for personal enrichment as a modern day Christian.

How well did this year's Stellar Award nominations represent the preferences of gospel music consumers?

Nakiyah Hayling: I believe that the nomination choices are reflective of those that purchase gospel music; they also indicate which artists have massive appeal amongst the gospel community and beyond. Considering Marvin Sapp's amazing success with his latest project, I was not at all surprised that he was nominated. JMoss and Byron Cage delivered wonderful albums that deserved recognition. Forever Jones is quickly becoming a favorite of many gospel music lovers; they definitely deserved a nod for their project. Many music lovers raved about Israel Houghton's Love God, Love People album and part of the beauty of that project can undoubtedly be attributed to super producer Aaron Lindsey.

Martin Williams: You know, Nakiyah brought up a great point when she talked about the success of Pastor Marvin Sapp and others. I think one item that needs to be taken into account is the amount of albums that were released during the qualification period. We saw some of the frontrunners in Gospel come back and release projects all around the end of third
The 2011 Stellar Award Nominations
The nominations for the 26th Annual Stellar Awards were announced on October 23, 2010 from Nashville, Tennessee.

See full List of 2011 Stellar Nominations .

quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. Tuesday was becoming everyone's favorite day of the week because there was always something new and exciting being released. In Pastor Marvin Sapp's case, he came back and rocked the charts again with, "Here I Am". The lead single, "The Best in Me" had already begun to make an impact on radio and in its own way, picked up where "Never Would Have Made It" left off. The marketing behind the album was brilliant!

Let's not forget that on release day, the album was available for a really low price on digital download outlets. So even spectators that might have been wondering if Pastor Sapp could pull it off again downloaded the album just so they could see how it was going on. Many of them found the album to be anointed and it truly ministered, and sales of over 70,000 units that week is proof. I was surprised to not see more nominations for JJ Hairston, and Brian Courtney Wilson, because they each had singles that continue to dominate Gospel Radio.

Gerard Bonner: Without question, the primary four nominees certainly had worthy releases with staying power both on Billboard and radio charts. With that said, there were great releases that were missed by those same measurements. For example, Ted Winn's Balance album produced two Top 10 singles ("God Believes In You", "The Lifter") and DeWayne Woods' Living On The Top made an impact, with his title track achieving great success at radio as well. One could argue that both Lisa Page Brooks and Youthful Praise had landmark years that aren't adequately reflected in one or two Stellar nods. The same could be said for Forever Jones, who produced the anthem "He Wants It All" which certainly could deserve "Song of the Year" consideration. With that said, it is nice to see artists like James Hall & Voices of Citadel and The Anointed Pace Sisters get recognition for their releases. I'm not sure if the Stellar nominations will ever make everyone happy, but they are to be applauded for their attempt.

Gerard Hall: Stellar nominations do seem to be the most highly discussed topic each year. From people thinking the same artists get recognized time and again, or thinking that some artists' albums didn't gain the success that would earn them their nomination, the whole issue can become a great debate amongst people in the Gospel industry. As I browse through the list of nominees, I think it does depict the greatest songs and artists over the past twelve months. Specifically looking at the Artist of the Year category, I think it truly represents the artists which have songs in heavy radio rotation. Perhaps people miss the point that nominations are based over a 12 month period and not just "what's hot" at the time of nomination announcement. I agree with Gerard Bonner, I'm glad to see James Hall make the Stellar nomination list.

Dwayne Lacy: I believe that the Stellar nominating committee did a good job this year. Some artists such as James Fortune and FIYA who didn't quite make the final list of nominees are now up for several awards. It's a great story because the FIYA crew (James, Cheryl, Terrance and others) have been working hard over the years, and it's a blessing to see them recognized amongst their peers. It's also great to see people like the Wilmington Chester Mass Choir, Lucinda Moore, Darryl Hines and Travis Greene being nominated. I agree with Gerard Bonner as far as the Artist of the Year category is concerned; these artists were heavily requested on the radio and they also remained on the Billboard charts for a long while. It's funny how people complain about having the same people nominated each year, but the numbers don't lie. I pray that people like Sean Slaughter and others will be recognized in years to come. Marvin Sapp has had a colossal few years musically and he has endured so much in his personal life. His pain has been a countless number of others' gain. We don't clearly understand the magnitude of what he has been through, and we thank God for keeping him and blessing him through it all.

What's your take on this year's re-emergence of Gospel legends such as BeBe & CeCe Winans and Fred Hammond, with their demonstrated continued success and staying power after all of these years?

Nakiyah Hayling: Fred Hammond and BeBe and CeCe's success just proves that when you have it, it does not matter how long you're gone. People will remember how your music makes them feel and are ready for more. People don't forget and they will support! Music transcends time. Another artist in the same veins the powerhouse that is Tamela Mann. She continues to bring her unique sound and passion to the gospel community.

Martin Williams: Bebe and Cece Winans have made it to that legendary status because of their contribution to not just Gospel but to music, period. Bebe and Cece had been apart for so long (with their respective solo careers), and both had achieved success, but many wanted to see how they would be as a duo after all this time. People have marveled after how they both went on to establish themselves as individuals with their own style and flair. "Close To You", "Grace", and "I Found Love" became the notable singles from the imagealbum and let's not forget they sang them on major network specials such as last year's Stellar Awards and BET's Celebration of Gospel. If the two are on the bill to perform at the Stellar Awards this year, I would like to see them do a medley of their classic songs such as "Addictive Love", and "Heaven".

Fred Hammond is just simply Fred Hammond. That name needs no introduction. Love Unstoppable gave us the anthem, "They That Wait". One of the things I loved about this album was the collaborative effort on the project. On many of the songs, Fred asked singers such as Michael Bethany, Ericka Warren, Dynna Wells Rodgers and others to write the material I loved the corporate worship feel of that album and the various folks sharing lead vocals. With songs such as, "The Best Thing That Ever Happened", and "Lost In You Again", Fred's another artist that I would love to see perform on the Stellars, because you just know you are guaranteed to have some pure worship.

Gerard Bonner" People are always be drawn to a great comeback story, so the returns of veterans like Bebe & CeCe Winans, Fred Hammond, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and Lisa Page Brooks are a testament to the staying power of great artistry. The challenge is always in reintroducing classic acts to new audiences. However, their voices, presence, authenticity, and artistry were warmly welcomed with great new projects and a strong presence at radio. True to form, they all produced music indicative of their musicianship. At the end of the day, genuine music always resonates.

Gerard Hall" When you have created a footprint in the industry, I don't think it matters how long you are "out of the scene" to be recognized for great talent/work when you return. BeBe and CeCe have clearly shown this with their Stellar nomination for Close to You. With over twenty years in the music industry, BeBe and CeCe have let the industry imageknow that they are back and in full force. Likewise with Fred, having years of industry talent and countless hits makes the pathway easier to return after a hiatus and still make the Stellar nomination list. With the change in Gospel music over the last ten years, any artist who started in the 2000s will have to consistently put out albums and generate number one singles to remain in the limelight, while artists such as BeBe and CeCe, Fred, Kirk Franklin and the Anointed Pace Sisters ,who were a hit back in the 80s and 90s when the industry was a little different, will have an easier "breakthrough". Although this difference resides one thing is clear... great music (regardless of artist) gets recognized and honored.

Dwayne Lacy: I LOVE a comeback story. BeBe and CeCe had to endure much criticism when they were doing it in the 80's and early 90's. They paved the way for many artists. It's funny how much they were missed and how refreshing it was to have them back as a duo. Oh, thank you two for coming back and blessing us again as a duo.

I am with all of you concerning Fred Hammond, he keeps giving it to us. He really is like a Modern Day David. He will sing of his struggle and pain, but he always brings it into worship and praise to God. He points us to God and shows us to bring our lives to God as a sacrifice of worship. Now don't y'all call me deep! There are some gems on Love Unstoppable which I feel should get more recognition, such as the jazzy "Thoughts of Love" and "Lord How I Love You". I love when people talk about a season of certain artists. You have to understand that men do not determine when someone's season is up. God does. People want to put a time limit on artists. Keep going Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Lisa Page-Brooks, Fred Hammond and John P. Kee!

Email This To A Friend

roundtable by GOSPElflava.com

  All content in GOSPELflava.com © copyright 2010. No information to be reprinted or re-broadcast from this site without the expressed written consent of GOSPELflava.com. All rights reserved.

New Releases
Message Board
Search Engine
Mailing List
About Us

Stellar Awards