cece winans*Gospel recording artist veteran star CeCe Winans has become Motown Gospel’s first signing, with her inaugural Motown Gospel album.

This will also mark Winans’ first record in five years which is not set for release early next year, says InlandValleyNews.com.

Also on the roster are Detroiter Kierra (Kiki) Sheard, Smokie Norful, Tye Tribbett and Tasha Cobbs.

Barry Weiss, chairman and CEO, Universal Music Group East Coast Label Group says the new label will also tap into the promotional resources of Motown Records, whose current roster includes Ne-Yo, Erykah Badu and Kem.

The venture comes half a century after Motown’s first foray into gospel music, with the short-lived Divinity Records in 1962. But the new Motown Gospel is already a prime-time player, marshaling an array of top executives in New York and Nashville and helmed by a pair of industry veterans: Universal’s Weiss — whose Island Def Jam group includes Motown Records — and Bill Hearn, president of EMI’s Christian music arm.

“It’s hugely significant for Barry Weiss and Bill Hearn to come together,” said Jackie Patillo, executive director of the Gospel Music Association. “This just strengthens the reach for gospel music.”

Read more at InlandValleyNews.com.