*NASHVILLE, TN – The 29th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards today announced the lineup for Gospel music’s biggest night. Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell, Shirley Caesar, Donald Lawrence, Hezekiah Walker, Isaac Carree, Tasha Cobbs, Ricky Dillard, VaShawn Mitchell, Lexi, Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy and Jonathan McReynolds are the early notable names set to grace the stage.
A hallmark of the Stellar Awards telecast has become the powerful, stirring artist collaborations brought together by the show’s producers — this year, The Canton Spirituals, The Gospel Legends and The Wardlaw Brothers will team for the Quartet Collaboration; while Erica Campbell joins Jekalyn Carr, Latice Crawford and Lexi for the Female Collaboration.
The Male Collaboration will feature Jonathan McReynolds, Jonathan Nelson, Vashawn Mitchell and Zacardi Cortez. Kirk Franklin will perform a special tribute to the late Nelson Mandela and Ricky Dillard is set to close the show.
As previously announced, the 29th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards Show is hosted by “The View’s” Sherri Shepherd and “Dish Nation’s” breakout star Rickey Smiley, who bring impeccable comedic timing and expertise as daily talk show hosts to the role. For the second time in as many years, the Stellar Awards will air live in primetime on the UP Television Network from its new home at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. CST/4 p.m. PST. The Stellar Awards will air in national broadcast syndication in over 200 television markets from January 25 – March 22. The red carpet hosted by Tye Tribbett will air online prior to the telecast covering the glitz and glamour of the celebrity arrivals.
In addition to a new location, the show has launched a new online contest, the “Take Me to the Stellar Awards Emerging Artist Competition.” Via a free downloadable app, aspiring singers and songwriters are invited to submit material to compete for a chance to win a trip to The Stellar Awards, walk the red carpet and to perform their winning entry live at an event during the awards weekend. The entry fee is $8.99 and entries must be received by January 10, 2014. For more information on the competition visit: http://www.takemetothestellarawards.com.
An annual highlight of the Stellar Awards is the acknowledgement of special honorees, which this year include Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who will receive the Thomas A. Dorsey Notable Achievement Award for her career accomplishments working on Capitol Hill and Hezekiah Walker will be honored with the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the Gospel music industry. Reverend Maceo Woods will receive the Chevrolet Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award, presented by its name sake.
“I am excited about the line up for this year’s show, which features performances by artists whose songs charted in the top 25 throughout the year,” said Don Jackson executive producer of the show. “I am especially pleased that our 29th annual Stellar Awards will serve as the launch pad for the first ever publication for the show, the ‘Stellars.’ The first issue is a souvenir Collector’s Edition of behind the scene and backstage historic photos; celebrity gospel music performers, and the official 2014 Stellar nominees,” Jackson added. “I want to thank the over 35,000 fans who voted for our 2014 Stellar nominees, a phenomenal 30% increase over last year’s fan voting, and a testament to the growth and popularity of gospel Music.”
Additional Stellar Awards presenters include Sheryl Lee Ralph, Kirk Franklin, Kelly Price, David & Tamela Mann, Tye Tribbett, Marvin Sapp, Donnie McClurkin, Kierra Sheard and more.
Prior to the Stellar Awards broadcast,The Stellar Gospel Music Awards Pre-Show will be held on Friday, January 17, 2014 at the Andrew Jackson Hall to announce winners of the non-televised awards categories. Tickets for this event are $10.00 for Sagma members and $12.50 for non-Sagma members, and can be purchased at tpac.org. The event will be hosted by Richard Smallwood and Michelle Williams, with performances by Earnest Pugh, Anita Wilson, Beverly Crawford and Kevin Vasser to name a few. Additionally, The Stellar Awards Gospel Radio Award & Showcase will be held the morning of January 18 to honor the top radio stations serving Gospel music audiences. The cast of Bravo’s hit docu-series “Thicker Than Water” will host the showcase. Ben, Jewel and the entire Tankard clan will be on-hand to help kick-off the Stellar Awards.
Announced in December, Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy earned eight nominations for their freshman effort, “Testimony.” Nominations include “Song of the Year,” “Contemporary Group/Duo of the Year,” and “Contemporary CD of the Year.” Joining them at the top of the nominee list, Tye Tribbett’s “Greater Than” tied “Testimony” for the most recognition with eight nominations for “Artist of the Year,” “Male Vocalist of the Year,” “CD of the Year,” “Producer of the Year,” “Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year,” “Contemporary CD of the Year,” “Urban/ Inspirational Single or Performance of the Year,” and “Praise and Worship CD of the Year.” Other artists to receive multiple nominations include Tamela Mann and Tasha Cobbs with seven nominations each and going head-to-head in the hotly-contested “Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year” and “CD of the Year” categories; gospel great Fred Hammond United Tenors with six nominations, including “Contemporary CD of the Year” and “Group/Duo of the Year”; and also vying for “Group/Duo of the Year” honors, contender John P. Kee & New Life receives four additional nods for the CD “Life of Favor.”
The live show at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium is open to the public and tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster (http://www.ticketmaster.com) for all public events. Ticket prices range from $55 – $200. In addition, balcony seats are available for students for $35. For additional details, visit the Stellar Awards website (www.thestellarawards.com). To join the conversation on social media and receive up-to-the minute updates on this year’s show, “Like” The Stellar Awards on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/StellarAwards) and follow the Stellars on Twitter (https://twitter.com/TheStellars) and Instagram (www.Instagram.com/TheStellars)