Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How The Stellars Got Its Groove Back

Award shows barely appeal to me these days. Normally the winners are chosen based on what a certain clique' or group of like-minded individuals ( labeled as being committee usually) praises. For many years, the Stellar Awards have followed in that long tradition - choosing their favorites as their winners. But this year's nominations for the big day in Jaunary set to take place at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville have some major surprises - even some historical ones.

Donald Lawrence, the guy that loves to end good careers (Tri-City Singers) and make new ones (The Murrills, Dewayne Woods), has a count of ten nominations in all; probably the most multiple nods an artist has ever received in the twenty-one year old instiution. J. Moss trails with nine nods while RiZen gets four. Will they go home with all or most of the trophies and titles? We're not sure. But let us say the other nominees are not worried.

Mary Mary, whom recently took home the Contemporary Inspirational award at the American Music Awards and facing big-time candidates such as Jars of Clay and Casting Crowns, has been chosen as a nominee in the Best Artist of the Year and may be the most likely candidate for this category. Dr. Charles G. Hayes and the Warriors are the big surprise also this year, since they are mostly known for their legendary sound and hits from yesteryear. With a big return to the #1 slot on Billboard's Gospel music chart this year with "The Remix" (an indepedent project on local ICEE record label), they receive their share of nominations in Best Choir and Music Video and even Female Vocalist and Traditional Female Vocalist for Dianne Williams' performance on the album's lead single, "Jesus Can Work It Out (Remix)".

Very surprised to see Mark S. Hubbard & the United Voices and James Grear & Nu Friends getting a nod for Traditional Choir; especially since these are two independent projects but are very good. Newcomer Micah Stampley, one of the most unique and refreshing vocalists this year, also gets a bundle of "amens" with New Artist, Male Vocalist while the album's producer, Cedric Thompson, is nominated for Producer of the Year.

The all-star celebration takes place on January 21, 2006 and will be hosted by Vickie Winans, Donnie McClurkin and Israel Houghton.

Stellar Awards Website (

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