TOP 5 NEW GOSPEL ARTISTS
Review By Christopher Heron
I’ll preface this article by saying that I haven’t listened to every new album by every new Gospel artist in the past 12 months but my ear has caught every deserving release that’s created a buzz. So, I speak with some authority on this matter. Besides, too often The Stellar Awards has missed the boat on this important category – Best New Artist of The Year – and perhaps The Stellars could use a little direction before they drop the ball in 2013.
Who can forget the 2011 award for Best New Artist going to Kristina Hallaway…the same year Forever Jones came out with their smash hit, He Wants It All. Kristina is a promising talent but Forever Jones is the full package. Then there’s 2010 when nominees included Crystal Aikin, Shari Addison and…Coco McMillan and Kim Ruff, all wonderful ministers of God. But I have to mention these names because it was the same year one of the most exciting new artists shot unto the scene like a cannon ball – Mali Music – with the groundbreaking release, The 2econd Coming and failed to crack that New Artist list. Such a shame. Even last year’s winner – Y’Anna Crawley – took the crown from my personal pick, Todd Dulaney.
Well, let’s hope the Stellar nominees will pump out some names that both the Gospel industry and its fan base can identify with…but just in case it needs a compass and a map to its destination, here are 5 New Artists who deserve serious consideration for their wonderful artistic work in 2012. They all possess an artistic maturity beyond their years, a powerful anointing over their project and a popular following that cannot be denied, so here’s my Top 5 New Artists in 2012.
1. The Best Of Both Worlds – Charles Jenkins (EMI): You could give him a separate award for being one of the most dynamic and progressive pastors inAmerica. In addition to his ministerial skills, he’s already secured a Grammy award as a savvy Gospel songwriter and with the release of his debut project – The Best Of Both Worlds – Charles Jenkins has earned points in my book as a leading contender for Best New Artist Of The Year, with his live project that merges old school Chicago church music with new millennium worship & praise. Awesome!
2. Anthony Brown & Group Therapy (Tyscot): This album is packed with production value and musical proficiency rarely seen on a debut project. The musicality, the vocal arrangements and the lyrical prose is off the charts, in terms of depth and spiritual deliverance. This album qualifies this new artist for a nod at the Stellars.
3. Open The Heavens – Patrick Dopson (Oilonit): His single – Keep Me – was a heavy rotational hit on Gospel radio, which is an indication of his divine favor. His sound and style could be described as one-half Fred Hammond, one-half Israel Houghton and 100% anointed. If you haven’t already stumbled upon this new artist, it’s time to get with the program.
4. Beautiful – Tim Bowman, Jr.(Trippin’ N Rhythm) – Here’s where I go out on a limb and big-up a ‘beautiful’ album that deserves more shine than it’s already received. This project possesses everything you would expect from a seasoned recording artist capable of hiring heavy-hitters for both production and songwriting…except it’s a newbie….Sure, his dad is an accomplished musician and recording artist in his own right but Tim Bowman, Jr. brings his own Urban sensibility and vocal swagger to the table in a way that speaks to a new generation. It’s really a ‘beautiful’ thing to see.
5. From The Heart – Jessica Reedy (Light) – Granted, this album is already a year old but if it in fact qualifies for consideration in the 2013 Stellar Awards category for Best New Artist, then this Sunday Best finalist is perhaps the best project to showcase one of those BET new faces on the reality show. This album is silky smooth, sacred soul from beginning to end and Jessica shows she’s the real deal when it comes to deliverance music.
I am aware that lots of names – Amber Bullock, Le’Andria Johnson, Zacardi Cortez, The Walls Group, Myesha Chaney, Deon Kipping, Anita Wilson, Andrea Helms, etc – didn’t crack my Top 5 New Artists list of notable releases by new faces but I have a sneaky suspicion some of these names I just mentioned above will inevitably creep into the Stellars list anyways. But for now, let’s give it up to my Fav 5 who rightfully earned some serious shine on DoTellGospel.com.