Stellar awards honor best in gospel music

David Mann and Tamela Mann arrive at the 2014 Stellar Gospel Music Awards on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville. Tamela Mann took home seven awards, including artist of the year and female vocalist of the year.

NASHVILLE — Saturdays are typically a noisy night in Music City, but this weekend, a different, soulful sound was ringing out.

The occasion was the 29th annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, a live televised concert event honoring the best in modern gospel music. Nashville has hosted the show since 2006, but it moved to Municipal Auditorium from the Grand Ole Opry House for the first time this year.

It was a career-defining night for gospel singer and film/TV star Tamela Mann, who was named artist of the year and was the show’s top winner with seven awards, including female vocalist and CD of the year.

Mann, who currently stars in Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, took the podium exclaiming, “Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus.”.

“I just love everybody,” she said, tearing up. “And I don’t mind getting ugly for the Lord. This is for the Lord.”.

While the wins were emotional, musical performances were the main event. Bishop Hezekiah Walker set the celebratory tone, opening the show with a 55-member choir and dancers raising their hands to the strains of his Every Praise.

Co-hosts Sherri Shepherd and Ricky Smiley were still singing along as they took the stage after Walker, welcoming an audience in its Sunday best to “the ultimate celebration of songs that stir your soul,” Shepherd said.

Explore more:  Harvey Weinstein is 'being closely monitored' after coming down with a fever in prison

While many music awards shows feature one-night-only collaborations and mashups, the Stellars’ artists are used to joining their voices. Gospel quartets, male vocalists and female vocalists shared the stage in separate medleys, providing a star-making moment for 16-year-old powerhouse Jekalyn Carr, who brought the audience of heavyweights to its feet with her hit Greater Is Coming. There also was more than enough reverence to go around for gospel legend Shirley Caesar, who took the stage to sing God Will Make a Way.

It was an emotional evening for Atlanta vocalist Tasha Cobbs. She was named new artist of the year and stole the show with Break Every Chain, earning a standing ovation that only intensified as the show took a commercial break.

The Stellars are traditionally held over the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and during Saturday’s event, the gospel community took time to honor another inspirational figure: Nelson Mandela, who died Dec. 5 at age 95.

Glow sticks were waved as Tony Award winner Jennifer Holliday sang Make Them Hear You, from the contemporary musical Ragtime, in tribute.

“Go out and tell the story / Let it echo far and wide,” she sang. “… How that justice was our battle, and how justice was denied / Make them hear you.”.

Major winners.

Artist of the year: Tamela Mann.

Song of the year: “Take Me to the King,” Kirk Franklin.

Male vocalist of the year: Tye Tribbett.

Albertina Walker female vocalist of the year: Tamela Mann.

Group/duo of the year: Anthony Brown & Group Therapy.

Explore more:  LeBron James: 'Best game I've ever been a part of'

New artist of the year: Tasha Cobbs.

Related Posts