GRAMMY season is officially upon us with the announcement of the 2018 nominees. This year’s category features some surprises and some well deserved recognition. The gospel category seems to always leave the category open to questioning for some, but for others a sobering reminder of the gulf that exists between the GRAMMYs, Billboard Awards and the Stellar Awards, respectively. 

Celebrating Aretha Franklin’s Gospel Music Legacy

Gospel music is in the middle of an evolution. The doors are wide open as one sound is ushered out and another welcomed ‘home’. Gospel artists are making music that sounds like and appeals to church, once again. The 2018 GRAMMY gospel category is somewhat reflective of that with this year’s nominees.
Here are this year’s nominees:

Best Gospel Performance/Song:

  • You Will Win-Jekalyn Carr
  • Won’t He Do It- Koryn Hawthorne
  • Never Alone- Tori Kelly ft. Kirk Franklin
  • Cycles- Jonathan McReynolds
  • A Great Work- Brian Courtney Wilson

Best Gospel Album 

  • One Nation Under God- Jekalyn Carr
  • Hiding Place- Tori Kelly
  • Make Room- Jonathan McReynolds
  • The Other Side- The Walls Group
  • A Great Work- Brian Courtney Wilson

The Recording Academy can’t go wrong with either artist chosen as a winner. These artists and their work is phenomenal and have each connected with their fans and overall listeners on such a level, that has driven gospel music back to alerting heights! 

Koryn Hawthorne didn’t win on “The Voice” but she made a promise to God that if she was able to return to that level of exposure, she would only use her voice for Him. Isn’t it amazing to see how richly God rewards those that honor Him? Many people first heard “Won’t He Do It” on the groundbreaking series “Greenleaf” on OWN. Since initially airing on the weekly drama, the song has taken on a life of its own, landing on this year’s GRAMMY nominations list! 

Remember Jonathan McReynolds‘ “Cycles” challenge that had everybody trying that ridiculously difficult ad-lib at the beginning of the song? Everybody ‘tried it’, but few came close! Jekalyn Carr released a book by the same title as her anthem “You Will Win” and people all over the world declared themselves ‘winners’ right along with her! Carr celebrated her first Dove Award win earlier this year. A GRAMMY win would be great for the young singer who has found herself in the same categories with legends and current contemporary leaders in Billboard, Stellar and GRAMMY award consideration! 

Contemporary Gospel Sounds Different Today, Is That Bad?

Tori Kelly surprised everyone with a gospel album, but she made it clear that this album is genuine and from her heart. She celebrates both a “Best Song” and “Album of the Year” nomination, this year! The Walls Group has somewhat quietly become industry stalwarts. In short order, they’ve reached ‘the other side’ of their young career, their parents, college graduates, and seeing life through their own lens now. Their content reflects their maturation. No longer just ‘kids who can sing’, The Walls Group is here to make a statement! They can still sing anything and as a group harmonize better than any assemblage, to date. Well, let’s just say their vocal prowess is reminiscent of what we love in the Winans and The Clark Sisters! Their nomination is well deserved and truly earned! 

What can I say about Brian Courtney Wilson??? One listen to his album and I was inspired to write! Literally…I had an epiphany as I listened to his album and it was this: his music is for grown up believers. Not by age, but in spiritual maturity! Ruminate on that for a moment. So much music is made and it lives on the surface of Christianity, but his music and especially “A Great Work” exists on such a higher plane that the listener is both changed and challenged! Something listeners have clamored for, for years! 

His nomination in both categories is a ‘tip of the cap’ in regard to the great work of his latest album, “A Great Work“. As stated earlier, the Recording Academy has quite the job on their hands this year, and I couldn’t be more glad! 

To see a full list of all the nominees, visit the GRAMMY website

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