Broadcast Music Inc. Celebrates Artists at the 2022 Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards

On March 31, BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) celebrated the best and brightest in gospel music at the 2022 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards held at the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville. BMI’s Gospel Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Publisher of the Year and Top 20 Songs from the previous year were all honored at the private event hosted by the BMI President and CEO, Mike O’Neill and BMI Vice President, Creative-Atlanta, Catherine Brewton.

The inspirational celebration was filled with gospel luminaries and music industry insiders who were thrilled to honor the songwriters whose music brings the sounds of faith and joy to the world. The event kicked off with Mali Music performing the song “Movin On,” co-written with GRAMMY Award-winning Jonathan McReynolds and Terrell Demetrius Wilson. Natalie Grant followed with a rendition of Donald Lawrence’s hit song, “God,” which she is featured on, and got the crowd going. Before the awards were handed out to the afternoon winners, gospel legend CeCe Winans gave a powerful rendition of “Believe for It.”

BMI’s Gospel Songwriter of the Year was a four-way tie between Aaron Lindsey, J Drew Sheard II, Kierra Sheard and Jeshua “TedyP” Williams. GRAMMY, Dove, and Stellar award-winning songwriter Aaron Lindsey was honored for two chart-topping songs, “It Belongs to Me,” co-written and performed by Juan and Lisa Winans (feat. Marvin Winans) and “Thank You for It”. All”, co-written by Jarmone E. Davis and Marvin Sapp. J Drew and Kierra Sheard were honored for co-writing “His Love” and “It Keeps Happening”, which marked “the first No. Kierra on Gospel Radio as a solo artist and his third No. 1 overall on the Gospel Airplay charts.” as quoted from The Christian Rhythm. It is also the first time siblings have received this honor at a Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards ceremony. GRAMMY award-winning songwriter/producer Jeshua “TedyP” Williams was honored for his work on “Hold Me Close” and for co-writing “Trouble Won’t Last” with Keyondra Lockett, which won his first BMI award for hit single.

BMI’s Gospel Song of the Year was “Speak to Me”, co-written by Troy Taylor and featuring excerpts from Donnie McClurkin’s 1996 single “Speak to My Heart”. The hit single, performed by Koryn Hawthorne, spent 41 weeks on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Chart and was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2021 Dove Awards. This was McClurkin’s fifth BMI Gospel Award, and Taylor added her first BMI Gospel Award to her collection of Honors, which includes three BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards.

BMI’s Gospel Publisher of the Year was awarded to Be Essential Songs for having hits such as “In Spite of Me”, “Movin’ On” and “Never Lost” in their repertoire.

Throughout the ceremony, the music continued with featured performances from gospel big names and BMI pioneers gospel music icons Marvin Sapp and Kirk Franklin, as well as rising gospel star DOE. After receiving his sixth BMI Gospel Award for “Thank You for It All”, Sapp gave a moving rendition of the chart-topping single. The music continued with DOE’s uplifting performance of “Brighter,” from his 2020 self-titled debut EP. #1 on Billboard’s Gospel Airplay chart. This marks Franklin’s 19th BMI Gospel Award. After the performance, Franklin paid tribute to Dr. Bobby Jones, who was recognized with a standing ovation for his many years of supporting the gospel music community with his “Bobby Jones Gospel” show on BET, which was the original series oldest in this network.

The top 20 gospel songs from the previous year were awarded ahead of the ceremony, welcoming 27 new winners. Some of the emerging songwriters who received their first BMI award included Byron Cage, Emerald Campbell, Quennel Gaskin and Juan Winans to name a few.

To join the conversation on social media, follow us @BMI and use #BMIGospel. Please visit (https://www.bmi.com/trailblazers2022) to view the full list of BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Award winners.

Photo credits: Steve Lowry for BMI.
Pictured: BMI Gospel Songwriter of the Year winners Kierra and J Drew Sheard II at the 2022 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards held at the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville on March 31, 2022.

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