Clark-Cole, McReynolds, Franklin among honorees at 2024 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards (Recap)

(L-R) BMI's AVP, Creative - Atlanta Wardell Malloy; Jonathan McReynolds; Dorinda Clark-Cole; and BMI's VP, Creative - Atlanta Catherine Brewton attend the 2024 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards on March 28, 2024 at Flourish in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for BMI)
(L-R) BMI’s AVP, Creative – Atlanta Wardell Malloy; Jonathan McReynolds; Dorinda Clark-Cole; and BMI’s VP, Creative – Atlanta Catherine Brewton attend the 2024 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards on March 28, 2024 at Flourish in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for BMI)

(MARCH 28, 2024 – ATLANTA, GA) – BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) celebrated the best in Gospel music today at the 2024 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards, held at Flourish in Atlanta, GA. Gospel legend and world-renowned evangelist Dorinda Clark-Cole, of the acclaimed Clark sisters, was honored as a Trailblazer of Gospel Music in recognition of her illustrious career spanning over 50 years and incomparable influence on the genre and beyond, and Jonathan McReynolds received the BMI Champion Award, the first time this accolade was presented at this ceremony, for his exceptional artistry and impact on Gospel music. BMI’s Gospel Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Publisher of the Year and the Top 25 Gospel Songs of the previous year were also announced at the private ceremony hosted by BMI’s President & CEO, Mike O’Neill and Vice President, Creative, Atlanta, Catherine Brewton.

The inspirational luncheon began with a celebration of music and joyful worship with Tim Bowman, Jr. performing his BMI award-winning song “Jesus,” with Kim Burrell and Faith City Music, co-written with Le’Andria Johnson and VaShawn Mitchell. Zacardi Cortez brought the house down with his BMI award-winning song “You’ve Been Good to Me,” before moving to the event’s main honorees and award winners.

As a Trailblazer of Gospel Music, Dorinda Clark-Cole was saluted for her legendary career and contributions to the genre with several powerful tribute performances honoring her legacy. Crystal Aikin’s heartfelt voice kicked things off with “I’m Coming Out,” and Tasha Page-Lockhart brought the audience to its feet with a moving performance of “I’m Still Here.” Yolanda Adams followed with a magnetic rendition of “Take It Back,” with Lisa Knowles-Smith jumping in to help close out the performance; and Clark-Cole’s niece Kierra Sheard finished the amazing tribute with an uplifting version of “My Redeemer Liveth.” Upon receiving the afternoon’s highest honor, Clark-Cole acknowledged being “deeply humbled” and “extremely grateful.” She continued with advice for songwriters saying, “When you are at your lowest, that’s when God can get your greatest…keep writing, keep getting inspired by God because somebody is being blessed.”

After receiving the BMI Champion Award celebrating his outstanding success in Gospel music and beyond, Jonathan McReynolds thanked BMI’s Catherine Brewton and Wardell Malloy for all the love and support they have given him throughout his career. His tribute started with DOE giving a beautiful performance of “Grace.” She also joined Tyree Miller for a duet of “Cycles.” Darrel Walls followed with his resounding rendition of “Lovin’ Me,” and Jason Nelson shared his passionate version of “God Is Good,” which brought the audience to its feet.

Throughout the event, BMI saluted the Top 25 most-performed Gospel songs of the previous year, leading up to the highly anticipated BMI Gospel Song of the Year award, which went to “Kingdom” written by Kirk Franklin, Jonathan Jay, Chandler Moore and Jacob Poole. The song by Maverick City Music X Kirk Franklin debuted at #17 on Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs chart, #6 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart, and also received a 2023 GRAMMY Award for Best Gospel Performance/Song. BMI’s Gospel Songwriter of the Year was a three-way tie between Kirk Franklin, Travis Greene and Tamela Mann for each writing two of the most performed Gospel songs of the previous year. Franklin was honored for “Bless Me” and the BMI Gospel Song of the Year “Kingdom,” Greene for “Finished” and “Tent Revival,” and Mann was also honored for “Finished” and “He Did It For Me.” BMI’s Gospel Publisher of the Year went to Essential Music Publishing, for the second year in a row.

(L-R) Essential Music's Josh Schiffman and Turner Burnett; Norman Gyamfi; Jonathan Jay; BMI's Wardell Malloy; Chandler Moore; BMI's President & CEO Mike O'Neill; Jacob Poole; Kirk Franklin;BMI's Catherine Brewton; and EJ Gaines attend the 2024 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards on March 28, 2024 at Flourish in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for BMI)
(L-R) Essential Music’s Josh Schiffman and Turner Burnett; Norman Gyamfi; Jonathan Jay; BMI’s Wardell Malloy; Chandler Moore; BMI’s President & CEO Mike O’Neill; Jacob Poole; Kirk Franklin; BMI’s Catherine Brewton; and EJ Gaines attend the 2024 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards on March 28, 2024 at Flourish in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for BMI)

Please visit for the full list of BMI’s Trailblazers of Gospel Music Award honorees.

Durham, NC to host return of Gospel Heritage Worship & Arts Summit, May 16-18

Gospel Heritage Worship & Arts 2024 Summit flyer - Durham, NC

(DURHAM, NC) March 13, 2024 — The world-renowned Gospel Heritage Worship & Arts Summit will be returning after a brief hiatus at The River Church in Durham, NC May 16-18! This three-day intense gospel music industry bootcamp will provide aspiring gospel singers and musicians with the opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s leading professionals. Originally founded by industry veteran Dr. Teresa Hairston-Jackson, this year’s workshop will be hosted by Gospel Heritage President and 7x Stellar Award-winning gospel artist, VaShawn Mitchell. This year’s summit is sure to be an epic experience unlike any other year prior. 

This year’s special honorees include Dr. Judith McAllister, the group Men of Standard, and gospel music legend Pastor Shirley Caesar. Special guest speakers of the summit will also include Bishop William Murphy, Dr. Valerie Moore, and Bishop Ronald L. Godbee.  Other special guests include Gospel Heritage Vice President Dr. John Paul McGee, Anthony Brown, Tonya Baker, Meachum Clarke, Pastor Ruth Ann Wynter, and Todd Garlberth.

Pastor Shirley Caesar, also known as “The First Lady of Gospel Music”, has won 11 Grammy Awards, 14 Stellar Awards and 15 GMA Dove Awards throughout her career and currently has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has also released +40 albums, participated in over sixteen compilations and three musicals.

Dr. Judith McAllister is one of the gospel music industry’s most renowned praise and worship leaders.  She has released four albums, Send Judah First, Raise the Praise, In His Presence: Live!, and Sound the Trumpet. She also served as the President of the International Music Department of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) from 2009 to 2021.

Men of Standard is probably one of the most notable male groups of the gospel industry with two Stellar Award wins to their credit for “Group Duo of the Year” and “Contemporary Group/Duo of the Year for “Feels Like Rain”.

When asked about the return of Gospel Heritage, Mitchell says, ”I’m so happy to be bringing back Gospel Heritage! Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m big on education and this workshop is the perfect opportunity to educate the next generation of worship leaders with impactful insights from the industry’s top heavy hitters.” He continues, “This summit is for pastors, ministry leaders, worship leaders, dancers, musicians, and general worshippers that would like to grow in God and in business. So I’ve curated a list of impactful leaders to help empower the attendees and honor examples of some of the leaders who have excelled.”

BMI to recognize Lucinda Moore’s “Lord I Hear You” as one of the standout songs of the year 

Lucinda Moore

(ATLANTA, GA) March 11, 2024 – Stellar Award-winner Lucinda Moore will be recognized with her first BMI Award for her hit song, “Lord I Hear You” at this year’s BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards ceremony. Having garnered +10 million streams and earning a #1 spot on the Media Base chart and #3 on Billboard, it is truly deserving of the prestigious honor.  The heartfelt and uplifting track has struck a chord with audiences and has solidified Moore’s reputation as a powerhouse in the music industry.

When asked about receiving the award, Moore says, “I have been a member of BMI since the early 2000s, and for the first time, I am honored that a song I wrote will be recognized as one of the top songs of the year!” She continues, “When I write songs, I write out of experience. The lyrics of this song was written in 2015 while laying in ICU. I had a cyst the size of a watermelon on my spine. The doctors did surgery and my heart stopped on the table. In my recovery, I began to pen the lyrics of this song and Grammy Award winner, Cedric Thompson co-wrote it with me. I am happy and overjoyed. Thank you, BMI!!!!” 

Moore is no stranger to the gospel music scene and many fans are feeling that she is finally receiving the recognition she deserves. Known for other hit songs including “Pressure into Praise”, she has shared the stage with industry veterans including this year’s “BMI Trailblazer of Gospel Music Honoree” Dorinda Clark Cole, VaShawn Mitchell, Dottie Peoples, John P. Kee, Deitrick Haddon, Jekalyn Carr and more!  However it was her time singing background for one of her music idols, the legendary Tramaine Hawkins, that truly put her on the map for the world to see. 

“Lord I Hear You” is the title track for her album that was released in June 2023 and is currently available on all streaming platforms.

Veteran announcer and radio host Jaye Harmon launches new gospel countdown show

Radio Host Jaye Harmon, Veteran Announcer & Member of Stellar Award-Winning Team, Launches New Gospel Countdown Show

(Atlanta, GA) – March 5, 2024 – Washington, DC’s Gospel music lovers remember tuning in to the Afternoon Drive-time Show on the Stellar Award-winning Heaven 1580/WPGC-AM to get their daily dose of inspiration. In addition to hearing great Gospel music during the ride home, listeners also heard the smooth, captivating voice of Jaye Harmon. The veteran announcer was a favorite among area announcers and amassed a huge following while there. Although Heaven 1580 shuttered its doors in 2009, Harmon has continued making an impact in Gospel music. He recently prepped a new 2-hour Gospel countdown show called “Jaye Harmon’s TG 30.”

Produced by Harmon’s own JPE Media, the new show debuted on DAF Gospel Radio at on Sunday, March 3, 2024. Airing weekly at 5:00 PM, 11:00 PM, and 3:00 AM ET, the program will highlight both indie and major label artists impacting Gospel radio. Airing popular, inspirational music, the show features interviews during the “Indie Artist Spotlight” segment. In addition to DAF Gospel Radio, listeners can also tune in to the show on LP-FM stations, WWDA 101.9 and WFTB 104.1.

The new program is a high point in Harmon’s radio career. His launch into radio began as a student at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Maryland. His passion for media was ignited there, and eventually, he was hired at his college radio station, WESM. He first “cracked the mic” there, but gained his first Sunday morning Gospel show at WJDY in Salisbury, MD. He was later positioned as an afternoon drive-time host at both WDIH in Salisbury and WWIN in Baltimore. Eventually, he landed at Washington, DC’s Heaven 1580AM, a CBS Radio station, also showcasing his talent during the afternoon drive-time show.

A musician at heart, Harmon is a drummer, keyboardist, producer, and former choir director. He is also a graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Production and a Master’s Degree in Entertainment Business. The owner of JPE Media, Harmon heads a full-service media production company specializing in voiceover and imaging for terrestrial and internet radio stations. Based in Atlanta, JPE Media also produces voiceovers for church videos, audiobooks, and documentaries. The company also offers video production services for social media promotions to a variety of businesses and organizations. 

Earl Bynum appointed National Chairman of The Alliance Of Gospel Music Professionals of the GMWA

Minister Earl Bynum, Th.D.  Appointed As The National Chairman Of The Alliance Of Gospel Music Professionals Of The Gospel Music Workshop Of America

Norfolk, VA –  Bishop Albert L. Jamison, Sr., and The Board of Directors of The Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) appointed Minister Earl Bynum, Th.D., as the National Chairman of The Alliance of Gospel Music Professionals during the 57th Annual Board Meeting in Norfolk, VA last week. The GMWA, founded by Rev. James Cleveland in 1967, is a non-profit, international, interdenominational, unbiased, and voluntary association of Gospel singers, musicians, ministers, educators, and business professionals. The GMWA’s vision is to continue the heritage of Gospel music by academically preparing Gospel artists for the future, to raise the level of excellence in the worship experience, and to provide a platform where all forms of Gospel music can matriculate. 

“Earl Bynum has been active in GMWA for many years, and he has paid his dues,” says Bishop Albert Jamison, Sr., GMWA Chairman of the Board. “The spirit of excellence is in him. He is a proven leader. We are thrilled to have him on board as the new chairman of The Alliance!”

“Earl has gained the recognition and respect of the Gospel music industry through his many years of service, contributions, and accomplishments,” states Bishop Brian D Moore, Executive Vice Chairman of the GMWA Board of Directors. “Earl will be leading industry professionals worldwide as we discover innovative ways to promote a greater presence and appreciation of Gospel music. We are pleased to have him on the team!”

The Alliance of Gospel Music Professionals, formerly known as The Gospel Announcers Guild (G.A.G.), is an auxiliary of GMWA. The Alliance comprises individuals and entities working to raise proficiency and quality in the Gospel music industry, emphasizing promoting and advocating for religious broadcasting globally.

Dr. Bynum has dedicated his time and talents to Gospel music as an artist, radio and TV personality, minister of music, songwriter, producer, and mentor. He is a music mogul who serves with integrity and prioritizes the development and preservation of Gospel music. He is the Executive Director of Music at The Mount Global Fellowship of Churches, comprised of seven campuses. As a media personality, he has a nationally syndicated radio and TV show called On Stage With Earl Bynum. Dr. Bynum has served as 1st Vice President of the Virginia Gospel Radio Announcers Guild and as worship leader for the Annual Hampton University Minister’s Conference.

“I am honored to be chosen to chair Gospel industry professionals from across the world,” Dr. Bynum states. “Much of my music industry connections came from my years of attending the National Convention and National Board Meetings of the GMWA.” founder receives mayoral proclamation, relaunches site

Brian McCoy receives mayoral proclamation, relaunches

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – March 1, 2024 – The City of Birmingham honored Brian McCoy with a proclamation for his 20 years of contributions and dedication to gospel music and cultural enrichment on February 21. Since its establishment in 2004, his platform,, has become a cornerstone for gospel music enthusiasts, providing a comprehensive source of news, entertainment, events, and video content.

This proclamation was officially made by Mayor Randall Woodfin, underscoring McCoy’s influential role in the promotion, celebration, and advancement of gospel music within the Birmingham area.

“Brian McCoy’s commitment to showcasing and supporting local talent has provided a voice and stage for many artists, thus elevating the cultural fabric of Birmingham, Alabama,” said Mayor Woodfin in the proclamation.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate our shared heritage and look forward to the future of gospel music in our city,” said McCoy. “Gospel music is more than a genre; it’s a vehicle for inspiration, hope, and unity. Our mission at has always been to uplift and showcase the talented artists in our area and to bring the message of gospel music to as many people as possible.”

Dorinda Clark-Cole, Jonathan McReynolds to be honored at BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards

2024 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards to honor Dorinda Clark-Cole and Jonathan McReynolds

(ATLANTA, GA – FEBRUARY 22, 2024) BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) will pay tribute to the songwriters and publishers behind the best in Gospel at the 2024 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards, held at Flourish Atlanta on Thursday, March 28th. Gospel legend and world-renowned evangelist Dorinda Clark-Cole will receive the evening’s highest honor as a Trailblazer of Gospel in recognition of her illustrious career spanning over 50 years and incomparable influence on the genre and beyond. Jonathan McReynolds will receive the BMI Champion Award for his exceptional artistry and impact on Gospel music, marking the first time this accolade has been presented at this ceremony. The private event will be hosted by BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI Vice President, Creative, Atlanta, Catherine Brewton.

“We’re thrilled to be recognizing our BMI family of songwriters and publishers for their contributions to Gospel music and the Gospel community,” said Brewton. “When I think of a trailblazer in Gospel music, Dorinda stands out as a pioneering figure. The Clark Sisters are among the legends of Gospel, and Dorinda’s distinctive jazzy sound lends a unique brilliance to the group. I’m so proud to be honoring her work and highlighting the impact she’s made on the genre and community through her music and evangelism. We’re also paying tribute to one of the most incredible voices in Gospel, Jonathan McReynolds, whose music is often referred to as ‘life’ songs, speaking to the hearts of all. We’re looking forward to celebrating all of our honorees and bringing the community together for an afternoon of faith, fellowship and incredible music.”

Throughout the ceremony, BMI will also recognize the songwriters, producers and music publishers of the past year’s 25 most-performed Gospel songs in the United States. The BMI Gospel Song, Songwriter and Publisher of the Year will also be named during the inspirational event.

Dorinda Clark-Cole, known as the “Rose of Gospel Music,” is a multiple award-winning singer/songwriter, a talk show host, and world-renowned evangelist. Born and raised in Detroit, Clark–Cole is the daughter of pioneering choral director Mattie Moss Clark, and is best known as a member of The Clark Sisters, one of the most successful and groundbreaking Gospel music groups of all time. Some of the iconic group’s crossover hits include “Blessed & Highly Favored,” “Hallelujah,” “He Gave Me Nothing to Lose,” “Jesus Is A Love Song,” “Pure Gold,” “Expect A Miracle,” and “You Brought The Sunshine,” to name a few. Throughout Clark-Cole’s remarkable career she’s received many accolades as part of The Clark Sisters and as a solo artist, including two GRAMMY Awards, two Dove Awards, three BMI Awards, 13 Stellar Gospel Music Awards and a Lady of Soul Award. The sisters also received a Lifetime Achievement honor at this year’s GRAMMY Awards, which followed a James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award at the Stellar Awards in 2020 and induction to the Black Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2022. In 2020, The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel biopic, produced by Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah, premiered on Lifetime to over 20 million viewers.

Mastering a balance between music and evangelism, Clark-Cole currently serves as International Elect Lady of the International Department of Evangelism (IDOE) to the Church of God in Christ and is the church administrator for Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ.

Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Jonathan McReynolds cultivated his love for music at an early age in church and continues to share his music, heart, and journey as he travels the world professing the Gospel through his inspiring song ministry. The award-winning singer/songwriter has released six full-length albums including his 2018 release Make Room, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Gospel charts, winning eight Stellar Awards and earning two GRAMMY nominations. In 2020, he released, People, which garnered his first GRAMMY for Best Gospel Performance/Song for his hit single “Moving On.” His latest release My Truth (2023) spent several weeks on Billboard’s Gospel charts and earned McReynolds a Dove Award for Contemporary Gospel/Urban Recorded Song of the Year for his single “Your World” and a GRAMMY nomination for Best Gospel Album. McReynolds has also received four BMI Awards and was named BMI’s Gospel Songwriter of the Year in 2023.

In addition to his successful career in music, Jonathan has a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Moody Theological Seminary and founded Elihu Nation, a nonprofit organization that has awarded tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to youth across the country.

2024 GRAMMY Gospel/CCM Winners

Lecrae took home two trophies at the 2024 GRAMMY Awards.
Lecrae took home two trophies at the 66th GRAMMY Awards.

Congratulations to the 2024 GRAMMY Award winners in the Gospel/CCM categories. Winners’ names are in bold and were announced on February 4, 2024, ahead of the 66th GRAMMY Awards live broadcast on CBS.

“God Is Good”
Stanley Brown Featuring Hezekiah Walker, Kierra Sheard & Karen Clark Sheard; Stanley Brown, Karen V Clark Sheard, Kaylah Jiavanni Harvey, Rodney Jerkins, Elyse Victoria Johnson, J Drew Sheard II, Kierra Valencia Sheard & Hezekiah Walker, songwriters

“Feel Alright (Blessed)”
Erica Campbell; Erica Campbell, Warryn Campbell, William Weatherspoon, Juan Winans & Marvin L. Winans, songwriters

“Lord Do It For Me (Live)”
Zacardi Cortez; Marcus Calyen, Zacardi Cortez & Kerry Douglas, songwriters

“God Is”
Melvin Crispell III

“All Things” – WINNER
Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, songwriter

Blessing Offor; Hank Bentley & Blessing Offor, songwriters

“Firm Foundation (He Won’t) [Live]”
Cody Carnes

“Thank God I Do”
Lauren Daigle; Lauren Daigle & Jason Ingram, songwriters

“Love Me Like I Am”
for KING & COUNTRY Featuring Jordin Sparks

“Your Power” – WINNER
Lecrae & Tasha Cobbs Leonard

“God Problems”
Maverick City Music, Chandler Moore & Naomi Raine; Daniel Bashta, Chris Davenport, Ryan Ellis & Naomi Raine, songwriters

I Love You
Erica Campbell

Hymns (Live)
Tasha Cobbs Leonard

The Maverick Way
Maverick City Music

My Truth
Jonathan McReynolds

All Things New: Live In Orlando – WINNER
Tye Tribbett

My Tribe
Blessing Offor

Da’ T.R.U.T.H.

Lauren Daigle
Lauren Daigle

Church Clothes 4 – WINNER

I Believe
Phil Wickham

Tribute To The King
The Blackwood Brothers Quartet

Echoes Of The South – WINNER
Blind Boys Of Alabama

Songs That Pulled Me Through The Tough Times
Becky Isaacs Bowman

Meet Me At The Cross
Brian Free & Assurance

Shine: The Darker The Night The Brighter The Light
Gaither Vocal Band

The full list of winners in all categories is here: 2024 Winners List

Congratulations also go out to The Clark Sisters, who were among this year’s GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award honorees. The Special Merit Awards Ceremony took place in Los Angeles on February 3rd.

The Clark Sisters 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree (Image)

Pastor John P. Kee takes break from pastoral duties after falling ‘seriously ill’

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

John P. Kee is recovering from illness

Pastor John P. Kee is recovering at an undisclosed facility following an illness that has taken him out of the pulpit of Charlotte’s New Life Fellowship Center “for a short period.” This news was released in an official letter from Shelia Lakin, church administrator, and posted Sunday, Jan. 28, on social media accounts affiliated with Kee and the church. 

The letter read, in part: 

Our beloved pastor, John, will be taking a break from his duties for a short period to heal and strengthen his physical, mental, and spiritual body. He fell seriously ill a few weeks ago and by the grace of our dear God, [o]ur leader has been given back to us! We know him as a true fighter and he is yet fighting back in our midst! Hallelujah [sic]

As many of you may or may not know, Pastor John’s recent severe injuries caused him considerable personal pain and discomfort. In order to fully recover and regain his strength, it is necessary for him to take some time off from his pastoral responsibilities. This break will allow him to focus on his healing and ensure that he can continue serving our church and community with renewed energy and faithful dedication.

Lakin’s letter continued with a call for prayer, “asking for a speedy recovery and a renewed sense of purpose and calling.” The letter also revealed that “in the meantime, he has been placed in an undisclosed facility.”

During this past Sunday morning’s service, Pastor Kee delivered a personal audio message to his New Life church family.

“Praise the Lord. If you’re listening to this message, you’re indeed a partaker of New Life Fellowship Global Church,” he began. “We’ve been called to effect change all over the world. God has used us mightily to do just that. As your pastor, I found myself in a position a few weeks ago where I didn’t know that I even existed. But oh for the grace of God, the warriors in prayer, my amazing team of doctors and surgeons, I’m here amongst the land of the living.” You can hear his full audio message starting at the 6:45 mark of the live-streamed service.

Our prayers are with Pastor Kee as he recovers from this health challenge, which comes on the heels of his mother Lizzie Shannon Kee’s passing at the age of 97 earlier this month.

Rance Allen Group earns its first-ever RIAA certified gold record

Rance Allen Group members Chris Byrd, Tom Allen, and Steve Allen, along with Murdella Wallace (sister of the group’s longtime road manager, Cecilia Wallace) accept their framed gold plaques.

After six decades of music, the Rance Allen Group has earned its first RIAA certified gold record.

The Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA) closed 2023 with an armful of new gold and platinum certifications by the likes of Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, Bobby Darin, and Justin Bieber. Among those new awards was a first-time certification for the Rance Allen Group’s classic track “Something About the Name Jesus” (Tyscot Records), which was certified gold for 500,000 sales on December 27, 2023. The song is from the legendary gospel group’s 2004 GRAMMY® Award nominated album, The Live Experience (Tyscot Records).

Rance Allen’s brothers Steve and Tom Allen; longtime producer, Chris Byrd; and Murdella Wallace, sister of the group’s longtime road manager, Cecilia Wallace, accepted the gold plaques during a recent Sunday morning service at New Bethel Bountiful Blessings church in Toledo, OH where Allen was the pastor from 1985 until his sudden death on October 31, 2020.

“Something About the Name Jesus” was written by Kirk Franklin with Rance Allen in mind. It was originally featured on Franklin’s 1998 full-length release, The Nu Nation Project, which featured the megahits “Revolution” and “Lovely Day.” That studio version featured Allen performing the tune alongside Isaac Carree and Lowell Pye. After a few years passed, the Rance Allen Group invited Franklin to appear on their own live rendition of the song which became just as big as the original version.

“Kirk was the artist of that time when he called and asked me to sing,” Allen recalled in a 2010 interview. “I had already decided that I wasn’t going to sing on anybody else’s project. When he called, I all of a sudden had a change of mind and said to myself, `Let me see what song he has for me.’ So, he sent me the song, `Something About The Name Jesus.’ When he sent it to me, the song didn’t have any verses. So, I’m listening to the chorus line, and I got back with him and said, `It doesn’t have any verses.’ He said he’d write them when I got there and that’s when he wrote the verses. So just like with ‘Miracle Worker,’ the audience demands that we sing that in every show.”

The Rance Allen Group has earned five GRAMMY® Award nominations and amassed over 250 million digital streams during its six-decade career. They started with Stax Record’s Gospel Truth imprint circa 1972 with soulful message songs such as “Ain’t No Need in Crying” and “Lyin’ on the Truth.” They also had six R&B chart singles, including the 1979 Top 25 gem, “I Belong to You.” From the 1980s on, Allen mixed music with ministry as he became a pastor in the Church of God in Christ denomination. The group reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart in 1992 with the album, Phenomenon, which featured the radio smash, “Miracle Worker.” In 2002, they signed to Tyscot Records, where they have enjoyed hits such as “Do Your Will,” “Closest Friend,” “You That I Trust,” and “Something About the Name Jesus.”

– From a press release