Recap: 11th Annual BMI Trailblazers Of Gospel LuncheonPublished by Torrence Glenn on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 9:36 pm.
Sup folks! Stellar Awards weekend in Nashville was a beast. It was literally non stop and I don’t think I slept the entire time. Well I’ve had some time to regroup and decompress. You didn’t think I was just going to go and not tell you about it right? I can be selfish and funny acting but Im’ not that bad.
My first major event of the weekend was the 11th Annual BMI Trailblazers Of Gospel Luncheon to honor Donnie McClurkin & Andrae Crouch at Rockettown. Not only was it my first event of the weekend but it was also my first BMI luncheon ever. After hearing about it for all these years, I was excited to finally be in the mix. As soon as I walked into the venue I knew that it was going to be first class all the way.
Before the show actually started, it was good to make my way around the room catching up with industry friends and associates I don’t usually get to see that often since we all live in different parts of the country. Shout out to Y’Anna Crawley (Sunday Best winner), Melanie Clark (Gospelflava.com and Charlotte’s Praise 100.9), Dion and Sheri Jones-Moffett, Ted Winn, Gerald Jones (Dagospeltruth.com), Tammy Taylor (One Entity), James Robinson and Gina Waters-Miller (Light Records), JJ Hairston (Youthful Praise), and a bunch of other folks. It was a party before the party! Now, the show.
Dorinda Clark-Cole opened the show with BMI 2010 Song Of The Year, “Take It Back.” She sang it with a track, but you would have thought she had a full band and singers the way she killed that thing. Love a singer like that! Congratulations to Derrick Starks who wrote the song. Pastor Marvin Winans blessed the food (it needed it) and now the “real show” begins.
Sunday Best runner-up Jessica Reedy performed what is soon to be one of her signature songs, “God Has Smiled On Me.” She changed the arrangement a bit from what you saw on Sunday Best but she kept everything in tact. It was interesting to watch the room’s reaction while she sang. She doesn’t have a project out yet but the industry loves and appreciates her! She didn’t disappoint and like always, I was a little close to tears. She just does something to see when she sings! Goodness!
Once Jessica was done, Byron Cage began his hosting duties for the Donnie McClurkin portion of the tribute. Next up, members of Donald Lawrence’s “The Company” led by DeWayne Woods performed a snippet (literally) of “That’s What I Believe.” It was flawless of course! Then, Sunday Best finalist Latice Crawford gave a strong and forceful rendition of “I Call You Holy.” So proud to see Sunday Best being represented and appreciated by the gospel industry! (Don’t front, these folks can be TOUGH!)
Following Latice, was Micah Stampley to perform the CLASSIC Donnie McClurkin & New York Restoration Choir (i’m OLD SCHOOL) tune “Speak To My Heart.” I found this choice interesting because it’s been obvious for years that Micah Stampley looks up to Donnie McClurkin as a vocal mentor. The similarities to Pastor Donnie are almost “freaky” but when I tell you Micah sangs the walls down….. Yeah, as long as he keeps singing like that, he’s studying right!
Next up? Marvin Winans came to sing the song that he and Donnie made popular, “Stand.” Oops, I’m sorry. Am I supposed to have something to say? Was speechless then, am speechless now! Carry on!
To close out Pastor Donnie’s tribute, the forever gorgeous Yolanda Adams gave us her take on Donnie McClurkin’s most popular song, “We Fall Down.” I personally loved her rendition of it. When I heard the intro to the song, I thought to myself, “I love Yolanda Adams, like really love her, but not sure if I want to hear her do this song.” Well, she did it and did it well! From this point on, Yolanda was our new host for the evening.
Blanche McAllister opened up the Andrae Crouch tribute with the classic “Right Now” along with Donald Lawrence. Listening to Blanche sing is like getting to lick the bowl and the spoon when your grandmother makes a pound cake from scratch. Sweet buttery goodness that woman can sing! (Omg, I made myself laugh with that cheesy line, but I’m leaving it right there because it’s true!) Donald Lawrence took over for DeWayne from here on the background lead duties.
Donald & The Company then laid my ears out (in a good way) as they continued the Crouch medley with “Quiet Time” (the harmonies on this song will knock you to the ground!) and “Soon And Very Soon.”
Next was probably one of the most amazing moment of the entire afternoon. Tata Vega, one of the most gifted vocalists any generation has ever seen performed “Speak Lord” and “Oh It Is Jesus.” I really want to try and explain it to you, but it’s hard to do. Tata literally charged the the whole room. I’m hoping you all know who Tata Vega is. If not, log on to Netflix or go to Blockbuster and rent “The Color Purple” and listen to the singing voice of Shug Avery. Now over the course of Tata’s career, I’m not sure she was solely a gospel singer but the woman’s anointing is so strong it’s scary! And the vocals? *whoosh* (been a long time since I’ve said that huh?)
After Tata was done, the room had lost all control. Yolanda tried to reclaim her hosting duties but it was no use! God was in the building and that was all she wrote! She kept trying to compose herself and finally just had to let it ALL THE WAY OUT! I was right there with her, because I felt it too. Everybody did. Which is why I was a little miffed when Cece Winans walked up to her and guided her offstage like a Baptist usher from the 80’s. But the show must go on and we were taping for TV, so I “kinda” understand….
Bebe & Cece Winans followed up with “The Blood.” Now let me be real honest, it was soooooo good to hear them singing LIKE THAT again! It’s so secret that Bebe & Cece Winans can sing but for a while (at least in my opinion) I thought they had gotten a little “safe” every time I saw them. A little less gospel and a lot more CCM if you will. Well, Bebe and Cece reached back and gave you black church! They were singing. The room, once again, LOST IT!
Mary Mary continued with “We Are Not Ashamed” and slayed us even more! I think there’s some truth to Coko’s statement that pregnancy and motherhood do wonderful things to your voice. Tina had recently had a baby and Erica’s pregnant and they sounded better than before, and they were GREAT then!
Finally, Marvin Winans closed out the “official tribute” with “Jesus Is Lord.” I’m glad I was at a table with Marvin Winans fans, because ummm, yeah, he kept on singing after that. Everytime he thought of another Andrae Crouch song that he liked, he’d start singing that too. Then he started tossing the mics to folks and it became a giant sing-along. Unfortunately, most of that you probably won’t see on TV.
Andrae Crouch’s acceptance speech was probably another highlight of the day for me. He told his testimony of his in progress healing from a foot issue stemming from diabetes. I love a good testimony, especially when there’s some humor in it. (The God I serves liked to laugh, don’t trip.) Well anyway, part of Andrae’s healing process was to treat and anoint his toe with honey! Yessir, he treated a sugar condition with SUGAR! LOOK AT GAWD!!!!! All jokes aside, it was a moving testimony. He said something really profound that stuck with me; “I’ve written too many songs to flake out and not trust you. [God]” That messed me up right there. We talk and sing so much about what God can do, why not live it too!
So with that, congratulations to Donnie McClurkin and Andrae Crouch. They both deserved it.
Special thanks to Wardell Malloy, Jamil Walker, and Catherine Brewton from BMI for inviting me! I’m already looking forward to next year!
Too see it for yourself, make sure you watch The Gospel Music Channel on Sunday, February 21st. I’m not even gonna lie, I forgot the time, but I’ll get it for you! Ha!