VaShawn Mitchell Triumphs At Stellar Awards

By Lisa Collins | senior editor,
Posted: Mon, 01/16/2012 - 14:27

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As VaShawn Mitchell says, 2012 represents the year of open doors to him. Behind door number one – at the 2012 Stellar Gospel Music Awards – were six of the coveted trophies including “Artist of the Year." Fact is, the night belonged to Mitchell who came in thinking he might win a respectable four of the 11 awards he was nominated for, but was shocked to come out on top in fields that included key mentors like Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary.
“Yo, it’s amazing. I got six of them,” said Mitchell.  
“I told the people on Facebook the other day that I used to be a seat filler about ten years ago and it's just amazing to see the journey and the process of God taking a seat filler to getting six awards and 11 nominations.
Aside from “Artist of the Year” the award Mitchell was most surprised to win, “Male Vocalist of the Year," “Contemporary Male Vocalist," “Urban Inspirational Single" ("Nobody Greater,") “Music Video (Short Form)” and “Praise & Worship CD of the Year" were also bestowed on the Chicago-based artist, who was seen earlier this month in the gmc World Premiere Original Play: Sugar Mommas.
Kirk Franklin, who handed off his “Song of the Year” award to Darius Paulk, who penned “Nobody Greater," took home four awards including “CD of the Year” and “Producer of the Year." Rance Allen, Kim Burrell, Mary Mary and Smokie Norful tied with two awards each.
Said Norful, “It is a great honor to be acknowledged, but more importantly to know that my music has relevance and people are still being blessed by it. I’ve been overwhelmed by how receptive people have been to good, old-fashioned, foot stompin’ church music and worship that is a down-home church service.”
Named “New Artist of the Year," Y’anna Crawley broke down on stage at the thought that the industry remembered her in such a big way. “I thought you all had forgotten me,” said the 2009 Sunday Best winner.
Special awards went to Vy Higginsen, who received the Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award; Dorothy Norwood (the Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legend Award) and John P. Kee who was honored with the James Cleveland Lifetime Acheivement Award for his contributions to the industry.
The two-hour long show taped at Nashville’s Grand Old Opry House was hosted by Marvin Sapp and Dorinda Clark-Cole and featured performances from James Fortune, Kirk Franklin, Lecrae, Le’Andria Johnson, Earnest Pugh, Kim Burrell and Ricky Dillard, is slated to air in national syndication from January 21, 2012 to February 26, 2012, and will be seen on gmc Saturday, February 11 at 7, 9 & 11 PM ET.
Provided below is a complete list of winners:
Artist of the Year: VaShawn Mitchell – Triumphant
Song of the Year: Kirk Franklin,  "Smile" – Hello Fear
Male Vocalist of Year: VaShawn Mitchell
Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year: Kim Burrell
Group/Duo of the Year: Mary Mary
New Artist of the Year: Y’Anna Crawley
CD of the year: Kirk Franklin – Hello Fear
Choir of the Year: Ricky Dillard & New G
Producer of the Year: Kirk Franklin – Hello Fear
Contemporary Group/Duo: Mary Mary
Traditional Group/Duo: The Rance Allen Group
Contemporary Male Vocalist: VaShawn Mitchell
Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year: Smokie Norful
Contemporary Female Vocalist: Kim Burrell
Traditional Female Vocalist: Beverly Crawford
Contemporary CD: Kirk Franklin – Hello Fear
Traditional CD: Smokie Norful – How I Got Over: Songs That Carried Us
Urban/Inspirational Single/Performance of the Year: VaShawn Mitchell – "Nobody Greater"
Music Video, Short Format: VaShawn Mitchell - "Nobody Greater"
Music Video, Long Format: Deitrick Haddon – "Church On the Moon: Part One"
Traditional Choir: Mississippi Mass Choir
Contemporary Choir: Shekinah Glory Ministry
Instrumental CD: Moses Tyson, Jr. – Music Remastered & Sacred Organ
Special Event CD of the Year: 
Bishop Paul Morton – Still

Rap, Hip Hop Gospel CD of the Year
: Lecrae – Rehab: Overdose
Children’s Project of the Year: 
Teen Pure N Heart – Pure N Heart Live
Quartet of the Year: 
Rance Allen Group
Recorded Music Packaging of the Year:  Martha Munizzi – Make It Loud
Praise and Worship CD of the Year: VaShawn Mitchell – Triumphant
Spoken Word CD of the Year: Selah – Look At You Loving Me

Seen and Heard Backstage

Ricky Dillard on whether his age is catching up to his flamboyant and energetic live performances:“I’m here and I’m going to be here for awhile. It is getting harder. I don’t work out, but I have to minister from a seat sometimes and that’s something I never would have done 20 years ago.”

Smokie Norful on winning two more awards: “My son said last night when I called home, 'Oh, we have two more to put in the collection.'”

Kim Burrell on winning:
"I’m so happy about tonight’s award... I’ve been here before and I won a Stellar many years ago and I’m familiar with this feeling, but it means so much tonight because of most of the songs on the album. My sister Kathy wrote “Sweeter,” the song that we got so much flak about the video. And it feels so good to be here because of her."

Fred Hammond on trying to find love:
“Based on my tragedies, my victories, my passion for love, my wanting to be in love again, my failure at love, I think I’ve gotten to a place where I’m kind of chilling right now. I believe it’s going to happen but I just need to stop trying to make it happen. It’s a good place.

Karen Clark-Sheard on her big announcement:
“I am just so proud and honored to announce that our next artist on Karew Records will be none other than the great, incomparable Jonathan Nelson. I am just so excited. I know that God's placed His hand on this label.”

Richard Smallwood on the business side of music:
"Just because it’s gospel music does not mean you won’t get taken advantage of. My very first song I ever wrote was stolen by somebody in the church. That was my biggest lesson as a 19-year-old."

Copyright 2012, For permission to repost or reprint, click here.


About the Writer

Lisa Collins, a Los Angeles native and resident, is a syndicated columnist, writer, publisher and former Billboard Magazine columnist. Her career in gospel began in 1988 with her creation of "Inside Gospel," a daily/weekly syndicated radio series that provided news, profiles and product updates relative to the gospel music community. For the next eight years, she would also serve as executive producer of the show that was broadcast in more than 100 markets nationwide. Collins has also served as a segment producer for BET and authored well over 300 articles on a variety of issues for a number of national publications from Essence to Upscale. Her background in the field of entertainment reporting is extensive, featuring cover stories and interviews with the likes of Richard Pryor, Michael Jackson and Prince.

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