Gospel Music Hall of Fame members the Clark Sisters, GRAMMY-winning artist Dr. Bobby Jones, and three-time GRAMMY winner Michael W. Smith, were the recipients of The Recording Academy’s President’s Merit Award at the 2007 GRAMMY Salute to Gospel Music event in Washington, D.C.
In keeping with its tradition of honoring artistic excellence, The Recording Academy spotlighted the genre by celebrating the most respected members of the gospel community during the event.
The GRAMMY Salute to Gospel included performances from four-time GRAMMY winner Yolanda Adams, award-winning gospel vocalist Byron Cage, two-time GRAMMY winner Donnie McClurkin, contemporary gospel singer Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, and gospel composer/pianist/arranger Richard Smallwood.
Tonight’s performances were under the leadership of GRAMMY nominated and multi-Stellar Award winner Donald Lawrence.
The President’s Merit Award recognizes the contributions that key individuals have made to the music industry and the impact their efforts have had on music and the business of music. The award is an opportunity for The Recording Academy President to acknowledge and honor these vital and outstanding individuals.
An American gospel vocal group consisting of Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark Terrell, Jacky Clark Chisholm, Dorinda Clark Cole and Karen Clark Sheard, the Clark Sisters are pioneers of contemporary gospel, bringing gospel music to the mainstream. Renowned for their unique vocal styling, dubbed as “The Clark Sound,” the Clark Sisters have spent the last three decades singing, preaching and evangelizing.
They have influenced many musical artist in the fields of gospel, pop, R&B, jazz and hip-hop over the last 25 years. Collectively the group has received a GRAMMY Award nomination, been inducted into the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and have received multiple Stellar Awards.
Dominating Sunday’s programming was the host and executive producer of “Bobby Jones Gospel,” which has been seen on BET since 1980, Dr. Jones has revolutionized the gospel music industry.
Jones is also the producer of “Video Gospel,” which debuted on BET in 1989 and is the only national television outlet for gospel videos. He is the host of the “Bobby Jones Countdown,” which has excelled in the radio syndication industry and can be heard in major cities throughout the country. Dr. Jones is a recipient of a GRAMMY Award, a Dove Award, a NAACP Image Award and multiple Stellar Awards.
Over his 24-year career as a recording artist, Michael W. Smith has amassed an impressive catalog of achievements. His 18 albums have garnered multiple honors including an American Music Award, three GRAMMY Awards and 40 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. In addition, Smith has scored film projects and written 11 books. His tours rank among the best attended in the country and he has performed to crowds throughout the world.
Consistently giving back to the community, one of his current projects is Rocketown a nightclub for teens in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, which serves as a safe place for young people to enjoy music and for artists to be discovered. Stand, Smith’s 19th and current album, was released in November.
The GRAMMY Salute to Gospel Music event began in 2005 to honor those who have made significant contributions to gospel music, while supporting the history and importance of the genre.
Past honorees include Shirley Caesar, AndraÃ© Crouch, Bill and Gloria Gaither, Bill Hearn, Billy Ray Hearn, Richard Smallwood and Albertina Walker.
Many Stars Linked to Gospel Music Tuned Out for This Grammy Salute Evening