Say Amen, To That: EMI Gospel And Motown Partner to Create Motown Gospel
This could be a match made in heaven. Motown Records has been looking to expand its gospel music offering. EMI Gospel has been seeking a great music partner in the gospel arena. Now comes the announcement that Motown has entered into a joint venture partnership with EMI Gospel, creating a new label Motown Gospel.
It is a good time for both companies to boost its presence in Gospel music. While the overall sales of the genre dropped slightly from 2011 to 2012, according to Nielsen and Billboard figures, the digital sales of Gospel and Christian music rose 11.10 percent.
Barry Weiss, Chairman & CEO, UMG East Coast Label Group and Bill Hearn, President & CEO, Capitol Christian Music Group, made the joint announcement. Gospel music superstar CeCe Winans will be the first new signing to the Motown Gospel label. It will also mark her first new recording in more than five years and is planned for an early 2014 release.
“The new Motown Gospel label will offer broader Urban AC crossover potential and further opportunities and synergy between Motown Gospel artists and the Motown and Island Def Jam urban roster,” said Weiss.
Ken Pennell and the executive leadership of EMI Gospel, will head the new Nashville-based label. On the executive side, the first executive appointment for Motown Gospel is songwriter and producer Aaron Lindsey as VP of A&R. He has won four Grammy awards and multiple Stellar and Dove awards for his work in Gospel music.
With the launch came a mega celebration—a gala press reception and artist showcase at the Arc Theatre in Los Angeles. There were performances by Gospel bestsellers Smokie Norful and Tasha Cobbs as well as artists from the Motown Gospel roster, such as multiple Stellar Award winning artists VaShawn Mitchell, Pastor Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Chicago and Grammy nominee Anita Wilson.