Christian Retailing

New label brings Motown sound to gospel Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 01:00 AM America/New_York

Motown Records and EMI Gospel have formed a joint venture partnership with the creation of the new Motown Gospel label.

The first new signing to Motown Gospel was GRAMMY winner CeCe Winans, whose new album is slated for early 2014. Along with Winans, the label will also release albums this year by Tye Tribbett (Greater Than, June 4), Karen Clark Sheard and Smokie Norful.

"UMG's [Universal Music Group] acquisition of EMI Music offered the ideal opportunity to merge the EMI Gospel label with the strength of the newly revitalized Motown Records," said Barry Weiss, chairman and CEO of UMG East Coast Label Group. "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 (IDJ) urban roster."

Bill Hearn, president and CEO of Capitol Christian Music Group, added: "I've been a huge fan of Barry Weiss for years. Through his leadership of the Verity Label in the past, he's been responsible for much of the growth and artist development in gospel music today. I can't wait to partner with Barry, Motown through A&R collaboration, and promotion and marketing support from Steve Bartels and the amazing IDJ team. I'm confident Motown Gospel will now be even more effective at connecting our artists with their fans and growing their fan base."

Motown Gospel will headed by EMI Gospel President Ken Pennell, who will report to Hearn. Hearn reports directly to Capitol Music Group Chairman and CEO Steve Barnett.

GRAMMY Award-winning songwriter/producer Aaron Lindsey, whose production credits include Marvin Sapp's No. 1 gospel crossover hit "Never Would Have Made It," has been appointed vice president of A&R at Motown Gospel.

The new label was officially launched April 2 at the Arc Theatre in Los Angeles with a gala press reception and artist showcase, featuring performances by Smokie Norful, Tasha Cobbs, Tye Tribbett and Kierra Sheard. The Motown Gospel roster includes Stellar Award-winning artists VaShawn Mitchell, Anita Wilson, Pastor Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Chicago.