This is my opinion but I want you to know it's an educated and informed one.
It's been a while since I have written a blog but I promise I will be more active in 2013. I have studied and been apart of the Gospel Music scene here in the DMV for a long time. There are a lot of influential people here in the DMV who also influence the national scene as it Gospel Music However there are only a few, who I feel, who spend the majority of their time trying to help others while also advancing the exposure of Gospel Music to the world. In our area, which is one of the top markets for Gospel Music, there are those who are national influences as it relates to Gospel Music but they may not fall into the local "Hero"category. I want to focus on those persons who make the world go-around for not only the artists but also for church folks who may or may not be exposed to the national Gospel Music scene. Here are my local Gospel Music heroes in the DMV.
1. Sarah Hearn- DC Gospel Music Examiner
Since this beautiful spirited women has come onto the local Gospel Music scene, artists in this area have experienced a revolution in publicity and exposure. She writes about local and national artists in the DMV area and abroad. Sarah makes an attempt to come to as many programs as she can and she writes accurate articles about what she sees, hears, and experiences. She is not only a writer, but she is also a missionary. I was touched to see her traveling to Africa doing missions. In an area controlled by Radio One and mega churches, she has been a breath of fresh air. http://www.examiner.com/gospel-music-in-washington-dc/sarah-hearn
2. Henry Harris- SpiritCo1 and Excellence In Christian Music Awards
Henry Harris has devoted a number of years in the local national Gospel Music scene through his service with the Stellar Awards Gospel Music Academy and his Internet radio station SpiritCo1.com. Henry Harris has helped both local and national artists reach their goals by educating them on the ins and outs of the music industry. Henry's greatest accomplishment to date is his development of the ECMA (Excellence In Christian Music Awards). This is not your average awards program. It recognizes those who go through a somewhat challenging curriculum focusing on various topics related to the Industry of Gospel Music. Participants in the ECMA program have to listen or log onto weekly webinars to receive training from experienced industry professionals. All of the participants who complete the training modules and complete the courses receive an award at the annual award show. Mr Harris is also a radio promoter and seeks to help local artists receive a national presence on the Gospel Music charts.
Excellence In Christian Music Awards- http://www.smpecma.com/
3. Archbishop Alfred A.Owens and Co-Pastor Susie Owens- Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church
I know many of you are surprised by this one, but Bishop Owens is on this list for one super major reason. He has opened up the doors of Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church to many local and national artists on a weekly basis. Unless something special is going on at the church, he allows artists to come through and minister to the large and supportive congregation at the GMCHC. Most Pastors of mega churches only allow the well known artists to grace there pulpits and/or people they know pretty well but Archbishop Owens and his congregation are "STARS" for their open arms in the Gospel Music community. There are many other churches who also support artists in the DMV but GMCHC has to be one of the biggest ring leaders in support. Special thanks to Henry Harris for helping to facilitate the scheduling of artists at GMCHC. http://www.gmchc.org/cn2008/main.asp
4. Kenny Taylor-Promoter
If you don't know Kenny Taylor, then you are not getting out of the house much if you are a Gospel Artists in the DMV. Kenny has been an invaluable asset to the Gospel Music community in the DMV and abroad. He has helped the careers of too many artists to name. He is really a" jack of all trades" as it pertains to what he does in the music industry. He is also an accomplished musician and arranger. Kenny is one of those industry professionals who will tell you the truth and offer you his unbiased opinion about your career. He, like Sarah Hearn (mentioned above), will come to any program they can possibly make to support you. Thank you Kenny for all that you done and continue to do for so many. https://www.facebook.com/kenny.taylor.1232?ref=ts&fref=ts
5. Jacquie Gales-Webb - 96.3FM WHUR, Washington, DC
Ms. Webb is the host of Sunday Morning Joy on 96.3FM on the campus of Howard University Washington D.C. She has used her show to enhance the careers of so many local and national artists. She is to be congratulated for her many efforts to fit DMV artists in on her show via airplay and interviews. Though I must say that her most redeeming quality is her sweet spirit. She treats everyone the same and that is with the love of God. She is an accomplished professional in radio and she is the voice of Washington D.C on Sunday mornings. https://www.facebook.com/jgaleswebb?fref=ts
6. Paris Hollis- Recording Engineer and Former Owner of Studio House North
Although Studio House North has closed its doors, I cannot write this blog without recognizing the enormous impact that STN and its owner Paris Hollis has had on this area. Paris mixed, mastered and co-produced many award winning projects in the DMV area and abroad. His advice has saved a lot of artists from utter failure in the marketplace and on radio. Although Studio House North is no more, Paris is still available to aid and assist local and national artists who need a quality mix and experienced production advice. https://www.facebook.com/parishollinsjr?fref=ts
7. Andrea R. Williams- Tehillah Enterprises, LLC
Andrea R. Williams has been a HUGE blessing to so many artists in this area who were ignorant to what publicity actually is. Her work with various local and national artists in this area has exposed them to the national and international scene. She is definitely one to know and secure if you are trying to gain some publicity for your projects. http://www.tehillahent.com
8. Mt. Ennon Baptist Church- Pastor Delmon Coates, PH.D.- Minister of Music-Gerald Smith
Music Director- Justin Savage
This is another great heroic church who supports just about anybody who wishes to make an impact in the DMV area. Located in Clinton, MD, they recently hosted the DC Gospel Artist Alliance DVD recording in September 2012. They take in artists on a regular basis unless they have something special going on at the church. Their generosity and hospitality towards artists is unmatched not to mention that they have one of the greatest music departments in this area. Pastor Coates encourages the congregation at the church to support the local artists and they respond every time. This church has blessed so many of us in the DC area and they are true heroes already. Any artists who has ever been there can verify what I am saying.
9. Tracy Morgan- Tracy Morgan Radio Show- WBBP Memphis, TN
For many years, this young lady has impacted the lives of many local and national artists. Tracy Morgan is a legend here in the DMV. Tracey has supported local and national artists with her presence and spins on the radio. When Tracy was on local radio in the DMV, she played everyone who had a quality product in which, I believe, helped propel her show to #1 in the DMV area. Now she hosts her own radio show which is being aired on WBBP in Memphis, TN. Now she is exposing artists nationwide with her radio show. Tracy has been supportive of local and national for over 15 years in the DMV area. https://www.facebook.com/tracy.morgan.167527?fref=ts
10. Simone Henry, Kevin James - CJB Radio
CJB Radio has been a beacon of light for many artists in our area and a force to be reckoned with across the country. They host listening parties for artists when they release their albums and they have a dedicated listeners across the world. Owner Simone Henry, and her trusty sidekick, Program Director Kevin James, has created a small empire on internet radio. They have helped to validate internet radio locally and across the country. Their programming is on the level of any terrestrial station across the country. Don't sleep on CJB Radio. www.cjbradio.com
Winston Cheney- A true pioneer in the DC area and its unfair that he is not one of the top 10. If he could help artists on radio, he would without a doubt.
Shirley M.K Berkely (Mother)- Although Mother Berkeley is up in age, she can still make a phone call on your behalf and get you from point A to point B in a hurry.
Rev. Dr. Emory Andrews- His work with Oxon Hill High School Choir propelled both of them to a Stellar Award win in 2010. He has become a force in the DC area and an influence to so many students and teachers as a person who has broken barriers. Oxon Hill is the only High School choir to win a major music industry award.
Jimmy Russell- Jimmy Russell supports everybody, even his haters. You can look up at an event and be sure that if no one else shows up, Jimmy is on his way. Bless you Jimmy. God is going to reward you while you yet live.