January 16, 2009
Twinkie Clark, Donald Lawrence and CeCe Winans Honored at 2009 Trailblazers Luncheon
NASHVILLE, January 16, 2009 – BMI recognized the substantial contributions of gospel pacesetters Twinkie Clark, Donald Lawrence, and CeCe Winans at the 10th Annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon Friday, January 16 in Nashville. Hosted by BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Catherine Brewton, the invitation-only celebration attracted gospel music’s premier songwriters, recording artists and music industry executives, as well as the genre’s legends.
Inspired live performances from a selection of contemporary stars and gospel powerhouses including Kirk Franklin, Karen Clark-Sheard, Donnie McClurkin, 2008 Trailblazers honoree Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Israel Houghton, Kiki Sheard, Kim Burrell, DeWayne Woods, Crystal Lewis, Lejune Thompson, and Lalah Hathaway paid spine-tingling homage to the honorees. BMI President & CEO Del Bryant also presented an award for Most Performed Gospel Song of the Year to Stellar Award-winner and Grammy-nominated Pastor Marvin Sapp and his esteemed collaborator Matthew Brownie in recognition of their co-written hit “Never Would Have Made It,” recorded by Pastor Sapp on his critically acclaimed album Thirsty.
Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark has enthralled listeners for decades, both through her acclaimed solo work and leadership of gospel’s royal family, The Clark Sisters. A skilled musician dubbed “Queen of the B3 Hammond Organ,” Clark also wields aerobatic vocals only matched by her sublime knack for composition. Clark boasts two Grammys, and in addition to penning staples for The Clark Sisters, she has composed songs for artists including Rev. James Cleveland, Al Green, Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers, Esther Smith, James Moss, Dave Hollister, Xscape, and Mary J. Blige. Legendary BMI gospel songwriter Twinkie Clark was recently recognized alongside her sisters at the 2007 Stellar Awards, where the influential group received the award for Most Noted Achievement.
As a producer, BMI songwriter, choir director, and singer, Donald Lawrence’s influence on contemporary gospel music is unparalleled. His starkly original work with the multiple award-winning Tri-City Singers first revealed a rare and innovative artist capable of musical brilliance and authentic Christian praise, while his work as a producer emboldened projects by gospel icons including fellow honoree Twinkie Clark, Kirk Franklin, and Karen Clark Sheard. The recipient of numerous BMI Christian and Stellar Awards, Lawrence has also penned songs for The Clark Sisters, the Tri-City Singers, his own well-received solo projects, and more. His growing catalog includes 2007 BMI Christian Award-winning “Blessing of Abraham” and “Encourage Yourself,” both recorded by Lawrence with the Tri-City Singers.
CeCe Winans’ career has generated a trove of top-shelf industry accolades comprising numerous Grammy, Stellar, and Dove Awards. Her work with her brother in duo BeBe & CeCe Winans expanded the boundaries of gospel music and welcomed new listeners into its fold, while her solo projects reintroduced an artist comfortable with evolution and the spotlight. A BMI songwriter for more than 20 years, Winans has created a thick catalog of compositions including BMI Christian Award-winning song “Say a Prayer,” “Addictive Love,” “Well Alright,” “Pray,” and many more. Gold- and platinum-selling albums bejewel her résumé, and her latest effort Thy Will Be Done promises more acclaim.
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Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI) is an American performing right organization that represents more than 375,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music and more than 6.5 million works. BMI’s latest financial results, $901 million for its 2008 fiscal year, are the highest performing right collections for any copyright organization in the world. BMI has represented the most popular and beloved music from around the world for over 65 years. The U.S. corporation collects license fees from businesses that use music, which it then distributes as royalties to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.
Kay Clary / BMI Nashville
Jerry Bailey / BMI Nashville
BeBe Winans wows the audience with a surprise appearance at the BMI Trailblazers of Gospel event honoring his sister, CeCe Winans.
Karen Clark Sheard performs at the BMI Trailblazers of Gospel luncheon .
Event co-host Kirk Franklin is visibly moved during Lalah Hathaway's performance at the BMI Trailblazers of Gospel gala
Lalah Hathaway performs Donald Lawrence's 'Don't Forget to Remember'
Vanessa Bell Armstrong performs in tribute to honoree Twinkie Clark at BMI Trailblazers of Gospel event.
Kierra “KiKi" Sheard performs “Jesus Is A Love Song"
Honoree CeCe Winans arrives at the BMI 2009 Trailblazers of Gospel event in Nashville, January 16, 2009