One of the most popular events during awards season is the annual BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Honors. In 2017, Broadcast Music, Inc.(BMI) will honor Kim Burrell and Marvin Sapp at the 18th annual BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Honors. The event will take place at the Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta, GA on January 14, 2017.
Former Trailblazers award recipient Yolanda Adams returns as host and will share those duties with VaShawn Mitchell. The invitation-only event will be attended by gospel music’s premier songwriters, brightest stars, and leading industry executives. In addition to honoring Kim Burrell and Marvin Sapp, BMI will also announce the “Most Performed Gospel Song of the Year.”
“BMI is thrilled to be back in Atlanta celebrating the brightest talent in gospel music today,” BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations in Atlanta, Catherine Brewton said in a statement. “Kim Burrell and Marvin Sapp are paving the way for future generations of gospel songwriters by effortlessly crossing genres and exposing inspirational music to a wider audience. Both epitomize what it truly means to be a Trailblazer of gospel music and are positive role models in faith, charity and beyond.”
Here’s a look at the musical contributions of the two honorees:
Kim Burrell is revered by her peers in the music industry from both the spiritual and secular world. For over 30 years, the Houston native has been affectionately known as the “singer’s singer,” because of her distinctive voice which she attributes as a natural gift from the grace of God. Burrell continues to exercise her talents as a musician, songwriter, author, TV & Radio personality, producer, evangelist, and pastor throughout all of her endeavors. She has received many accolades including NAACP, Dove and Stellar Awards and multiple Grammy-nominations and has performed at many notable venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Jazz Center, Radio City Music Hall, Kennedy Center, The Experience at Lagos, and COZA (Nigeria) to name a few. Burrell has recorded seven solo albums and has been featured on several gospel albums with the likes of Andre Crouch, Marvin Winans, John P. Kee and Ricky Dillard. The gospel powerhouse has also appeared on albums from mainstream superstars such as Harry Connick, Jr. and Stevie Wonder, shared the stage with Renee Fleming and Whitney Houston, and was most recently asked to sing “I See Victory,” produced by Pharrell Williams for the upcoming movie Hidden Figures.
Marvin Sapp is one of the most beloved voices in the gospel genre. Though he may be best known for his cross-over hit “Never Would Have Made It,” those who really love gospel music know him for his timeless hits, “Not the Time nor the Place,” “You are God Alone,” and “I Believe” to name a few. Sapp has enjoyed a decorated 40-year music career, receiving 22 Stellar Awards, two Soul Train Music Awards, two BET Awards, two Dove Awards and eight BMI Songwriter’s Awards along with many other honors from national, regional and local institutions. He is a multiple Grammy and Billboard Award nominee and, in 2015, was named Billboard’s Top Male Gospel Artist. His most universal song, “Never Would Have Made It,” topped Associated Press’ “Best Song List” in 2008 and made radio history that year by becoming the longest-running No. 1 single across all formats. Sapp has one of the highest-ever Billboard Top-200 charting Gospel albums with his 2010 release Here I Am. His most recent project, You Shall Live, is Sapp’s 10th album and his fourth consecutive #1 debut.