The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and UP TV announced that Marcus “Elder Mac” McFarlin of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the Grand Prize Winner of the Most Powerful Voices online gospel singing competition.
McFarlin is a contemporary gospel artist who released his first album, Addicted To Praise in 2011. Now, as the winner of the Most Powerful Voices competition, McFarlin has the opportunity to perform at a 2015 Stellar Awards weekend showcase, receive keyboard and vocal performance equipment from Roland Corporation, a personal coaching session with RCA Inspiration Artist Deon Kipping, registration in Immerse 2014, a conference for indie artist, songwriters and worship leaders, from the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and a cash prize among other prizes.
Gospel artist Latice Crawford-Spain, A&R executives and a Roland Corporation musicality expert judged the top 10 winners and selected McFarlin. “I loved the control he had,” said Crawford-Spain, RCA Inspiration artist. “Marcus stood out to me because he had a very striking voice.”
The online competition, now in the fifth year, is open to independent artists, groups and choirs who sing gospel, praise, worship and holy hip-hop. It’s a unique and fun way to share potentially life-saving stroke information.
Debbie Gann from Mounds, Oklahoma won Fan Favorite, rising to the top from online votes received May 1-15 while the judges were scoring the top ten.
“The greatest prize of all is that every person who registered to participate as either a competitor or voter receives monthly stroke awareness and prevention information,” said Crawford-Spain. “Anyone who is walking and breathing can have a stroke, but it’s especially important for African-Americans to be aware, because we have higher risk factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes that often cause strokes. It is important for everyone to know the causes, signs and methods to hopefully prevent stroke. Sometimes it can be as simple as changing your diet or exercising more.”
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the No. 1 cause of preventable disability. “The contest is important because it helps people reduce their risks and learn what do to in a stroke emergency,” said Rani Whitfield, M.D. a family practitioner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and an American Stroke Association spokesperson.
Most Powerful Voices is an initiative of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Power To End Stroke cause campaign to reach Americans, with a special emphasis on African-Americans, who are disproportionately affected by stroke. Power To End Stroke strives to close the stroke gap through culturally relevant events, tools and educational resources. UP TV presents and administers the contest on behalf of the Power to End Stroke.
For more information, visit mostpowerfulvoices.org or download the Most Powerful Voices free mobile app available via iTunes and Android.