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Dorinda Clark-Cole, Jonathan McReynolds, Kirk Franklin & More Honored At 2024 BMI Trailblazer Of Gospel Music Awards

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BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) celebrated the best in Gospel music today at the 2024 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards held at Flourish in Atlanta, GA. Gospel legend and world-renowned evangelist Dorinda Clark-Cole, of the acclaimed Clark sisters, was honored as a Trailblazer of Gospel Music in recognition of her illustrious career spanning over 50 years and incomparable influence on the genre and beyond, and Jonathan McReynolds received the BMI Champion Award, the first time this accolade was presented at this ceremony, for his exceptional artistry and impact on Gospel music. BMI’s Gospel Song of the YearSongwriter of the YearPublisher of the Year and the Top 25 Gospel Songs of the previous year were also announced at the private ceremony hosted by BMI’s President & CEO, Mike O’Neill and Vice President, Creative, Atlanta, Catherine Brewton.

The inspirational luncheon began with a celebration of music and joyful worship, with Tim Bowman, Jr., performing his BMI award-winning song “Jesus,” with Kim Burrell and Faith City Music, co-written with Le’Andria Johnson and VaShawn Mitchell. Zacardi Cortez brought the house down with his BMI award-winning song “You’ve Been Good to Me,” before moving to the event’s main honorees and award-winners.

As a Trailblazer of Gospel Music, Dorinda Clark-Cole was saluted for her legendary career and contributions to the genre with several powerful tribute performances honoring her legacy. Crystal Aikin’s heartfelt voice kicked things off with “I’m Coming Out,” and Tasha Page-Lockhart brought the audience to their feet with a moving performance of “I’m Still Here.” Yolanda Adams followed with a magnetic rendition of “Take It Back,” with Lisa Knowles-Smith jumping in to help close out the performance, and Clark-Cole’s niece Kierra Sheard finished the amazing tribute with an uplifting version of “My Redeemer Liveth.” Upon receiving the afternoon’s highest honor, Clark-Cole admitted to being “deeply humbled” and “extremely grateful.” She continued with advice for songwriters saying, “when you are at your lowest, that’s when God can get your greatest… keep writing, keep getting inspired by God because somebody is being blessed.”

After receiving the BMI Champion Award celebrating his outstanding success in Gospel music and beyond, Jonathan McReynolds thanked BMI’s Catherine Brewton and Wardell Malloy for all the love and support they have given him throughout his career. His tribute started with DOE giving a beautiful performance of “Grace” and she also joined Tyree Miller for a duet of “Cycles.” Darrel Walls followed with his resounding rendition of “Lovin’ Me,” and Jason Nelson shared his passionate version of “God Is Good,” which brought the audience to their feet.

Throughout the event, BMI saluted the Top 25 most-performed Gospel songs of the previous year, leading up to the highly anticipated BMI Gospel Song of the Year award, which went to “Kingdom” written by Kirk Franklin, Jonathan Jay, Chandler Moore and Jacob Poole. The song by Maverick City Music X Kirk Franklin debuted at #17 on the Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs chart, #6 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart, and also received a 2023 GRAMMY Award for Best Gospel Performance/Song. BMI’s Gospel Songwriter of the Year was a three-way tie between Kirk Franklin, Travis Greene and Tamela Mann for each writing two of the most performed Gospel songs of the previous year. Franklin was honored for “Bless Me” and the BMI Gospel Song of the Year “Kingdom,” Greene for “Finished” and “Tent Revival,” and Mann was also honored for “Finished” and “He Did It For Me.” BMI’s Gospel Publisher of the Year went to Essential Music Publishing, for the second year in a row.

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