Gospel’s big night: Sterling Music Awards set for March
Winners of the 2019 staging of the Sterling Gospel Music Awards.
A night dedicated to celebrating gospel’s best, the Sterling Gospel Music Awards (SGMA) 2020 is now officially endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.
In a letter to the Sterling Awards, Entertainment Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange said: "the ministry applauds the vision of the Sterling Gospel Music Awards in recognising the importance of honouring practitioners within the gospel fraternity.”
The 2020 staging will feature top ministers Kevin Downswell, Rondell Positive and Jermaine Edwards.
The celebration will commence with an official launch on Thursday, February 27 at the R Hotel in Kingston, making way for the-night gala in March.
“We are taking Sterling, once again to a whole new level, by expanding our categories to carve out a platform for additional music contributors who have done tremendous work in showcasing gospel music to the world, and deservingly should be recognized for their ardent efforts,” event organiser, Basillia Barnaby-Cuff said.
One group of contributors are background vocalists. The awards committee will now bring them to the forefront with the sub-theme BGVs in Action. This will see background vocalists from across the breadth of the Gospel Music Industry being showcased, with long-standing BGVs being honoured for their invaluable contribution to the sector.
The committee also acknowledges the emergence of online gospel radio stations and their pivotal role in promoting gospel music, and so have established The Online Radio Programme of the Year category.
Barnaby-Cuff said: “It’s remarkable when creatives can think out-of-the-box and tap into the surge of technology to advance the growth of the industry; so we wanted to give them [online radio stations] a space for themselves so that they don’t have to be competing with traditional radio stations” [for an award].
Cultural retention is also given significant focus in this year’s line-up of activities, with the event being guided under the theme ‘African Pride’.
The organisers said the theme not only gives attendees an opportunity to dazzle on the Red Carpet but creates a space for the celebration of Jamaica’s rich African history and heritage.
Nine of the awards from 18 categories are now open to the public for voting.
The People’s Choice categories include Video of the Year, Most Rated Event of the Year, Event DJ of the Year, Emcee Extraordinaire of the Year, Most Rated Radio Programme of the Year, Online Radio Programme of the Year, S.W.I.F.T. Award (Social Media), Caribbean Artiste of the Year and International Artiste of the Year.
To vote, persons may visit www.sterlinggospelawards.com . Voting closes on Saturday February 22.
Entries are only eligible if the songs or projects were released between October 1, 2018, and September 30, 2019, and must have received frequent radio rotation over the period.
The content or lyrics must also reflect the beliefs and foundation of Christianity.