Motown Records takes a giant step into the ever-expanding Gospel music field as the result of a joint venture partnership with EMI Gospel, creating a new label Motown Gospel. The announcement was made by Barry Weiss, Chairman & CEO, UMG East Coast Label Group and Bill Hearn, President & CEO, Capitol Christian Music Group.
“UMG’s acquisition of EMI music offered the ideal opportunity to merge the EMI Gospel label with the strength of the newly revitalized Motown Records,” said Mr. Weiss. “The new Motown Gospel label will offer broader Urban AC crossover potential and further opportunities and synergy between Motown Gospel artists and the Motown and Island Def Jam urban roster.”
Motown Gospel was officially launched, with a gala press reception and artist showcase at the Arc Theatre in Los Angeles. The evening featured performances by Gospel best sellers Smokie Norful, Tasha Cobbs, Tye Tribbett, and Kierra Sheard. In addition to the artists who performed at the showcase, the Motown Gospel roster includes multiple Stellar Award winning artists VaShawn Mitchell, Pastor Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Chicago and Grammy nominee Anita Wilson, among others.
The structure of Motown Gospel will include Ken Pennell and the executive leadership of EMI Gospel, based in Nashville, coupled with new hires, particularly in the A&R areas. As such, the first appointment of Motown Gospel is VP of A&R, songwriter and producer extraordinaire Aaron Lindsey. Mr. Lindsey, one of the most respected talents in gospel music today, has four Grammy awards and multiple Stellar and Dove awards. His songwriting credits include “Again I Say Rejoice,” My Testimony” and “He Saw the Best in Me” and he has produced such bestselling artists as Israel Houghton, Byron Cage, and Marvin Sapp’s “Never Would Have Made It” from the platinum-selling album Thirty.