The event, held at the Rialto Center for the Arts, also recognized BMI’s Most-Performed Gospel Song of the Year: “The Gift,” written and performed by Donald Lawrence. The song, featured on Lawrence’s album Best For Last, topped the Billboard Gospel Airplay chart and achieved wide-spread success. BMI also recognized five additional opuses as Top-Performed Gospel Songs of the Year (2014): “1 On 1,” written by Lucius B. Hoskins and performed by Zacardi Cortez; “Clean This House,” co-written by Philip Cornish and Isaac Carree, who is the performer; “God Will Make a Way,” written by Ay’Ron Lewis and performed by Shirley Caesar; “Here in Our Praise,” co-written by Michael Bethany and Fred Hammond, who is the performer; and “It’s Working,” co-written by Aaron Lindsey and William Murphy, who is the performer.
Musical tributes began with an awe-inspiring nod to The Anointed Pace Sisters, featuring Zie’l (“Safety Zone”), The Walls Group (“Contentment”), The Company (“U-Know”), Dorinda Clark Cole (“Be a Fence”) and Lisa Page Brooks and Tasha Page-Lockhart (“When God is in the Building”). The charismatic songs of LaShun Pace were then celebrated with dynamic performances by B. Slade (“I Know I’ve Been Changed”), Kathy Taylor (“Just Because God Said It”), and Rance Allen (“He Keeps Doing Great Things For Me”). Serving as the event’s triumphant finale, the exalted songs of Israel Houghton were then celebrated with dynamic performances by Tommy Sims (“Nothing Else Matters”), Fred Hammond (“Friend of God/Again I Say Rejoice”), Kim Burrell (“It’s Not Over (When God Is In It”), Micah Stampley (“New Season”), Tasha Cobbs (“Alpha & Omega”), and Jonathan McReynolds (“Moving Forward”).
Gospel music authorities Kim Burrell and VaShawn Mitchell hosted the ceremony, along with Mike O’Neill, BMI President and CEO and Catherine Brewton, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Atlanta.
BMI’s impressive roster of gospel songwriters includes Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, Jessica Reedy, Marvin Sapp, Twinkie Clark, BeBe Winans, Wess Morgan, Kim Burrell and many others.