A silver jubilee celebration

Joel ‘Positive’ Murray, Kevin Downswell, Cara T. Newton, Sherwin Gardner, Neesha Woodz, Samuel Medas among Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards scheduled performers  

The Caribbean gospel community will come together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards, recognizing outstanding achievements in Caribbean gospel music.

For the silver jubilee celebration, several local and regional gospel artists are scheduled to perform, including the two top co-nominees this year, Joel ‘Positive’ Murray from Trinidad and Tobago, and Kevin Downswell from Jamaica, as well the two top co-group nominees Christopher Roberts & Friends and Gateway Outreach Ministries (GOM) featuring Oslien Jadorte from The Bahamas.

Also on the show’s line-up is this year’s top female nominee, Cara T. Newton, from Grand Bahama, as well as other top nominees such as Sherwin Gardner from Trinidad and Tobago but who now resides in The Bahamas; Neesha Woodz from Barbados, and Samuel Medas from Guyana. Other confirmed performers include Harvest Generation, Alia Coley and Allison Mason Rolle. Several other artists will be added to the show shortly.

For the silver jubilee celebration, Cara T. Newton, Christopher Roberts & Friends, and Chosen Soldiers have been nominated for multiple awards as the show makes its return in its 26th year after being sidelined since 2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newton, with a total of 13 nominations, is the top female nominee and top Bahamian nominee for the 2022 Marlin Awards. She has earned a number of key nominations including Outstanding New Artist; Outstanding Junkanoo Rake & Scrape Recording for her single “Recovery”; Outstanding Rake & Scrape Vocal Performance for “I Claim It”; Outstanding Song for “Recovery” and Outstanding Album “Road to Recovery”.

Cara T. Newton.

Newton also received nominations for Outstanding Contemporary Vocal Performance (Duo Group) for “More than Enough” featuring Oslien Jadorte; Outstanding Contemporary Vocal Performance (Female) for “This is Love”; Outstanding Dance Recording for “He Reigns”; Outstanding Instrumental Recording for “He Reigns”; Outstanding Jazz Recording for “Him”; Outstanding Praise and Worship Recording (Female) for “All”; Outstanding Traditional Vocal Performance (Solo) for “God’s Been Good”; and Outstanding Traditional Recording for “God’s Been Good”.

Kevin ‘Minister K’ Harris, Marlin Awards founder and president, told The Nassau Guardian that Newton’s nominations may be the first time, since the awards integrated in 2002 from the Bahamian Gospel Music Awards to the Caribbean Gospel Music Awards, that a Bahamian female gospel artist earned 13 nominations during a single awards season and the first time a Bahamian female earned the top female nominee post.

“In the past, we have seen female artists from Jamaica and Barbados as our top female nominee, but Cara Newton has earned this distinction for The Bahamas this year.”

Harris said they are humbled by how far they have come, and how much they have grown.

“We are especially delighted to know that with the pending celebration of our silver jubilee anniversary, the Marlin Awards now stands as the longest running gospel music award show in The Bahamas and in the Caribbean.

Neesha Woodz.

The Marlin Awards was launched on March 16, 1996, by Harris and is now considered the premier gospel music award that recognizes and honors Bahamian and Caribbean gospel music globally – its vision and core objective is to encourage excellence and growth in Caribbean gospel music.

The awards started as The Bahamian Gospel Music Marlin Awards and, in 2000, eight categories were included to recognize Caribbean Gospel artists and their music.

In 2022, the award was rebranded to the Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards, bringing together, for the first time, artists from throughout The Bahamas and the Caribbean.

The Marlin Awards will serve as the final event during Marlin Weekend of Events 2022, which will include the hosting of the Marlin Fest Concert on Friday, July 1, at Bahamas Harvest Church West Campus (JFK) beginning at 7 p.m., and the Marlin Summit Workshops on Saturday, July 2, which will be held at Bahamas Faith Ministries beginning at 9 a.m. The Marlin Awards celebration will close out the weekend of events on Sunday, July 3, at the Myles E. Munroe Diplomat Center beginning at 6 p.m.

Christopher Roberts & Friends have received nine nominations – Outstanding Album “The Choir Project”; Outstanding Choir Chorale Recording for “A Message from the Lord” featuring Clement Penn Jr.; Outstanding Junkanoo Rake & Scrape Recording “Jehovah Nick A Time” featuring Pastor Simeon Outten; Outstanding Junkanoo Rake & Scrape Vocal Performance for “Jehovah Nick A Time” featuring Pastor Simeon Outten; Outstanding Music Video (Duo Group) for “A Higher Call to Serve”; Outstanding New Artist; Outstanding Song “Jehovah Nick A Time” featuring Pastor Simeon Outten; Outstanding Traditional Recording “Plead the Blood” featuring Shaniqua Thurston; and Outstanding Traditional Vocal 

Performance (Duo Group) for “Plead the Blood” featuring Shaniqua Thurston.

Joel ‘Positive’ Murray, from Trinidad and Tobago, is the overall nominee and top male nominee with 18 nominations.

With nominations announced in more than 50 categories, several other Bahamian gospel artists also received significant nominations including GOM featuring Oslien Jadorte and GOM from Bimini with eight nominations, making them the first group from Bimini to do so, and making GOM the church with the most nominated artists.

Bahamian reggae artist Ramont ‘Monty G’ Green also garnered eight nominations including Outstanding Reggae Recording and Reggae Vocal Performance (Male) for his single “Back on My Feet Again”.

Monty G also earned nominations for Outstanding Song, Outstanding Album, Outstanding Dancehall and Outstanding DJ Vocal Permanence, making him the only Bahamian to receive nominations in just about every reggae category this year.

Following closely behind is Harvest Generation, the worship team of New Providence-based Bahamas Harvest Church, which received six nominations including Outstanding Praise and Worship Recording and Outstanding Song for their single “Answer the Call”.

Singer/songwriter Alia Coley also earned six nominations including Outstanding Song, Outstanding Music Video Female and Outstanding Calypso/Soca Vocal Performance Female for her hit single “Favor”.

Coley was also nominated for Outstanding Soca Recording for “Favor”, making her the first female artist in Marlin Awards history to earn a nomination in this category for The Bahamas.

Pop sensation Monique Terez also earned five nominations all for her single “Your Love”, which has been nominated for Outstanding Song.

Gospel R&B artist Sammi ‘Sammi Starr’ Poitier received five nominations along with Vanessa Clarke, who also earned five.

Gospel hip hop artist Ricardo ‘Mr. Beeds’ Forbes and Kelda ‘Timeless’ Sweeting received three nominations each.

Garnering two nominations each were female praise and worship artist Kenya Ferguson, singer Allison Mason-Rolle and The Rahming Brothers. Gospel reggae artist and television producer Orlando ‘Landlord’ Miller also received two nominations – Outstanding Adapted Recording for his remake of the international worship anthem “Waymaker” and Outstanding Reggae Pop Recording Duo Group for his single “Lord You’re My Strength” with Isabel Davis.

Two nominations were also given to hip hop artist Clifford ‘Big Bruh’ Riley and gospel hip hop duo Chosen Soldiers (Brothers Don Jr., and Chaz Major), who earned their first Marlin Awards nomination; they are also the youngest to be nominated this year at ages 16 and 12, respectively.

Past Marlin Award winners Elnathan ‘DJ Counsellor’ Rolle earned one nomination as did Adrian Edgecombe. Female artists Latoya Culmer and Sunae Russell also earned one nomination each, a first for both.

While the upcoming awards show will be the 26th, the Marlin Awards will celebrate its 25th anniversary during the show, which is being produced by Oracle Media Consultants and held at the Myles E. Munroe Diplomat Center on Sunday, July 3.

Tickets for this year’s Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards start at $25 for general admission, $30 at the door and $50 for VIP. Tickets can be purchased from Logos Bookstore in the Harbour Bay Shopping Plaza, The Oasis Bookstore & Café located in the Myles E. Munroe Diplomat Center, and The Bible Book & Gift Centre located in the Palmdale Shopping Plaza.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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