Four to receive Marlin Awards honors

Sir Charles Carter, Adrian Agard, Jamie Thomas and The Love Singers recognized for contributions to gospel music domestically and regionally

For the first time in Marlin Awards history, an award in the name of the late Dr. Myles E. Munroe will be meted out and bestowed posthumously to Jamie ‘JT’ Thomas. The late gospel music producer, promoter and radio and television personality from Trinidad and Tobago will be the first recipient of the Dr. Myles E. Munroe International Leadership Award of Merit.

Thomas will be one of four people honored for their contributions to gospel music domestically in their home country as well as regionally, as the Caribbean gospel celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards, recognizing outstanding achievements in Caribbean gospel music.

The late Sir Edward Charles Carter II and gospel legends The Love Singers are the two Bahamians to be honored along with Barbadian Adrian Agard, who is described as an industry pioneer.

Sir Charles will receive the Local Contribution Award for his years of invaluable contribution to the advancement and promotion of Bahamian gospel music during the award’s silver jubilee ceremony on Sunday, July 3 at the Myles E. Munroe Diplomat Center beginning at 6 p.m.

He began his career in broadcasting at the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas as a radio announcer in 1964. He later produced several programs, including one in particular, “These are Bahamians”, for which he traveled the islands of The Bahamas in search of stories, people and culture.

Kevin ‘Minister K’ Harris, Marlin Awards founder and president, said the show presented Sir Charles with the perfect vehicle in which he could allow Bahamians to share their stories. He said Sir Charles also used the show as a platform to introduce and promote Bahamian gospel music.

“A number of traditional and contemporary gospel artists appeared on ‘These are Bahamians’ since its inception, exposing gospel recording artists to a wider national audience,” said Harris.

Legendary gospel group The Love Singers will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for their years of crafting, promoting and advancing Bahamian and Caribbean gospel music.

“The legendary Love Singers can be considered a true Bahamian gospel supergroup,” said Harris. “The band has a legacy of authenticity and innovation that has reshaped the gospel music scene in The Bahamas, the Caribbean and the world at large.”

The Love Singers was founded around 1974 by Myron Walker, Felton Williamson and Johnny Swann. The group grew to become a band in 1976 with the addition of Lionel Harris, Charles Brown and Michael Bullard. With the addition of the late Dr. Mark Bethel on vocals, Harris said their “recipe” for greatness was assured.

The group’s list of original members reads like a veritable who’s who of Bahamian music, including Andrew Gardiner, Lavonne Harris, Johnny Swann, Charles Brown, Michael Bullard, Felton Williamson, Patrice and Jacob McPhee, Sacario Leadon, Fred Ferguson, Wilola Carol and Malvese Capron.

“Bethel led the group after Myron Walker’s passing and his vocal gifts, together with the band’s skillful stylings, personality and devout character, was responsible for successfully navigating the group throughout The Bahamas, the Caribbean and the United States. The gospel group ministered in word and song and had hits like ‘The Christian ABCs’, ‘As You Live’, ‘None Has Changed the World’ and ‘Give Me A Clean Heart’.”

Thomas, who will be honored with the Dr. Myles E. Munroe International Leadership Award of Merit, was well known as host and producer of the gospel television show “Rise & Shine”, which aired on the Caribbean-based television network Tempo.

Harris said Thomas also worked closely with the Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards for many years, helping to not only promote the award show but to create networking and promotional opportunities for artists.

As a result of his many years of promoting and advancing Caribbean Gospel Music, Thomas, in 2014, was presented with the President’s Award, one of the highest honors given out during each ceremony.

Agard, a promoter and regional Christian retail pioneer from Barbados, will be presented with the President’s Award, considered one of the highest honors.

In 1981, Agard pioneered the contemporary gospel music program “Priority”. Between 1981 and 1988, he coordinated events for the band “Promise” and led tours to various Caribbean islands.

Agard was on the committee that planned the first Barbados Gospelfest in 1993, which eventually led to him taking it on full time. Three decades later, Barbados Gospelfest has grown to be known as the “Caribbean’s premiere Christian music and arts festival”.

“Under his leadership, the festival became more diverse in its music and arts offerings with a strong emphasis of providing a platform for Barbadian, regional and international artists,” said Harris.

In 1998, along with his wife, Grace, they established “Things Gospel” retail store in Barbados, providing a range of Christian resources and supplies.

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 as 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, 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 several 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”.

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”.

Christopher Roberts & Friends has 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 and Adrian Edgecome earned one nomination each. Female artists Latoya Culmer and Sunae Russell also earned one nomination each, a first for both.

The silver jubilee anniversary makes the Marlin Awards the longest running gospel music award show in The Bahamas and the Caribbean.

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, 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, at Bahamas Faith Ministries beginning at 9 a.m.

Tickets for this year’s Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards start at $25 general admission, $30 at the door and $50 VIP. Tickets can be purchased at 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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