Urban Music Connection

With black gospel music sales growing to represent more than 20 percent of all gospel music sales and urban music continuing to lead the Billboard charts, the Gospel Music Association has responded with the Urban Music Connection at GMA Music Week 2006, designed specifically for artists and professionals working in or interested in the popular style of music, announced John W. Styll, president of the GMA.
Urban Music Connection will be held during GMA Music Week (April 1-4), GMA’s annual gathering of more than 3,000 artists, musicians, songwriters, executives, media and others working or involved in the gospel music industry. The Urban Music Connection will be held on Monday and Tuesday of GMA Music Week and all convention registrants. Registration to the Urban Music Connection is available separately from the GMA Music Week convention, and all the details can be found at www.gospelmusic.org.
“There is no other time or place where our industry, reflecting its entire diverse musical landscape, is gathered together, to engage in professional development and to hear non-stop music of every gospel style imaginable. Now, with the Urban Music Connection, we can offer a more targeted opportunity to ensure that the artists and professionals of the black gospel and urban music community feel welcome at this event,” said Styll.
Among the highlights of the Urban Music Connection are an overview of the “World of Urban Christian Music,” presented by Max Siegel, president of Zomba Gospel along with other industry professionals; “Public Relations Essentials,” presented by urban Christian music PR guru Gwendolyn Quinn of GQ Media and Public Relations, Inc., whose clients include Kirk Franklin, Smokie Norful and Anointed; “Producer’s Perspective – Producer To Producer!” featuring Embassy Entertainment’s Louis Brown and Pinnacle Entertainment’s Mark Harris; and “Keepin’ It Real for the Kingdom” a follow-up to a popular roundtable event held at last year’s GMA Music Week. This year’s roundtable will look at mainstream hip hop music and Christian hip hop music from the artist’s perspective and will be hosted by TABA Music Media and Christopher Martin, producer of Amen Films and professionally known as ´Play´ of Kid ´n Play. At a Monday night showcase concert, Integrity Gospel, EMI Gospel, Zomba, Embassy Entertainment and Word Records will present five hours of the best in urban Christian music.
The 37th Annual GMA Music Awards will serve as the culmination of GMA Music Week 2006 on Wednesday, April 5 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. Hosted this year by Kirk Franklin and Rebecca St. James, this event is gospel music’s biggest night, as nominated artists and industry professionals are honored with gospel music’s highest honor, the Dove Award. Information about tickets can be found at www.gmamusicawards.com.

Founded in 1964, the 4,500-member Gospel Music Association (http://www.gospelmusic.org) is dedicated to exposing, promoting and celebrating the gospel through music. The GMA represents all styles of gospel music including contemporary pop, rock, urban gospel, praise & worship, Southern gospel, country and children’s gospel music. The GMA produces the GMA Music Awards, which recognizes achievement in all genres of gospel music and are voted on by members of the GMA.
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