*Kirk Franklin is featuring gospel’s “it girl” and JDI Records artist Beverly Crawford on his upcoming new CD, to be released March 22nd on Verity/Fo Yo Soul/Zomba. After a nearly 3 year hiatus from recording, Kirk Franklin returns this spring with the most highly anticipated gospel release of the year “Hello Fear.”

The top selling gospel artist of all-time, with over 12 million records sold, Kirk Franklin is renowned for his collaborations and his selection of Grammy winner Beverly Crawford speaks volumes about the resurgence of her career as one of the top female artists in gospel. Marvin Sapp will also be featured on the song titled, “The Altar.”

According to JDI Records, Crawford’s legion of ardent fans include Ochocinco, President Obama, Fantasia, and Natalie Cole. Also, Crawford’ current CD, “Live from Los Angeles – Vol. 2” continues to garner rave reviews all over the country!

You can catch both singers live in a city near you during separate tours. Crawford is currently on a her 100-city tour around the nation and Franklin will kick off a joint tour with comedian Steve Harvey beginning on Saturday, March 19 in Atlanta, GA.

Steve Harvey and Kirk Franklin Gospel Comedy Tour Dates:

Saturday, March 19
Atlanta, GA
Philips Arena Theater

Saturday, March 26
Tampa, FL
St. Pete Times Forum

Saturday, April 2
Memphis, TN
Desoto Civic Center

Saturday, April 9
Nashville, TN
Bridgestone Arena

Saturday, April 30
Charleston, SC
North Charleston Coliseum

Saturday, May 7
St. Louis, MO
Chaifetz Arena

Saturday, May 21
Jacksonville, FL
Veterans Memorial

Hello Fear Track Listing

1. Hello Fear
2. The Story of Fear
3. Before I Die
4. I Am
5. But The Blood
6. Everyone Hurts
7. I Smile
8. Give Me featuring Mali Music
9. Never Alone Interlude
10. The Altar featuring Marvin Sapp & Beverly Crawford
11. Something About The Name Jesus Pt. 2
(featuring Rance Allen, Marvin Winans, John P. Kee & Isaac Carree)
12. Today
13. The Moment #1
14. The Moment #2
15. A God Like You

Watch the video for Kirk Franklin’s latest single, “Smile”:

The Douglas Girls

Like Father, Like Daughters


Kerry Douglas’ daughters place six songs on Billboard Hot Gospel Song Charts

Over the last decade, Blacksmoke Music Worldwide CEO Kerry Douglas has become known throughout the gospel music industry as the man who turns unknown singers into gospel’s next superstars. His label has delivered #1 gospel songs such as James Fortune & FIYA’s “I Trust You” and Earnest Pugh’s “Rain on Us.” Now, Douglas has passed his expertise on to the next generation by training two of his daughters, Amber and Antoinette, to promote radio hits and they are off to a great start.

When Karen Clark Sheard’s latest single, “He Knows,” dropped off the charts a few weeks ago, the Douglas Girls picked it back up and now it’s #17 on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs chart. They have also worked with their dad to place these songs on this week’s chart: Preashea Hilliard’s “Fresh Fire”(#23), Keith Wonderboy Johnson’s “True Love” (#22), Lonnie Hunter’s “I’m Back” (#26), and Earnest Pugh’s “Perfect Peace”(#27). They are also still working James Fortune & FIYA’s “I Believe” that enjoyed a 19 week stretch at #1 before dropping to #3.

“This is my family’s business,” says Douglas who was a car salesman before going into R&B concert promotion before a near-death experience brought him into the church and led him to found what is now Black Smoke Music Worldwide – the most successful indie label in gospel music today according to Billboard magazine. “It makes me proud to be able to pass this legacy on to my daughters and see them make their marks as young businesswomen.”

Registration Now Open for How Sweet The Sound Choir Sing Off

Registration is now open for the 2011 Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound Gospel Celebration, the country’s most prestigious gospel music experience. Interested choir representatives can visit www.HowSweetTheSound.com until Friday, April 15, to sign up to be part of the How Sweet the Sound community. By registering, choirs will have the chance to rejoice in song and praise; sing in front of gospel greats and fans; and win up to $50,000.Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound Gospel Celebration pays tribute to gospel music and provides choirs a platform to showcase their talent. Regional events will take place in the following cities this year:

St. Louis
Washington, D.C.
Charlotte, N.C.
Los Angeles
Oakland, Calif.

“How Sweet the Sound is really about building a partnership between Verizon and the community,” said Marquett Smith, vice president of corporate communications and community relations, Verizon Wireless. “We are committed to investing in meaningful programs that empower individuals and the community.”

Last year, the Compton-based choir, Voices of Destiny, won the How Sweet the Sound grand prize, receiving over $40,000 and the opportunity to perform at the 2011 Stellar Awards and Super Bowl Gospel Celebration. The choir is building a youth center with the prize money.

“Winning Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound Gospel Celebration has been such a blessing,” said Voices of Destiny choir director Pastor Michael Fisher. “Verizon has given us an opportunity to show the world that Compton is filled with young people working for positive change in their lives and those around them.”

Entry and Selection Process

Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound Gospel Celebration invites faith-based choirs within one of the nine tour regions to enter (visit www.HowSweetTheSound.com for specific geography). Choirs interested in a chance to perform on stage must submit an application and audition video. All registration forms and audition videos must be received by April 15, 2011. The audition video may be submitted by mail, uploaded online or dropped off at participating Verizon Wireless Communications Stores. To enter by mail, choirs should send submissions to Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound Gospel Celebration, 125 E. Broad Street, Greenville, SC 29601.

Both small and large choirs are eligible to enter the competition. The “Small/Medium Category” is for choirs consisting of six to 35 performers, while the “Large Category” is for choirs with 36 to 100 performers.

After April 15, 2011, a panel of independent judges, selected by Verizon in its sole discretion, will review the eligible Round 1 Videos submitted and, based on the Judging Criteria, score and select four (4) choirs from the Small/Medium Category and four (4) Choirs from the Large Category in each Region (for a total of eight (8) choirs per region) to advance to Round 2 of the contest. Regional Finalists selected by the Judges to advance to the second round of the Contest will be required to submit an essay and video response answering the question “How is your ministry advancing the community?” The videos will be posted on www.HowSweetTheSound.com where members of the community can vote for their favorite choirs. Online voting results will be taken into consideration to determine the V CAST People’s Choice Award Winner at each regional event and the grand finale.

Up to eight choirs will then be selected to perform onstage at the regional event and two winners, one from the Small/Medium and one from the Large Category, will win $10,000. One overall winner will be selected at each regional concert, and each choir member from the overall winning choir will receive a Verizon Wireless phone and a $50 gift card and advance to the grand finale where they will compete to win more than $25,000 in cash and prizes.

The V CAST People’s Choice Award will be awarded to the choir that captures the heart of online voters as well as the audience at each regional concert and at the grand finale. The V CAST People’s Choice Award winners will receive $5,000 at each regional event and at the grand finale.

The Gospel Slice is edited by multi-media journalist Mona Austin, a trusted source for “gospeltainment.”