Two local recording artists won gospel's top honor over the weekend at the 15th Annual Stellar Awards in Atlanta: Maurette Brown Clark was named best new artist for her album "How I Feel," and Richard Smallwood won three Stellars, including one for traditional choir, for his "Healing--Live in Detroit."
Radio broadcasters, record executives and the major promoters cast ballots for the awards, and this year Kirk Franklin was the biggest winner, with eight. His "Nu Nation Project" won him honors as artist of the year and his single "Lean on Me" was dubbed song of the year. Donnie McClurkin won as best male vocalist for the "Prince of Egypt" soundtrack, Vickie Winans was named best female vocalist for "Live in Detroit II," and Men of Standard won the award for contemporary duo.
Freddi Cleveland of Lanham-based gospel station WYCB-AM was one of handful of broadcasters honored with certificates of appreciation. "I was shocked and suprised," he said. "I don't know how they got my name" . . .
"Standing on the Shoulders of Giants," the new album from Brit mega-group Oasis, will be the first release on the band's own record label, Big Brother. The album, which will hit American music stores at the end of February, will be distributed by Sony, the co-owner of Oasis's U.K. label, Creation . . .
Music City News, the oldest country music monthly magazine, closed its doors yesterday, a victim of competition from news-oriented Web sites and the loss of its TV partner, the Nashville Network, its publishers said. The magazine, in business for 37 years and owned by Gannett, will cease publication with the February issue, which has been mailed and is on newsstands now, said president and publisher Larry St. Cyr.