The Year in Music 2023: Praise the gospel stars who lifted us up this year


2023 ushered in a new wave of gospel stars, while many of the genre’s legends continued to uplift audiences with their praise music. Here’s a snapshot of a few top moments from the gospel music world:

— On February 5, Maverick City Music took home four of the five Grammys the group was nominated for, including Best Gospel Album for King Book One Deluxe.

— On July 15, Pastor Mike Jr. took home eight Stellar Awards, including Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Music Video of the Year. He told ABC Audio he was expecting to “go 0 for 10” after winning big at the 2022 ceremony.

— On September 15, Mary Mary‘s Erica Campbell unleashed I Love You, an album originally intended to be released prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s her most vulnerable album yet, she said, home to its namesake track, “I Love You,” and the Billboard Gospel Airplay #1 “Feel Alright (Blessed).”

— On September 28, Kirk Franklin, joined by Tye TribbettThe Clark SistersIsrael Houghton and David Tamela Mann, hit the road with The Reunion Tour. With special guests New BreedThe Family and God’s Property, the group traveled to major cities across the U.S., singing the gospel throughout October and November.

— On October 6, Franklin released his 14th studio album, Father’s Day. He told ABC Audio that title wasn’t the initial name for the project, but after a chance encounter with the man who turned out to be his biological father, Franklin’s music became a journal for the events happening in his life. 

— On October 17, Jekalyn Carr celebrated her seventh Billboard#1 as “I Believe God” topped the Gospel Airplay Songs chart. It followed 2018’s “You Will Win” and “It’s Yours.”

— On October 20, Carr made her gospel music return with the release of her self-titled seventh album, Jekalyn. She had taken a four-year hiatus from recording music before the new album; she told ABC Audio of the break, “There’s been a lot of growth … a lot of life experiences.”

— On November 14, singing sensation Koryn Hawthorne announced, via an Essence spread, she got engaged to her childhood friend Hunter Register.

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