It was all black and bling during the recent Groove Awards nomination night ahead of the 13th edition of the annual award ceremony.
The gospel-themed awards disclosed names of the nominees that made it past the submissions, but not before David Kuria, chairman of the panel of judges set the record straight and shone light on some changes. “This year we wanted to involve the audience a bit more and that is why we gave them the power to nominate artistes.
We will also open up ticketing to the public and you can buy as many tickets as they want. Groove Awards with Safaricom involved the public this year in the nomination process and generated a lot of excitement among stakeholders and the industry giving greater ownership and participation to music fans across the country,” he said.
Among some of the changes were the short periods slated to accommodate submissions and voting. “We are keeping it short and sweet ahead of the gala towards the end of June. The voting lines will be open until June 23,” Kuria echoed.
Notably, the Groove camp was also kept precise with the stakeholders holding a one day Groove-camp session as opposed to the previous one week camp retreats.
Previously, all groove awards’ ceremonies took place on the 1st of June every year. This year’s theme comes from Nehemiah 2:4 with the emphasis on reclaiming, rebuilding and restoring as Pastors Andy and Kuchio reverberated throughout the fête.
“Through this platform, we have been able to not only reach out to the youth with positive messaging over the years by harnessing the power of music, while promoting the gospel music industry in Kenya, the East African region and further afield,” said Charles Kare, acting director, Consumer Business Unit, Safaricom.
Unlike the previous 12 awards, things will different this time round. The categories were cut down from the usual 35 plus to 23. The male and female artistes of the year titles, which were previously the top most acts are now replaced with Artist of the Year category.
That saw the previous male and female winners for 2017, Eko Dydda and Mercy Masika bagged the nominations alongside Moji Shortbaba, Gloria Muliro, Guardian Angel and hip-hop group Recapp. As the unveiling event proceeded, a spotlight was shone on the plight of the gospel in the industry, with celebrated Jalang’o cited the message in the music churned has lost meaning.
“Some of these songs just mention God in passing like a producer. What happened to the real message? How about inspiration? Don’t copy tunes and paste gospel lyrics on them. We are watching you and we see what you do,” he stated. The rigorous nomination scheme that was opened up to the public saw over 143,000 names get submitted. That, however, did not stop the sifting.
“The announcement of the nominees follows a rigorous process of reviewing 143,684submissions that the public put in. The process was refreshed to involve the public for the first time in the nominations process and the feedback has been overwhelming. We are excited to be unveiling the list of contenders for the 13th edition of the Groove Awards with Safaricom,” said panel chairman Charles Kairu.
“We are truly honoured to be in a position to recognise and celebrate today’s talented artistes and their contribution to the growth of the gospel music industry.”
Going home with the highest nominations was Jabidii, who led with an impressive seven nominations including Song of the Year and Teens Choice Song of the Year in which he received two nominations, Breakthrough Artiste eof the year, Collabo of the Year and Dance Style/Song of the Year in which he also received two nominations for Odi Dance and KDF. Gloria Muliro followed closely with six nominations in Artiste of the Year, Song of the Year, twice under the Praise and Worship Song of the Year, Collabo of the Year and Western County Song of the Year categories.
Timeless Noel received five nominations most of which were alongside Jabidii save for MC/Hypeman of the Year. Having received four nominations in the Music Video Category of the Year, Sammy Dee’s work put him ahead of the pack.
The spotlight also shone on the dance category, highlighting that dancers looking to bag the Best Dance Group title will be required to follow due process and possibly choreograph routines according to the music choice selections by the panel, which will be rolled out in due time.
After the gala, winners and artistes will go on Groove tours in various parts of the country unlike with its predecessors, which gave them a platform to garner votes.