Category Archives: Awards

#UKGospelLegacy – Celebrating The MOBOs

I’m dedicating this week’s #ThrowbackThursday #UKGospelLegacy to the MOBO Awards

Because – in my book at least – they’re extremely *essential* to the legacy of Black music in the UK

First: #Throwback to the 2017 MOBOAwards #UKGospel category announcement:

New Things

Shout out to the MOBO team for trying new things. 2015 was when they started the ‘Pre-MOBO’ event.

Some argued it further marginalised minority genres (it’s difficult to argue against that), but the truth is: the main event was getting too big to fit everything on TV…

So maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea to create a special event for the niche/heritage/smaller categories, instead of tagging us on to the main event for 20 minutes on the day and less than 3 seconds on air… 🤣

Oh, I don’t know. I’m just thinking out aloud…

Anyway: to the main reason for this week’s #UKGospelLegacy post

Behind the scenes at the MOBOAwards pre-awards 2015 at Chelsea’s Under the Bridge

Faith Child (winner of the 2015 Gospel category)

A Star and Yinka Mode

YolanDa Brown

( L-R Daniel Owusu, S.O., Yinka Mode)

Volney Morgan and New Ye Win 2017 MOBO Gospel

The UK’s biggest Black Music awards avoids backlash, keeps the Gospel award in the UK

After a few years of generally being on the right side of the scene (2016’s nominees were a particular highlight), the MOBO Awards’ 2017 Gospel category waded back into controversial waters this year by not only returning what some suggested were ‘the same old names‘, but also including – gasp – an American on the shortlist.

Still, all’s well that ends well: last night, Volney Morgan and New Ye picked up the Gospel gong, rounding up a bittersweet week for him (he lost his Godmother recently, but also won the Gospel category in the UK Entertainment Awards).

Congratulations to all the nominees.

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MOBO Announces 2017 Gospel Category Nominations

MOBO 2017 Nominees

MOBO Awards announces the 2017 Gospel category

Earlier today the MOBO Awards Gospel artist nominees were shared with the world via a Premier Gospel radio exclusive broadcast.


#MOBOGospel – Time To Move On..?

wpid-mobo_gospel_vertical.pngI decided to not say much on the MOBOs for 2015.  That was deliberate.

To be honest, the team’s excellent 2014 #MOBOGospel specials had pretty much said much of what was needed, articulating a whole range of issues around the complexities of the UK Gospel scene’s relationship with the country’s biggest Black Music awards platform.

In my view a new opinion piece would have been extraneous.  Besides, the fundamentals remain unchanged: MOBO announce awards.  MOBO announce nominees. Consternation ensues. Lots of navel gazing, meaning-of-life-ing and hand-wringing follow.  Furore dies down.  Rinse. Repeat following year.


MOBO Pre Awards Show 2015Then last week – and completely out of the blue (for me anyway) – MOBO threw a curveball and announced a new format: a Pre-Awards Show, celebrating Jazz, RnB/Soul and Gospel, uncoupled from the showcase TV broadcast. and now reinvented as a dedicated standalone event.

The press release pitches it as a red carpet gala, and despite the inevitable second-guessing around the reasons MOBO made this move, the genuine intention to make this new strand something of a serious thing can’t be denied.

To wit: performances scheduled from some of the UK’s best-known and credible Black talent (Courtney Pine, Mica Paris and Omar to mention just three) plus Gospel’s own Faith Child and Annastasia Baker is – in my book at least – a serious statement of intent.

Shaky Ground

We start to get on slightly shaky ground when MOBO feel the need to have an American host the event (in this case Marvin Winans Jr, who – to those in the know – comes from American Gospel royalty).

Brand Extension

However, with my brand extension hat on I can see why MOBO would make this kind of play: for one, this could be the beginning of a new, strong spin-off, a separate but complementary awards strand.

It’s also built (at least with this prototype version) around legacy music genres which traditionally have a deeply passionate follower base, but don’t pull in the mass audience that TV channels like ITV2 or BBC 3 will need to justify the airtime bill.  Besides: everyone loves the Americans, right?

Without putting too fine a point on it, I’m happy to wait to see how this all plays out.

Amazing Opportunity

For me the crux of the matter is this: UK Gospel once again stands on the cusp of an amazing opportunity: the chance to fully engage with the process, participate in the conversation, and at the very least have an input, and ultimately, influence.


When all is said and done it’s in MOBO’s best interest to make sure the category is credible.  And – with all due respect to many of the nominees we’ve had in the Gospel category over the years – that hasn’t always been the case.  I think we’re all agreed on that.  I’m sure even MOBO knows this.

MOBO’s Credit

Where I disagree with much of what I suspect is conventional thinking in the Gospel industry is the amount of blame that needs to be laid at MOBO’s door: from where I stand (and to their eternal credit), MOBO is consistently reaching out, looking for ways to engage the community.

I live in eternal hope that – at the very least the UK’s official industry body, the Gospel Music Industry Alliance (GMIA), will play some role in this new dawn.  I made this same point back in 2012.

Good Omens

MOBO Pre Awards Show 2015 - Faith Child Performing LiveIn the meantime the omens are once again good: the lovely PR people at Outside (who, in conjunction with Black Grape) have created significant buzz in the Gospel media community: I don’t think I’ve seen this much anticipation from a wide range of bloggers, radio folk and website publishers in, well… Ever.

So I along with a few the team will be breaking out the glad rags and heading out to Under The Bridge in Chelsea London, on Tuesday 27 October 2015.

Voting for Best Jazz, Best Gospel & Best R&B/Soul closed yesterday (Friday 23rd October) so we’ll find out who picks up the Gospel gong for 2015: CHOS3N (Birmingham/Midlands), Olaedo (London), Leroy Johnson (Leeds), Ni-Cola (Manchester) or Faith Child (London).

For me, the real work begins now.  Regardless of who picks up the Gospel 2015 award, the UK Gospel scene has another chance to become real winners by actively engaging with the MOBO process…

It looks like I’ve just signed myself up for writing #MOBOGospel 2016, God spare life…

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Triple O – A MOBO Changed My Life..?


MOBO 2014 – The Specials

So, it’s that time of the year again. The MOBOs roll back into town for 2014, returning to the Big Smoke for the first time in years, with the event taking place on October 22nd.

And you can bet your house (or rented accommodation) that the ‘whos’, ‘hows’, and ‘whys’ in response to the announced nominations will – pretty much inevitably – not be that far behind.

What is it about the UK’s biggest Black music awards that completely polarises opinion across the board..?

In the third instalment of our special #MOBOGospel series Henry Yanney catches up with 2011 MOBO Gospel Winner Tobi Oyefeso, (better known as ‘Triple O’) for the story on his MOBO win.

Continue reading Triple O – A MOBO Changed My Life..?

What’s The Point Of The MOBOs..?


MOBO 2014 – The Specials

So, it’s that time of the year again.  The MOBOs roll back into town for 2014,  returning to the Big Smoke for the first time in years, with the event taking place on October 22nd.

And you can bet your house (or rented accommodation) that the ‘whos’, ‘hows’, and ‘whys’ in response to the announced nominations will – pretty much inevitably – not be that far behind.

What is it about the UK’s biggest Black music awards that completely polarises opinion across the board..?

Continue reading What’s The Point Of The MOBOs..?

Miss Kerr, the MOBOs and Migrating from UK Gospel…

I’m happy to admit I found 2012’s MOBO Gospel category difficult to call.

The one thing MOBO Awards is pretty much guaranteed to do with Gospel every year is generate consternation and anger (even outrage) among those who feel they have their finger sitting much more firmly on the industry’s pulse than the folks at MOBO HQ.

Get it Wrong

And – almost inevitably – it would seem MOBO ‘get it wrong’ every year.

Still, as an observer myself I’m always interested to see how people with no direct connection to our industry understand and interpret it. There’s much benefit in seeing things from an outsiders’ perspective.

Continue reading Miss Kerr, the MOBOs and Migrating from UK Gospel…

MOBO Gospel 2012 – Last Chance: Listen to the music – Then Vote!

Voted for your favourite UK Gospel act for MOBO 2012 yet..?

No?  Well, maybe you need a reminder. Here’s a summary of the nominees, in alphabetical order.

You have less than 24 hours:

El Mafrex – Jehovah – Join on Facebook

Nicola – Breakthrough ft Guvna B – Join on Facebook

Rachel Kerr – Kingdom Soldier 2011 Remix ft Commission, Lola Godheld, Jay Ess, Faith Child,  Matthew Allen, Guvna B – Join on Facebook

Ram 1 – My Habitat – Join on Facebook

V9 Collective – World To Me (DJ Ayce Remix) – Join on Facebook

Vote for your Favourite at

And – finally – I’d Like to Thank God…

Sometime in September Miss Tobi sent me the tweet congratulating me on the nomination.

It was the first I heard of it.  As it turned out, I’d been nominated in the ‘Best Radio Personality’ category for the 2012 Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts Awards (BEFFTAs).

I was shocked.  As in ‘stunned, but very pleasantly surprised’.  Pretty much the very same reaction I had when my first-ever nomination came in for the same category in last year’s BEFFTAs.

I didn’t win of course, but – cliché time – it felt fantastic just to be nominated.

To put this into some sort of context, I’d only been doing radio for about two years when that first nomination came in…


What makes this whole thing special for me is the fact that I’m nominated in an ‘open’ category, not a ‘Gospel’ one…

And yes, while that might (possibly) sound like a contradiction in evangelical terms to some people (do refrain from hurling your stones of righteous indignation, and leave them in their pouches a minute longer), from my point of view it means I’m being assessed via the same yardstick as people in mainstream radio – from places like the BBC and Choice FM, to mention just two.

Continue reading And – finally – I’d Like to Thank God…

UK Artist Makes US Dove History

Lola Godheld singing

Lola Godheld image by

Last week was a good one for UK gospel, not least because on the 20th of April, 2011, London-based Lola Godheld made history by becoming the first Black British solo artist to win a Dove Award.

She was awarded the Urban Recorded Song of the Year  for her song ‘Wait On The Lord’, taken from the excellent UK gospel compilation album ‘The British Are Coming’. Continue reading UK Artist Makes US Dove History