2016 Musical Year in Review

2016 has been a year of highs and lows in the world of music …
Highly-anticipated albums were released, while others surfaced as a disappointing surprise.  Amidst continued flopping of hard record sales, the number of digital copies skyrocketed as industry moguls expected. One well-known member of the industry elite established a controversial launch with the advent of his music cataloging service, TIDAL.  Even into today, underground circuits and indie artists are still facing more competition with signed recording artists leaking and dropping comeback albums with little-to- no advanced warning.  Some faces graced our TV, computer, and mobile screens and garnered our attention with unforgettable public performances and impressive live moments that still grip our hearts today.  Certainly 2016 has been a year of highlighting socially-conscious, artistically-captivating, and immensely-empowering music.   There has also been an emergence of more and more artists illuminating our movies, new television series, as well as taking the spotlight center stage. We’ve even celebrated the life and legacy of the devastating losses that our present world experienced from the passing of so many musical legends and industry pioneers.
deitrick-haddonTruly, this has been a year for confronting the good, the sad, and what’s downright flabbergasting as it relates to potent truths about race, gender, sexuality, and bad politics. Yet through it all, it has been inspirational, gospel, and Christian music that wins the award for the leading art form that keeps us grounded and sane in these times of monumental cultural shifting.
Delve with me, if you will, into the hall of honorable mentions and exceptional highlights of 2016:
Mainstream artists with quality, new releases:
Deitrick Haddon
Hezekiah Walker
James Hall
Japan Mass Choir
Jonathan McReynolds
Jonathan Nelson
Shirley Caesar
Todd Dulaney
William McDowell
Highly-anticipated albums:
Bishop Paul S. Morton – “Legacy: LIVE in New Orleans”
Fred Hammond – “Worship Journal LIVE”
Tamela Mann – “One Way”
KAREW Records – “GEI Live”
Rev. Luther Barnes – “The Favor Of GOD”
Chart-topping comebacks through a single:
Israel Houghton and New Breed – “Chasing Me Down”
Fantasia Barrino ft. Tye Tribbett – “I Made It”
Jeremy Riddle – “Be Enthroned”
Jekalyn Carr – “You’re Bigger”
Catchy songs our churches favor:
Chris Tomlin – “Good, Good Father”
Elevation Worship – “Here As In Heaven”
Elevation Worship – “Ressurecting”
Gateway Worship – “No Longer Slaves”
Jesus Culture – “Fierce”
J. J. Hairston & Youthful Praise – “You Deserve It”
Travis Greene – “Intentional”
Notable newcomer singles:
Henry Hall and New Dimension – “You Were There”
Hillary Scott & The Scott Family – “Thy Will”
Kenny Lewis & One Voice – “Love Song”
Sensere – “Holla” ft. Mo Bless
The Amaysing Twins (Jarvis and Javis Mays) – “I Love You”prince
Tony Saunders feat. Gerald Albright – “Speak To My Heart”
Undeniable indie releases worth celebrating:
Anthony Faulkner – “Guardian Angel”
Christina – “Just Believe”
Worship leaders on the rise:
Benita Washington
Candy West
Darnel Butler
Christian conferences with dynamic expressions of praise and worship:
Catalyst Conference
Experience Conference
Habitation Conference
National Worship Leader Conference
OneThing Young Adult Conference
Passion Conference
Record label achievements:
Entertainment One Music (eOne Music – who collected 15 Dove Award nominations in the 2016 GMA Dove Awards)
Music celebrities in the news:
– Bahati’s hiatus from the gospel industry
– Fantasia collaborating with gospel artists to release new inspirational songs
– Israel Houghton on celebrating a post-divorce relationship and his fiery love for his new fiancee
– The surprise engagement of Donnie McClurkin and Nicole C. Mullen
Star-studded transitions:
Billy Paul
Christina Grimmie
Daryl Coley
Denise Matthews (“Vanity”)
Lacresia Campbell
Marni Nixon
Natalie Cole (* announced in 2016)
Ruby Wilson
Shane Evan Tomlinson
TC Clay

So, with these musical highlights and so much more in review, which of these musical highlights have stirred your faith and fed your resolve to be a better Christian in 2016?