After seven years, the organisers of the Sterling Gospel Music Awards say sponsorship has been challenging. However, thanks to the blessing and support of long-standing sponsors and partners, hosting the event has become a reality each year.
"I knew that this was something that God wanted for the gospel music industry in Jamaica. And without sponsors this would not have been possible.
"Our first sponsor for this year's staging was Interactive Payroll Solutions. Their director called me to a meeting in Kingston a week after we had the 2022 event, and I drove all the way from Mandeville. When I went to the meeting he said to me, 'I'm letting you know that we are on board for next year.' My eyes welled up with tears," Basillia Barnaby Cuff, organiser of the event, disclosed in an interview with the Jamaica Observer at the event's launch on Thursday night at the R Hotel.
Barnaby Cuff recalled when she sent out sponsorship letters in faith seeking sponsors for the event.
"I sent close to 100 proposals to companies. Our longest sponsor has been KFC, they have been on board for the past six years. I can recall when we reached out to the brand manager, Andrei Roper, and we didn't get through at first. But he showed up at our media launch and indicated then that his company was coming on board as a sponsor. I'm so grateful to KFC. Thanks also to Courts; R Hotel; Uneque Production Entertainment Studios; Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Iosif Image Solutions; Jamrock Water; Eve; Betty; Eve Naturals; Rhon Matthison Music; and all the other partners for their support," said Barnaby Cuff.
The 7th staging of the Sterling Gospel Music Awards is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 7 at the Swallowfield Chapel in St Andrew.
Regarded as the Caribbean's premier awards ceremony for the gospel community, the Sterling Gospel Music Awards has consistently elevated its standing since its second staging. It has also evolved into a well-oiled awards machinery, renowned for its impeccable execution.
There are 17 categories for awards and seven individuals will be honoured for their contribution to the gospel music fraternity, dubbed the Sterling Award's KFC Big Deal Award for Excellence.
The awardees are sound providers Bobby Stewart (Alternative Music), Kelvin Osbourne (Clear Sound), Youth for Christ and Karlando Reynolds (Krystal Klear Sound), as well as engineers Paul Thompson, Shane Williams and Noel Hearne.
Roper said his company's association with the event has been a rewarding one.
"The gospel fraternity is a huge supporter of KFC. But beyond that, the beliefs and the value system of the Sterling Gospel Music Awards family align with us here at KFC, which is supporting a lot of what is positive about our entertainment industry, giving credit to gospel excellence, not only to just in the forefront, but also to the persons behind the scenes," said Roper.
He continued: "We have sponsored the awards of excellence which pay tribute to some of the real stalwarts of gospel music over several decades. We are looking forward to another great show and saying thank you to the sometimes under-appreciated side of the entertainment industry, but a truly invaluable part of the industry."
Gospel singer and minister Petra Kaye leads the list of nominees with three, while former Magnum Top Performa runner-up Prince Saj, DJ Nicholas, Ryan Mark, Kevin Downswell, Marion Hall; radio personalities Anya Jean Phillips, Jucal Dyer, Sara Ann Edwards-Miller, and Ava Gay Blair-Black; Levy's Heritage and Johnmark Wiggan each receiving two nominations.