|34th Annual Stellar Awards|
|Awarded for||Outstanding achievements in the gospel music industry|
|Presented by||Stellar Awards Gospel Music Academy (SAGMA)|
|Network||TV One (2015–present)|
A Stellar Award is an award presented by SAGMA to recognize achievements in the gospel music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent gospel artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Stellars are the first of the Big Two major gospel music awards held annually (preceding the Dove Awards in the Fall).
The first Stellar Awards ceremony was held on 1984, to honor and respect the musical accomplishments by gospel performers for the year 1983. Following the 2018 ceremony, the Academy overhauled a few Stellar Award categories for 2019.
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The Stellars were produced in 1970 by Don Jackson's Chicago-based Central City Productions. The production company is also a distributor of original programming to television and cable networks. In the spring of 2000, Central City Productions changed the voting process by creating the Stellar Awards Gospel Music Academy (SAGMA). SAGMA is currently the official voting body for the Stellar Awards. The Academy is open to record company executives, artists, radio announcers, gospel industry professionals and supporters.
The first award ceremony was held at Arie Crown Theater in Chicago in 1984. Over the years, The Stellars have been held in various locations including Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nashville, and New York. Starting with the 30th Annual Stellar Awards in 2015, the show has been held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, being televised and aired on American digital cable and satellite television network TV One. The number of awards given have also changed over the years with categories added and removed.
The "General Field" are four awards.
- Artist of the Year is awarded to the most influential performer of the eligible year.
- Song of the Year is awarded to the writer(s)/composer(s) of a single song.
- New Artist of the Year is awarded to a promising breakthrough performer who releases, during the eligibility period and year.
- CD of the Year is awarded to the performer and the production team of album.
Other awards are given for performance and production in more specific styles of gospel music (contemporary, traditional, christian hip hop, etc.), as well as for other contributions such as packaging and video. Special awards are given for longer-lasting contributions to the music industry.
Current award categories:
- Female Vocalist of the Year (also referred to as the "Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year")
- Male Vocalist of the Year
- Duo/Chorus of the Year
- Choir of the Year
- Producer of the Year
- Contemporary Duo/Chorus of the Year
- Traditional Duo/Chorus of the Year
- Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year
- Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year
- Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year
- Traditional Female Vocalist of the Year
- Contemporary CD of the Year
- Traditional CD of the Year
- Urban/Inspirational Single or Performance of the Year
- Music Video of the Year
- Traditional Choir of the Year
- Contemporary Choir of the Year
- Special Event CD of the Year
- Rap/Hip Hop Gospel CD of the Year
- Youth Project of the Year
- Quartet of the Year
- Recorded Music Packaging of the Year
- Praise and Worship CD of the Year
Gospel Radio of the Year categories:
- Major Market of the Year
- Large Market of the Year
- Medium Market of the Year
- Small Market of the Year
- Internet Station of the Year
- Gospel Announcer of the Year
- James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award
- Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award
- Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award
Defunct award categories:
- Instrumental CD of the Year
- Fan Favorite Awards
- New Artist
- Song of the Year
- Choir of the Year
Entry process and selection of nominees
Media companies registered with the Stellar Awards Gospel Music Academy and individual members of SAGMA (artists and other professionals working in the industry who meet certain criteria) may enter recordings for consideration, along with an entry form. Record Companies and artists enter recordings and music videos online released during the eligibility period that charted in the top 25 on at least two Nielsen Charts for at least four weeks. Entries are made online and two physical copies of the work is sent to SAGMA. Once a work is entered, submission go through a screening process. A confidential Nominating committee made up of music industry experts in various fields meet to insure that all entries meet the eligibility criteria, all entries are in the appropriate categories, that the entries are charting in the top 25 on the Nielsen Charts during the eligibility period, and are appropriate for the Stellar Awards. Each category is limited based on the dictate and discretion of the Stellar Awards Nomination Committee therefore all entries cannot be included on the ballot. Technical quality, lyrics, voice quality, charting duration, project content and charting performance will be reviewed for inclusion on the ballot. All Stellar Awards Nomination Committee selections are then finalized.
The voting process for narrowing down the final nominees consist of two separate ballots. The first round ballot includes eligible entries as determined by the Nominating Committee of SAGMA. Top entries for each category from the first ballot will move forward to the final ballot. During the final voting process, the general public (including fans) are the voting body for the second and final ballot to determine the Stellar Award winners. The nominees are announced during a press/radio tour.
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