Lisa Harris steals spotlight at ABGMA 2019

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Local and regional renowned gospel singer Lisa Harris became the highlight of what turned out to be an amazing night for her, winning six awards at the 5th annual Antigua and Barbuda Gospel Music and

Media Awards (ABGMA) 2019.

At the Caribbean Cinemas complex on Saturday night, Harris almost pulled off a clean sweep when she won six of the seven awards for which she was nominated. These included Female Vocalist of the Year, Female Psalmist of the Year, Best Praise and Worship Song, and Female Songwriter of the Year.

Speaking to the media after scooping up the awards, the Antiguan singer said she was surprised to receive so many accolades and hoped that the support shown would benefit her push to become an internationally renowned gospel singer.

“I am excited, surprised and really did not expect all of this. The sky is the limit. I hope that I can go [worldwide]; not just staying in Antigua or the regional territories,” she said.

Artistes from around the world – including Africa, the United Kingdom, Belize and the British Virgin Islands – received nominations in various categories at this year’s ABGMA.

Best Hip-Hop song went to Jamiel “JB” Baltimore, who – upon receiving the honor – stated that he wanted to inspire young people with his music.

“For me, my music is for the young people in this country. To influence young people through that genre [rap and hip-hop], it is going to be tough. Not everyone has the ear for gospel. But if I bring it the right way, I see myself going places with their help,” he said.

Other winners at the awards ceremony included Nigerian-born Chukwuebuka “Ebuka” Agwunobi from St. Kitts and Nevis for Best Afro Beat and Best Music Video, his first major award outside St. Kitts.

Producer of the Year went to Brent Hoyte who produced “Breakthrough” by Shiloh and Shedien, which also won Best Album of the Year and Best Collaboration.

Male Vocalist of the Year went to John Mark Wiggan, whose father praised his son’s tenacity and talent as he accepted the award on his behalf.

Male Songwriter of the Year went to Oneyke Huggins, while Best Inspirational Radio Show, Best Educational Radio Show and Best Talk Radio Show went to GFR Kids with Aunty May.

Additionally, Song of the Year went to Naycha K.I.D. for his song “True Love”.

Meanwhile, earlier on the red carpet, various members of the gospel music industry commended ABGMA founder and chairwoman Stanshaw Cornelius for her efforts in putting on the event.

According to Mervin Budram, who travelled to Antigua from Belize, “I think it is an opportunity for gospel artistes to be recognized, showcase their talents and to penetrate the secular arena.”

Another person stated, “The ABGMA is getting better and it is an awesome thing to be recognized for the people who are giving of themselves to society via music.”

Cornelius’s mother, who came out to support her daughter, revealed that the ABGMA founder and chairwoman has had this vision since she “was about six or seven years of age.”

Speaking with Stanshaw Cornelius about why she started the ABGMA, she put it down to simply being inspired by the hard-working artistes.

“I remember just wanting to [celebrate] the unsung heroes, those who often are overlooked. We have great gifts on the island and more people should know about that,” she said.

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