RSL Awards & GMIA partner to honour UK Gospel icons with landmark qualifications

The UK music scene is poised for a revolution as a pioneering initiative was launched introducing groundbreaking qualifications for accomplished gospel singers and musicians. Until now, the proficiency and level of musicianship amongst gospel professionals has not been recognised outside of gospel circles. Therefore, to drive change, the international Awarding Organisation, RSL Awards, and the Gospel Music Industry Alliance (GMIA) have partnered to release an exciting new initiative created to award these standards of excellence.

RSL Awards and GMIA will offer a suite of Ofqual regulated grades to formally assess gospel practitioners who demonstrate their performance skills at a grade 6 level or above. These qualifications carry UCAS points making them ideal for those looking to bolster University and Higher Education applications.

To launch this groundbreaking initiative, RSL Awards and GMIA hosted a Gospel Excellence Honours Night on 16th April at London’s iconic Kings Place. The Gospel Excellence Honours Night celebrated the first selection of recently appointed RSL & GMIA Fellows for their continuous and insurmountable contributions to the UK gospel and wider music industry. With live performances from current gospel artists and the gathering of gospel greatness, RSL Awards and GMIA have set the tone for the revolutionary gospel qualifications to come.

RSL & GMIA Honorary Fellows were awarded to: Bazil Meade MBE, Karen Gibson MBE, Audrey Lawrence-Mattis, Ayo Oyerinde, Clinton Jordan, David Copeland, Jerome Brown, John Fisher BEM, Ken Burton, Lawrence Johnson, Nicky Brown, Noel Robinson, Priscilla Jones-Campbell, Ray Prince, Tyndale Thomas MBE, Anu Omideyi and Roger Moore.

When asked about the partnership, Anu Omideyi, Co-Chair, GMIA remarked, “…we are delighted with this partnership with RSL that is recognising, in this night, the great work of some – though by no means all – of gospel music’s illustrious practitioners, and launching an educational programme of immense quality. This is an exciting advancement in gospel music.”

Roger Moore, Co-Chair, GMIA added, “…this launch represents a thread which will breakthrough educational barriers and unite Gospel practitioners all around the country impacting the next generation inside schools, churches and many other musical hubs and organisations.”

Norton York, Founder, RSL Awards said, “Over 30 years ago, RSL Awards created the world’s first pop and rock grade exams. We continue our pioneering work today in partnership with GMIA to present the first ever UK gospel music graded exams. By doing this, we are thrilled to recognise the wonderful artistry in gospel music for the first time in UK music education. Thanks to the GMIA and RSL staff for spearheading this vision.”

With both organisations set to create some extraordinary resources for up-and-coming gospel practitioners whilst recognising gospel excellence at the honours night, this new initiative is the well-awaited next step in the UK gospel industry. Let’s continue to celebrate gospel excellence in the UK.