The 3rd annual StepFWD Awards, held 11/11/23 at Fairfield Hall emerged as a dazzling ‘best of British’ celebration of talent, unity, and purpose, bringing together nearly 1000 people from diverse sectors, including the church, media, TV, and charities. An exclusive showing will air on TBN and the TBN App Friday, November 17th, 2023.
The event kicked off with a star-studded red carpet that featured industry luminaries and influencers. The red carpet was a vibrant display of the rich tapestry of individuals from various backgrounds, united in their commitment to excellence and positive impact. This diversity echoed the spirit of unity and purpose that the StepFWD Awards stand for.
In a borough like many others facing its share of challenges, the StepFWD Awards shone as a beacon of hope and inspiration. The gathering was a testimony to the resilience of the community, echoing the timeless words of scripture that call for unity in challenging times. Attendees, regardless of their industry or background, found common ground and purpose, reinforcing the belief that collective efforts can overcome any obstacle.
The awards ceremony itself was a spectacle of talent and achievement, with deserving individuals and organisations recognised for their outstanding contributions. Categories spanned a wide range, from music and media to community service and charity work. The awards aimed not only to honour accomplishments but also to inspire and encourage others to pursue excellence in their respective fields.
With twelve Song of the Year winners drawing from the monthly UK Christian Charts, including ‘Pull Me Through’ by KXC in Contemporary Worship and ‘Jireh (My Provider)’ by Limoblaze in Afrobeat, two new awards were also announced with Jimmy James winning Producer of the Year and We Got Love Project taking home Album of the Year. Philippa Hanna won the Female Artist of the Year and CalledOut Music scored a hat-trick with Male Artist of the Year for the third year running. Well deserved recipients for Outstanding Contribution to Christian & Gospel music were Tim Hughes and The Message Trust. One of the highlights of the evening was the StepFWD Lifetime Achievement Award, a momentous occasion that paid tribute to a trailblazer whose contributions had significantly impacted the Christian and Gospel music landscape. The audience showed their collective appreciation after last year’s winner Dave Bilbrough announced Noel Richards (the writer of ‘All Heavens Declare’ and other top hits) as this year’s recipient. Noel, visibly moved in his acceptance video from the USA, shared a little of his journey and expressed gratitude for the enduring power of music to connect hearts across generations.
Partial list of winners:
RAP Song of the Year: ‘MRS’ Luke November
CONTEMPORARY GOSPEL Song of the Year: ‘I Still Believe’ Volney Morgan & New Ye
POP Song of the Year: ‘You Are Good’ Naffymar ft. CalledOut Music
POETRY / SPOKEN WORD Song of the Year: ‘The Bible in Four Minutes’ Dai Woolridge, Bible Society
CHILLHOP / LOFI Song of the Year: ‘Secret Place’ Asha Elia, Jonathan Ogden
NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Alia Lara
INTERNATIONAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Victor Thompson
DUO/GROUP OF THE YEAR: Manor Collective
See the full list of nominees and winners at stepfwdawards.com
Thanks to partnerships with Compassion UK and Praise House, the StepFWD Awards also provided a platform for networking and collaboration. Attendees had the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and organisations, fostering a sense of community that extends beyond the event itself. The red carpet, awards ceremony, and subsequent interactions served as catalysts for new partnerships and initiatives aimed at making a positive impact in the community.
The awards ceremony also featured talent galore, seamlessly blending the contemporary with the traditional, creating an inclusive space that mirrored the diversity within the Christian and Gospel music genres. From Shekinah’s opening note through to London Community Gospel Choir and every performance in between, ‘the best of British’ was undeniably on full display.
Reflecting on the success of the StepFWD Awards, Tolu Adebekun – Head of Operations stated, “We are thrilled to see the incredible turnout and the enthusiasm from the community. This event stands as a testament to the power of honour, unity and shared purpose. We are so grateful to all those who attended, participated and our sponsors. We’re humbled by the growth of this event in only its 3rd year. We look forward to building on this success in the years to come.”
As the curtains closed on the StepFWD Awards, attendees left inspired and energised, carrying with them the belief that, indeed, when a community unites with a shared purpose, remarkable things can happen.
Watch the StepFWD Awards on TBN UK from 17th November. Download the app at: watch.tbn.uk