2014: The Year In Review (Albums to Remember)

As 2014 comes to a close, it’s time to review some of the projects that really stood out this year. The year was filled with a plethora of new music from known artist, new artists, and veterans making triumphant returns. However, only the best of the best will make this list.

In no particular order, here’s a look at our favorite projects from 2014.

Anita Wilson
Vintage Worship

Anita Wilson-Vintage Worship coverAnita Wilson is known for the fusion of incredible tone, classy fashion, and a flawless musical presentation. As an alumnus of Donald Lawrence & Company, Wilson made a huge impression with her 2012 debut release Worship Soul. In 2014, she released her sophomore effort titled Vintage Worship. Designed as a throwback to great music of decades gone by, Vintage Worship provided a refreshing soundtrack of authentic music that continued to redefine Wilson’s artistry and creativity. Led by the Top 25 single “Keep Doing What You’re Doing”, the project featured guest appearances from Bishop Yvette Flunder, Avery*Sunshine, and Tommy Sims, earning her second Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Album.

Deitrick Haddon’s League of Xtraordinary Worshippers
Deitrick Haddon’s League of Xtraordinary Worshippers

LXWThose relatively new to the gospel music community may know Deitrick Haddon from his work on Preachers of LA or his several solo releases. However, his break in the industry nearly 20 years ago came with the Detroit-based youth choir known as The Voices of Unity. Together, they released hits such as “Chainbreaker”, “Fire”, and “Anybody Here”. Fast forward to the present and Haddon moved to LA, returned his choral roots, and formed the 100 voice youth choir known as the League of Xtaordinary Worshippers. Their self-titled project was an absolute breath of fresh air and a reminder of the energetic youth choir presentations that dominated the 90’s. The project debuted atop the Billboard Top Gospel Albums Chart in April, producing the huge single “Great God”, which was a Top 15 hit at gospel radio. Sixteen tracks strong, the star-studded project featured appearances from Donald Lawrence, Hezekiah Walker, Ricky Dillard, and Jessica Reedy. The choir was featured on Oxygen’s Preachers of LA and helped spawned the new series Fix My Choir, with performances on NBC’s The Today Show and The Wendy Williams Show.

Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise
Redemption

Joe Douglass & SOP album coverThe West Coast plays host to some amazing hidden musical gems and one of those is Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise. Their debut project Redemption really made waves within the independent circuit and for good reason. The release featured appearances from Tye Tribbett, Chrystal Rucker, Vonnie Lopez, Josiah Martin, and Lena Byrd-Miles. Cover to cover, this project featured a fusion of just amazing music. From anthems of declaration such as the project’s title track, and the powerful “Grace”, to uptempo, feel good music such as “Great I Am” and “100% Guaranteed”, this effort is the picture of musical balance. With sound lyrical content and accurate Biblical imagery, this release served as one of the strongest, sonically appealing, and outstanding gospel projects of the year.

Mali Music
Mali Is…

Mali Music-Mali IsAfter years of anticipation, Mali Music released his long awaited mainstream effort in May titled Mali Is… This twelve track release served as Mali’s RCA debut and it made a huge impression. Led by the single “Beautiful”, Mali found himself performing on the stages of The Queen Latifah Show and American Idol, while gaining lots of traction at urban radio stations across the country. This new project showcased the songwriter’s ability to talk about life and love while promoting hope and inspiration. The project made an incredible impact, earning Mali his first two Grammy nominations including Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Gospel Performance / Song. This project was certainly one of the brightest spots in R&B music for the entire year.

Tedashii
Below Paradise

Tedashii Below Paradise CoverArguably, the most courageous project of 2014 is Tedashii’s Below Paradise. This release came on the back end of Tedashii’s most tumultuous year as, in 2013, the Texas based rapper lost his one year old son. As one can expect, that loss caused unspeakable pain. He harnessed that year of loss and pain and expressed it through this seventeen track project. He shared his heart surrounding the loss of his child and its impact to his marriage, his environment, and his relationship with God. Below Paradise is honest, authentic, and gritty and one of 2014’s best efforts.

Check out more of our albums to remember here!

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