NEW YORK, April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Motown Records takes a giant step into the ever-expanding Gospel music field as the result of a joint venture partnership with EMI Gospel, creating a new label Motown Gospel. The announcement was made by Barry Weiss, Chairman & CEO, UMG East Coast Label Group and Bill Hearn, President & CEO, Capitol Christian Music Group. "UMG's acquisition of EMI music offered the ideal opportunity to merge the EMI Gospel label with the strength of the newly revitalized Motown Records," said Mr. Weiss. "The new Motown Gospel label will offer broader Urban AC crossover potential and further opportunities and synergy between Motown Gospel artists and the Motown and Island Def Jam urban roster." Motown Gospel was officially launched tonight, with a gala press reception and artist showcase at the Arc Theatre in Los Angeles. The evening featured performances by Gospel best sellers Smokie Norful, Tasha Cobbs, Tye Tribbett, and Kierra Sheard. In addition to the artists who performed at the showcase, the Motown Gospel roster includes multiple Stellar Award winning artists VaShawn Mitchell, Pastor Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Chicago and Grammy nominee Anita Wilson, among others. The structure of Motown Gospel will include Ken Pennell and the executive leadership of EMI Gospel, based in Nashville, coupled with new hires, particularly in the A&R areas. As such, the first appointment of Motown Gospel is VP of A&R, songwriter and producer extraordinaire Aaron Lindsey. Mr. Lindsey, one of the most respected talents in gospel music today, has four Grammy awards and multiple Stellar and Dove awards. His songwriting credits include " Again I Say Rejoice," My Testimony" and " He Saw the Best in Me" and he has produced such bestselling artists as Israel Houghton, Byron Cage, and Marvin Sapp's "Never Would Have Made It" from the platinum-selling album Thirsty. Platinum seller and multi-Grammy winning CeCe Winans has also announced her intention to be the first new signing to the Motown Gospel label. The Gospel superstar's first all new recording in more than five years is planned for an early 2014 release. "I've been a huge fan of Barry Weiss for years," said Mr. Hearn. "Through his leadership of the Verity Label in the past, he's been responsible for much of the growth and artist development in Gospel Music today. I can't wait to partner with Barry, Motown through A&R collaboration, and promotion and marketing support from Steve Bartels and the amazing IDJ team. I'm confident Motown Gospel will now be even more effective at connecting our artists with their fans and growing their fan base." Motown Gospel's strong 2013 release schedule was also showcased at the event with Tasha Cobbs performing her hit single " Break Every Chain" from her current Top 5 charting album Grace. Tye Tribbett introduced his new album and label debut, Greater Than which is set for June 4 release and performed his first single " If He Did It Before.Same God" which debuted Top 20 on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs Chart in March. Kierra Sheard also debuted her new Rodney Jerkins produced song " Trumpets Blow" which will lead her new KaRew Records release later this summer. And Gold selling, Grammy winning Smokie Norful debuted songs from his long awaited new album set for fall 2013 release. About Capitol Christian Music Group: Capitol Christian Music Group is the world's leading Christian Music company and market leader in recorded music, distribution, and music publishing. Part of Universal Music's Capitol Music Group, led by Chairman and CEO Steve Barnett, Capitol Christian Music Group operates several divisions including Capitol CMG Label Group (Sparrow Records, ForeFront Records, Credential Recordings, sixstepsrecords, Hillsong), Motown Gospel (in partnership with Motown Records), Capitol CMG Publishing (including Brentwood-Benson Music Publications) and Capitol Christian Distribution, CCMG owned labels are home to artists Chris Tomlin, TobyMac, Jeremy Camp, Hillsong United, Smokie Norful, Tye Tribbett, Britt Nicole, Newsboys, Colton Dixon, Mandisa, VaShawn Mitchell and many others. Capitol CMG Publishing, in addition to publishing many of CCMG label's premier artists/writers, represents many of the leading writers in Christian/Gospel including Matt Redman, Ben Glover, Matt Maher, Kirk Franklin, Mark Hall, Chris Stevens, Laura Story, Aaron Lindsey, David Garcia and many others. Key Distribution partners include The Gaither Music Group, Marantha Music, InPop Records, Worthy Book Publishing and Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment. Led by President and CEO Bill Hearn and a strong executive team of long-time Christian and Gospel music veterans, Capitol Christian Music Group is characterized by a passionate commitment to our artists, songwriters, our customers, business partners, and one another, as well as a strong spirit of community service. About Universal Music Group Universal Music Group is the global music leader, with wholly owned operations in 60 territories. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry's premier music publishing operations worldwide.