By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Singer and New Life Fellowship Church Pastor John P. Kee will receive the 2021 National Gospel Transformative Award at the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) virtual convention on Friday, June 25, 2021.
The Rev. James Cleveland-inspired minister and hitmaker also will perform his chart-topping song, “I Made it Out.”
“We are honoring the Rev. John P. Kee for his outstanding leadership, creativity, and uplifting impact in music and ministry,” remarked NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
Dr. Chavis noted that NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards nominated Rev. Kee and the NNPA’s Executive Board unanimously and immediately approved the nomination.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of the NNPA convention, and it’s an honor to be recognized by the Black Press of America in this matter,” stated Rev. Kee, whose ties to Dr. Chavis and the NNPA date more than a half of a century.
Born in Durham, North Carolina, in 1962, Rev. Kee was the 15th of his parents’ 16 children. At an early age, his parents realized the musical talents the prodigy possessed.
They enrolled him into a school for musically gifted children – the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. At 13, Rev. Kee formed a choir and later studied music at California’s Yuba College Conservatory School in Marysville.
According to All Music, Rev. Kee played briefly with groups like the Blackbyrds and Cameo. He later became involved with the New Life Fellowship Church and devoted himself to gospel music.
“His first professional break came in 1985 when he became the first artist to be asked to record lead vocals on two tracks for the Gospel Music Workshop of America’s annual mass choir recording. In 1987 he released his first album with the New Life Community Choir, Yes Lord, which was recorded during a performance at the Brethren in Unity Youth Convention,” editors at All Music wrote.
“In 1989, he released his debut solo album, Wait on Him. He continued to balance solo albums and recordings with the [New Life] choir, and the early 1990s brought the beginning of what became a flood of awards, including more than a dozen Stellar Awards, 20 GMWA Excellence Awards, a Soul Train Award, and a Billboard Music Award.”
During the past two decades, Rev. Kee has produced numerous hits, including Not Guilty…The Experience and Level Next, his 25th album overall. It peaked at number four on the Billboard Gospel chart. I Made It Out arrived in 2019 and earned a GMA Dove Award nomination.
Rev. Kee said the NNPA’s 2021 National Gospel Transformative Award means as much as any of his previous accomplishments.
“I’m so honored,” he declared.
In addition to Rev. Kee, performances scheduled for the NNPA’s virtual convention include Nu-Soul and Jazz artist Candice Hoyes and ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan.
Registration for the convention is free. To register, visit www.virtualnnpa2021.com.