Californian Melinda Watts Wins Gospel Music Channel's Gospel Dream 2008
Contact: Jim Weiss,
Gospel Music Channel,
ATLANTA, June 30 /Christian Newswire/ -- Melinda Watts, a 29-year-old leader of two foundations that help support troubled young girls and their families from Fair Oaks, California, was crowned the winner of the American Idol®-inspired talent search series Gospel Dream 2008 last night on the Gospel Music Channel television network.
Watts shared the stage of the Gospel Dream 2008 finals with Kymm Lowery of Beach Park, Ill. and John McKoy, Jr. of Monroe, N.C. in the dramatic season finale of GMC's American Idol®-inspired talent search series, with all three performers offering outstanding and uplifting performances. Yet it was Watts who receives the grand prizes of Gospel Dream 2008 - a record and music video deal and a Royal Caribbean Cruise - and the potential for a career that she has dreamed since she began singing at the age of six.
"Every ten years or so you have an anointed superstar artist who graces us with the word of God in song, as CeCe Winans and Yolanda Adams have done. Now we have Melinda Watts," said Alvin Williams, Senior Director of Music Development for the Gospel Music Channel.
Watts' personal story is as compelling as her singing ability. She and her husband William are new parents to six-month old Lyric and live in the Sacramento area where Watts has been pursuing her other dream – that of helping teens and young women.
An English teacher by vocation, she has established a foundation called Project Sunday because of the great need for mentoring and ministering to young women in her community. She has also set-up Heaven's House for Girls, created to provide research-based solutions for troubled teen girls and their families. Watts' hope for both foundations is to develop the self-reliant attitude among girls and young women that manifests in their ambitions, assertiveness and individualism, she says.
Winning her Gospel Dream should only help to elevate both charities. A singer and songwriter, Watts hopes to write a substantial amount on her upcoming CD to be released through Gospel Music Channel in early 2009, and hopes people will feel compelled to the heart of God.
"I want people to listen to my music and want to draw closer to God," she says. "I also want them to want to grow in the grace of God and to be bold in their faith, like a revival through music."
Watts, who grew a large fan base as the series went on, was crowned as the new Gospel Dream winner by Gospel/Christian music's version of Simon, Paula and Randy: GRAMMY award-winning record producer/songwriter Big Jim Wright, Dove and Stellar award-winning cross-cultural worship music artist/songwriter Martha Munizzi and one of Gospel music's most prolific talents and part of one of music's hottest production companies (PJAM) J Moss. They were equally impressed by Watts' vocal talents and passion all through the competition but especially with her final performances of the contemporary praise song "You are Good" and the traditional hymn "Tis So Sweet." "Tis So Sweet" is Melinda's first single and has already been serviced to radio stations across the country. It can be heard at http://www.gospelmusicchannel.com/shows/gospeldream.
Watts' Gospel Dream 2008 journey began nearly five months ago in Los Angeles when she tried out during the first round of auditions. She was chosen from among thousands of singing hopefuls all Gospel/Christian styles including rock, pop, country and soul at auditions in Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Miami and Atlanta. 16 contestants were selected and invited to Nashville, Tenn. to perform in five rounds of televised competitions.
Gospel Dream 2008 was hosted by popular artist/songwriter Matthew West with backstage reporting by GMC Insider's Kelly Sutton. Celebrity musical mentors who coached the contestants throughout the series included PAJAM, Myron Butler, Bernie Herms, Lesley Moore and Darlene McCoy. The Gospel Dream series was created by Executive Producer Elvin Ross who is also the series' executive producer and musical director.
The Gospel Dream 2008 series can be seen again Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT beginning July 31.
Gospel Music Channel is the nation's first and only 24/7 television network devoted to the uplifting, inspiring and diverse music that is Gospel/Christian music. Gospel Music Channel is the fastest-growing network in television today and can be seen in nearly 40 million homes on various cable systems around the country and on DIRECTV channel 338.