The 11th Annual Groove Awards with Safaricom went down yesterday, in a colorful celebration held at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani.
Mercy D Lai bagged the Album of the Year Award for her album Emmanuel. The awards for Male Artist of the Year and Female Artist of the Year went to L-Jay Maasai and Mercy Masika respectively, while Collabo of the Year went to Evelyn Wanjiru and Vicky Gitonga for their song Tulia.
The black tie event was the culmination of a series of Groove Tours held across the country over the last four weekends, and also saw new kid on the block Mash Mwana take home the award for New Artist/Group of the Year.
“This has been an amazing journey for the artistes, and I believe that all the winners deserve their awards. For the last month we’ve toured the country with the artistes, giving them a chance to meet and entertain their fans, as well as campaign for votes,” said Groove Awards Founder Kevin Mulei.
“We are proud to be shaping youth culture positively. Just last weekend we had over 22,000 people attending the Groove Tours in Karatina, and today we’ve had about 3,000 artists and guests joining us for the Awards,” he added.
The Awards, which were first launched in 2004, are held annually to celebrate gospel artists both in Kenya and in the region, and have over the last decade grown into a highly anticipated feature of the gospel industry calendar.
“Through the Groove Tours and Awards, we’ve been able to reach out to thousands of young Kenyans all over the country with messages of hope and inspiration. Their willingness to attend these events and vote for their favourite musicians is proof that not only is gospel music loved; it is transforming lives by inspiring people, giving alternative sources of wholesome entertainment and generating incomes for thousands of young Kenyans,” said Sylvia Mulinge, Director for Consumer Business – Safaricom.
Among the highlights of the ceremony were show-stopping performances by Nigerian guest artist Dee Jones, who performed one of his biggest hits – Big God – with Pitson.
Other performances that carried the night included Eko Dydda’s hip-hop set, Rejea by Guardian and Uka by Eunice Njeri.
Winners in each category were selected based on number of votes by the public, a month-long process that began soon after the Groove Nominations Night in April.
To protect the integrity of the voting process, all votes were assessed by leading audit firm EY.
“I thank the organisers and sponsors of the Groove Awards for giving us this platform to showcase our talent and help raise a generation of positive influencers,” said Mercy Masika shortly after bagging the awards for Skiza Tone of the Season (Mwema) and Song of the Year (Nikupendeze).
“But above all, I thank God for the blessings he continues to shower us with so that we can continue to spread the gospel through music,” she added.
Other big winners of the evening were: Size 8, who took home the award for Video of the Year (Afadhali Yesu), Jims and Dims for Best Dance Group, Majic Mike and Kris Eh Baba for Afro-Pop Song of the Year (Ayaya) and JFam and Omari for Ragga/Reggae Song of the Year (Wave).
The complete winners list is available at http://www.grooveawards.co.ke/