Best Gospel Artist - 2011
Whatever you think of the God delusion and the spaghetti monster in the sky, it's clear that something more than material animates the music of Kenny DeShields. One of the young lions on the St. Louis contemporary gospel scene, DeShields clearly loves Jesus, but he also loves Stevie Wonder and D'Angelo. With his wide, infectious smile and a silky tenor voice that can shake churches and seduce nightclubs, he's a humble powerhouse, gifted on piano and synth-programming, open-minded to the glitchy and the trippy, and refreshingly disinterested in sanctimony. His recent narrative video for the "Gotta Be Me" single is witty, charming and honest, a portrait of a young artist chafing against the nine-to-five grind and finding truer, higher ground.