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Gospel Trio 'Of God' Nominated for Marlin Award

July 22, 2006 – Gospel singing sensation Of God is on a fast track to stardom. The trio of Klint Constantine, Kareem Harrigan and Vietta Hutchinson, whose collective soul is rooted deep in music and religion, has been extolling praise with every performance since an initial group appearance at Starfest 10 in 2002.
Two years later, they collaborated on their debut album, "From the Heart," and have come full circle with a Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Award nomination.
Of God was nominated for Best Vocal Performance in the category of Contemporary Vocal Performance of the Year by a duo or group for the single "Summer."
Constantine, who has sung with the Seventh-day Adventist Church since childhood, said that all of the group's songs are original "and when you listen to the album, you tap into us and that's why it's from the heart."
The group's name was also of the heart, he said.
Originally the group was made up of four members, with Nadia Hendrickson as the other female performer, and the members were sitting around trying to come up with a name.
"We wanted it to be God-created," recalled Hutchinson, "and (Hendrickson), during a the conversation said 'of God'"
Constantine said that everyone zeroed in on those two words.
"We all liked it and the name stuck," he said before he and Harrigan took off Thursday to the Bahamas to be in the audience when the list of nominations is read.
The awards show, in its eighth year, is scheduled for Sunday and will be broadcast live via radio in the Bahamas and some regional and U.S.-based radio stations, according to Marlin Awards founder Kevin Harris.
The Marlin Awards – which celebrates its 10th anniversary during a week of activities that kicked off Thursday and continues through Sunday in Nassau, Bahamas – features more than 100 entries from more than 90 artists representing 18 countries including the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, London, Mexico, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Tortola, the British Virgin Islands as well as St. Thomas and St. Croix.
"Unlike with most music awards where nominations and winners are determined by mail out ballots, nominees and subsequent winners are skillfully selected by a panel of carefully chosen industry professionals representing seven countries," Harris said on his Web site. "This process, though intense, allows for all submissions to be given equal opportunity as each album or single is listened to, categorized and then professionally considered for a nomination and ultimately for a Marlin Award."
Harris, a recording artist, radio announcer and gospel music executive, launched the awards in March 1996. It has grown from solely a Bahamian award to an integrated Caribbean gospel award that is globally recognized as a leader in the area of Caribbean gospel promotions.
Hutchinson, whose father Whitbourne Hutchinson is pastor of the Church of God of Prophecy in Savan, is taking summer classes for a master's degree in education, and won't be there in person, but said she will be in spirit.
"I am quite ecstatic," she said about being nominated. "This is the Caribbean version of the Dove Awards. I feel very blessed and honored that God gave us this opportunity because not everybody has that chance."
The Dove Awards are national gospel awards featuring greats such as Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Hezekiah Walker.
A chance is what they got when they were introduced to Dan McGuinness of Island SoundWorks Studio, who signed the trio to his label. McGuinness introduced them to producer Jason Jordan, who once played and toured with gospel platinum artist Fred Harmond. Six months later the album was completed.
The group sang as a trio in Starfest 10, Constantine recalled and said, "We got rated as one of the best sections that night."
Until that time, Constantine said the gospel section of the show had not been much of a crowd pleaser.
Hutchinson said she knew after the Starfest performance that the trio had to stay together. She's been singing since she was barely 2 years old and comes from a family of singers – her father, mother Ingrid Pole Hutchinson, grandmother Rita Pole, and the siblings all sing.
"There was a chemistry that was very real and with the voices being anointed as they are, it made us the perfect match," she said. “I was like 'oh yeah, we definitely have to do something after this.'"
Constantine, whose father Peter Constantine taught him to play steelpan when he was just 4 years old, said he was surprised but thrilled to be nominated for the Marlin Award.
"We found out about it late and we sent in the required documents in the nick of time and here we are," he said.
Constantine said that that the members of Of God won't let stardom go to their heads.
"We all have a deep religious background and we will always be trying to share the gospel through song," he said.

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