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Karen Clark Sheard’s Karew (pronounced: Kuh-rue) Records has signed multiple Stellar Award winner and GMA Dove nominated recording artist Jonathan Nelson to an exclusive recording agreement, the company announced today. Nelson, one of gospel music’s top contemporary worship leaders and songwriters, has a new project that will be released by Karew Records in late spring/early summer 2012.

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“I have been a longtime follower and supporter of Jonathan’s ministry as praise and worship leader,” said Clark Sheard, co-founder of Karew Records. “Jonathan is an extremely gifted, talented and anointed artist — and a great songwriter too.  He is our first signee to the label from outside of the Clark Sheard family, and we are excited that he chose Karew Records as his new home.” Bishop J. Drew Sheard added, “We are building a record label on the legacy of great talent and ministry that keeps with the family tradition, and Jonathan is certain to help us do just that.”

Through his relatively short career, Nelson has penned several hit songs including Donald Lawrence’s “Healed,” for which he won a Stellar Award for Songwriter of the Year in 2006. He had initially recorded the song for himself on his independent debut project, Live In Baltimore: Everything You Are. One of Nelson’s biggest songs to date is Youth For Christ’s congregational ballad, “The Struggle Is Over,” which spent 12 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s magazine Hot Gospel Songs chart and was the sleeper hit of the summer of 2006. Other hit songs written by Nelson include Bishop T.D. Jakes’ “My Praise Is My Weapon” and “Right Place,” a song he wrote with Troy Sneed for Pastor Rudolph McKissick which became a top Billboard gospel hit.

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Nelson’s most successful CD project to date is his second recording and debut project with a major label. The award-winning and critically-acclaimed Right Now Praise (Integrity Music) garnered three Stellar Awards and received a recording breaking eight Stellar Award nominations in 2008.  That year, Nelson received more Stellar nominations than any other artist in gospel music.  Several months later, he received two GMA Dove nominations for Best New Artist of the Year and Contemporary Gospel Song of the Year for the hit song, “My Name Is Victory,” which spent 65 weeks on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart and the single was cited as the Most Singable Song of the Year by Gospel Today magazine (2008).

In 2010, Nelson released Better Days (Integrity Music), a live CD recording with his 18-member group, Purpose.  The CD was produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Aaron Lindsey and was recorded at the Faith Center in Sunrise, FL, where Nelson is currently the minister of music (Bishop Henry Fernandez, Senior Pastor).

“I am thrilled to have joined the Karew Records family with Bishop J. Drew Sheard and Karen Clark Sheard,” said Jonathan Nelson.  “I had my first experience in the gospel music industry with Karen more than 10 years ago; how fitting to now be joined to her company. This connection is going to be absolutely amazing!  It has been declared at my church that 2012 is the year of ‘great opportunity.’  I receive that and continue to expect greater things to come. Get ready!”

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Nelson’s father, Bishop James Nelson, was the senior pastor of Greater Bethlehem Temple Church in Baltimore, MD, for over 30 years. Jonathan Nelson and Clark Sheard’s relationship began when she was first invited to his father’s church as a special guest artist. She made a request for background singers, and Nelson, along with a group of singers from the church, now known as Purpose, sang with her.

Nelson’s brother, Jason Nelson, is a recording artist with Verity Gospel Music Group.  Nelson was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and currently resides in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He is married with two children.