April 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Motown Records starts gospel label

Grammy winner CeCe Winans will have an album out on the new label in early 2014. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Motown Records is getting into the gospel business.

On Tuesday, Motown execs announced a new venture with EMI Gospel to launch a new label, Motown Gospel. The label's roster includes gospel stars Kierra "Kiki" Sheard and CeCe Winans, both native Detroiters, as well as Smokie Norful, Tye Tribbett and more.

A launch party will be held Tuesday in Los Angeles and will feature performances by several of the label's new artists. Also joining the roster are Tasha Cobbs, VaShawn Mitchell, Anita Wilson and Pastor Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago.

"This is a great opportunity to create a fresh, new approach to gospel," Universal Music Group East Coast Label Group chairman/CEO Barry Weiss tells Billboard.biz.

He says he hopes the label becomes "a magnet for the best gospel talents in the world."

Winans is slated to release her new album on the label in early 2014. Tribbett's new album "Greater Than" will be released on Motown Gospel June 4, with albums by Sheard (summer) and Norful (fall) to follow, according to a release.

agraham@detroitnews.com

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