On the heels of three Stellar Award wins last month, Gospel recording artist Zacardi Cortez has received his first two Dove Award nominations—all for his breakout album, IMPRINT: Live in Memphis, from ZetRoc Entertainment / Black Smoke Music Worldwide.
IMPRINT: Live in Memphis, produced by Morgan Turner, AyRon Lewis, Lucius Hoskins, and Nicholas Humes, has been nominated for Gospel Worship Album of the Year.
The project’s hit single, “You’ve Been Good to Me,” which recently spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Gospel Airplay chart, has been nominated for Gospel Worship Recorded Song of the Year. The song was written by Cortez, Marcus Calyen, Morgan Turner, Kerry Douglas, Alonzo J. Keeton, Tyrone Belle, and Tyrell Belle.
“IMPRINT is the first record under my company, ZetRoc Entertainment,” says Cortez. “I had no idea how it would be received; I just knew what God put on my heart. To now be nominated for two GMA Dove Awards for the album feels incredible!”
“As a 2023 Stellar Awards co-host, it was awesome to watch Zacardi perform and win for the first time,” says Grammy® Award-winning Gospel recording artist Jonathan McReynolds. “It’s cool to see he’s been nominated for the Dove Awards as well! On top of us sharing the same birthday (September 17), his vocals are inspiring and the anointing is apparent.”
Cortez, who came home from the 2023 Stellar Awards last month with wins in three categories, including Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year, Traditional Album of the Year for IMPRINT: Live in Memphis, and Praise & Worship Song of the Year for the project’s hit single, “You’ve Been Good to Me,” following earlier nominations from the Grammy® Awards and the BET Awards, as well as a 2021 BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Award for his No. 1 Billboard hit, “You Don’t Know.”
With seven No. 1 Billboard hits and over 227 million TikTok views, Cortez, known to his fans as Generation Z’s favorite Gospel singer, is poised for further success.
His award-winning album, IMPRINT: Live in Memphis, a thirteen-track collection of down-home, heart-and-soul Gospel songs, features Cortez’s incomparable voice, which combines the power and grit of classic soul singers like Al Green and Donnie Hathaway with the cathartic power of the pulpit. It is the Houston native’s most poignant and personal project yet and the first for his own ZetRoc label, in partnership with Black Smoke Music Worldwide. The current single from the project, “Lord Do It For Me,” is in the Top 10 on the Billboard Gospel Airplay chart, currently holding the No. 6 spot.
IMPRINT: Live in Memphis, features guest performances from some of Cortez’s favorite singers, including Kim Burrell, Tim Rogers, and Lisa Knowles-Smith. All those sonic threads mesh to weave a mesmerizing collection of modern songs that reflects the passion of traditional Black church music.
“Zacardi’s voice is his imprint,” says Black Smoke Music Worldwide founder Kerry Douglas, who first discovered Cortez when he was just a teenager singing in churches around Houston. “His voice is leaving a mark on the music industry. When people hear it, they know instantly know who it is because no one sounds exactly like him. His God-given talent has left an undeniable stamp on Gospel music.”
Cortez’s riveting vocal stylings and compelling message of faith have connected profoundly with fans around the globe.
In addition to the Stellar Award-winning “You’ve Been Good to Me,” that fascinating combination infuses each of Cortez’s seven No. 1 Billboard Gospel radio hits, including the retro anthem “Oh How I Love You,” the `80s throwback groove “YDIA,“ and “You Don’t Know,” a bluesy plea for divine intervention that ends with an infectious praise team call and response, “God Held Me (Together),” an emotional ballad which praises the “glue” that God often represents in our lives when all things seem to be going awry, and “One More Time,” featuring Pastor John P. Kee, as well as the acoustic calm of “1 on 1,” which stayed at No. 1 for five weeks.
Cortez, who has released three Top 10 albums—The Introduction (2012), Reloaded (2014), and IMPRINT: Live in Memphis (2022)—has appeared on many on major platforms, including The Stellar Awards, Black Music Honors, P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Reunion Tour and BET’s “Sunday Best.”
IMPRINT: Live in Memphis is the first time I’ve been able to write or be this involved in a project,” says Cortez, who wrote, co-wrote, or arranged everything on the album, alongside ASCAP Award-winning composer Marcus Calyen (Zacardi Cortez) and producers Morgan Turner (Tamela Mann), AyRon Lewis (James Fortune, RiZen, Bryan Popin), Nicholas Humes (Zacardi Cortez), and Lucius Hoskins (Marvin Sapp, Shirley Caesar).
As a testament to his next-level popularity in the industry, Cortez has also been showing up as a guest soloist on the recordings of other artists, such as Grammy® winners Kirk Franklin and PJ Morton, and Grammy® nominee John P. Kee.
“This record is all of who I am, in all the different styles and ways I love to worship and sing,” says Cortez. “It’s 100% my imprint.”
For more information about Zacardi Cortez and IMPRINT: Live in Memphis, follow Zacardi Cortez on Facebook and Instagram. To purchase or stream the project on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, deezer, TIDAL, YouTube, SoundCloud, Amazon, Pandora, and Qobuz, click here. For more information about Black Smoke Music Worldwide, click here.