New Faces in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame

The Georgia Music Hall of Fame will induct R&B performer Usher, Southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, songwriter Mylon LeFevre, Jazz artist Freddy Cole and studio pioneer Babs Richardson on Saturday, September 8, 2007 during the 29th Annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards Show. Singer/songwriter Johnta Austin will also receive the 2007 Bill Lowery Horizon Award which recognizes “up and coming” talent with significant ties to the State of Georgia.

The evening will begin with the Governor's Reception hosted by Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, followed by dinner and the Georgy Awards Show with celebrity presenters and performances by Usher, Johnta Austin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Freddy Cole.

This annual Atlanta gala supports Friends of Georgia Music Festival's mission to nurture the music industry in Georgia and also funds the organization's annual scholarship program - the Georgia Music Talent Search - which assists future musicians, songwriters and composers in pursuing their musical passions. The 2007 scholarship winners will be announced in early August 2007.

Usher - 2007 Performer
With a career that keeps taking him to new heights of achievement and accomplishment, Usher remains - in his own words - “the master of the moment.” Since signing to LaFace records in 1993, this award-winning entertainer has sold approximately 35 million albums worldwide to date. He maintains his status as an “ultimate entertainer” and has translated his work to stage and screen with a lead role in “Chicago” on Broadway and several film and television roles under his belt.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - 2007 Group
Lynyrd Skynyrd is the definitive Southern rock band, fusing the overdriven power of blues-rock with a rebellious, Southern image and a hard rock swagger. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame class of 2006 and has released almost 65 albums with over 30 million sold to date. The band is currently writing the follow-up to their 2003 album “Vicious Cycle.” The Recording Industry Association of America ranks them as one of the best-selling artists of all time.

Mylon LeFevre - 2007 Songwriter
Mylon LeFevre was born into a gospel-singing family. When Mylon was 17 years old, his first song, “Without Him,” was recorded by Elvis Presley. During the next year, 126 artists recorded Mylon's songs. At 19 he made his first album and has sold millions since. Since 1980, Mylon has released 12 CDs, traveled more than one million miles, been honored with a GRAMMY Award and two Dove Awards, and sold another million records. In 2004 Mylon was awarded an honorary doctorate from Life Christian University and in 2005 he was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame. His latest CDs focus more on worship and praise.

Freddy Cole - 2007 Mary Tallent 'Pioneer'
Lionel Frederick Cole was born on October 15, 1931, the youngest of Edward and Paulina Nancy Cole's five children (including older brother Nat “King” Cole). A resident of Atlanta since 1972, he currently leads a trio with guitarist Royce Campbell, drummer Curtis Boyd and bassist Elias Bailey that regularly tours the U.S., Europe, the Far East and South America. Freddy has been a recording artist since 1952, when his first single “The Joke's on Me” was released on an obscure Chicago-based label.

Babs Richardson - 2007 Posthumous
Barbara (Babs) Richardson passed away at the age of 78 on November 5, 2006. She and her husband Bob owned and operated Master Sound Recording Studios in Atlanta for 27 years and was responsible for many recording artists seeing their dreams realized and breaking out in the music industry. As executive director of the Southeastern Regional Chapter of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, Babs was instrumental in getting GRAMMY in the Schools started in Georgia, an educational initiative that grows and continues to this day.

Johnta Austin - 2007 Bill Lowery Horizon Award Recipient
GRAMMY award-winning songwriter Johnta Austin is the pen behind such hits as Toni Braxton's “Just Be a Man (About It)” (2000), Aaliyah's “Miss You” (2002), and Mariah Carey's smash hit “We Belong Together” (2005). When a 2003 introduction to So So Def founder Jermaine Dupri led to a string of successful co-written songs, Austin's demo of “Lil More Love” convinced Dupri to sign Austin as an artist as soon as Dupri's appointment as president of Virgin Record's Urban Music Division was finalized. Austin's debut album “Ocean Drive” is due to hit shelves in September 2007.

Friends of Georgia Music Festival, Inc. has been keeping the arts alive in Georgia communities by recognizing and promoting artists and the music industry for the past 29 years. Friends of Georgia Music Festival, Inc. is a non-profit organization that honors the many achievements of Georgia musicians, songwriters, composers, conductors, publishers and agents. Each year, Friends of Georgia Music nominates, elects and inducts honorees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, celebrating individuals who have made a significant contribution to Georgia's musical traditions. Friends of Georgia Music also provides scholarships to assist future musicians, songwriters and composers to continue their education and pursue their dreams.

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