A winning moment: PHL Live Center Stage

by | Jan 4, 2015 | Events | 0 comments

It’s not every day that you get to take the stage and compete for a chance to win a music award. Music contests are way out of my comfort zone. Every time I think about them, my mind goes back to 9th grade, auditioning for the NAACP’s ACT-SO achievement program. I opened my mouth and the worst sounds came out because I was mortified LOL. Nerves can make even a good singer sound so shaky. Eventually, I would audition for the same contest again a few years later, without the nerves, sounding more like myself.

Donielle Rodwell, Donielle Houston

Well, fast forward nearly 10 years later and I find myself doing something way out of my element, auditioning for the first annual PHL Live Center Stage Contest, in the gospel category, of course. It was my, now mother-in-law, who called me up and told me about this contest she heard about on the radio. She urged me to audition, and even though it was not my usual thing, I prayed about it, pushed past my discomfort, and signed up.

Just a little background: “PHL LIVE Center Stage is a music initiative highlighting Philly’s top musical talent across multiple genres.” Philadelphia Councilman David Oh spearheaded it around 2014. I solicited my long-time friend and guitarist, Maurice Denton, to accompany me on the guitar, and we really enjoyed the experience. I was happy to see one of my friends and a couple of other people I know from around the Philly gospel scene audition too! I was blessed to be able to sing my original songs, including “Find Me Where I Am” and “Praise You”. It would be a few weeks before they would announce the winner at an award ceremony hosted at World Cafe Live.

Donielle Rodwell - PHL Live Center Stage
Donielle at PHL Live Center Stage Awards

I went to the award show with my then fiancé now husband, and was completely floored when I won! Everyone did such an amazing job. When I went up to accept the award, I only remember thinking, “Praise Jesus!” And that’s what I said in my little unexpected and unplanned acceptance speech.

Within 10 genres, the judges selected 5 finalists, then one winner. The best prize for me was the experience and the opportunity to say “Praise Jesus” on the mic among an audience of people from various backgrounds. The prize for the winner of each category was a live performance at the Dell East the following spring/summer.

I’d like to give a special thank you to Councilman David Oh and the judges, Brother Marcus, E. Daniels, and Kefia Rollerson. What an amazing time!

For more information about PHL Live Center Stage, please visit https://phllive.org/.

Donielle Houston Music

Written by Donielle Houston

Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Donielle Houston inspires through soulful music and heartfelt lyrics. Beyond the stage, she's a wife, mother, and woman of faith eager to share her stories and testimony. Join her as she explores life's journeys and uplifts hearts with vulnerability, hope, and melody.
Donielle’s Corner



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