In a statement, the South African group said it was accidentally nominated and it apparently wanted to give upcoming artists a platform to showcase their talent.
“Joyous Celebration feel that the gospel genre would be better served by passing the baton on to the new and exciting emerging gospel acts out of South Africa currently,” the statement read.
The group also shared the news on their Facebook page. “Our label, Sony Music Africa, made an error and entered us into the Metros this year which we graciously withdrew from as we would like to shine the spotlight on the hardworking up-and-coming musicians in the industry,” it said.
Sony Music Entertainment Africa supported Joyous Celebration’s decision not to participate in the awards.
“On behalf of Sony Music Entertainment I’d like to apologise to Metro FM and Joyous Celebration as well as their fans,” Sony Music Entertainment Africa managing director Sean Watson said.
“We have known about and supported Joyous’s philosophy in the past. A mistake was made but we remain committed to being a good partner to both the artist and the broadcaster.”
The group said it was honoured by the nomination in the prestigious Best Urban Gospel category but felt that the gospel fraternity could grow if new emerging acts were allowed to claim their fame.
“We are so grateful to Metro FM for the years of support, not only to our choir but to the gospel fraternity at large,”Joyous Celebration’s Lindelani Mkhize said.
Meanwhile, a South African online news outlet reported that the South African Broadcast Corporation's (SABC’s) Kaizer Kganyago had said it was too late for Joyous Celebration to withdraw from the awards.
"They are not withdrawn from The Metro FM Awards this year,” he said. “There has been some confusion, so let me explain, there are two ways of entering the Metro FM Awards: be on the playlist or enter. Sony, JC's record label, entered them.”
“The group did not want to be entered and wishes to withdraw. But the votes have already been cast and they are already a part of it. It's too late. So the matter is between Joyous Celebration and Sony, it has nothing to do with us (the SABC).”
Kganyago also said they had communicated with all parties and come to an agreement that Joyous Celebration would not withdraw from the awards. He said the choir would not be entered into the Metro FM Music Awards going forward.
South African gospel music remains one of the most popular and competitive genres in the country, and has witnessed the emergence of young artists drawn from the country’s various language groups such as Venda, Shangaan, Sotho, Zulu and Xhosa.