Photo of previous Most Powerful Voices contestant

Photo of previous Most Powerful Voices contestant

The power of music is helping to raise awareness of stroke — and potentially help the careers of budding artists and musicians.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Most Powerful Voices gospel singing competition is searching for dynamic gospel performers who will raise stroke awareness — particularly in the African-American community.

In its fifth year, the online competition is open to independent artists, groups and choirs who sing gospel, praise, worship and holy hip-hop.

Participants upload a video or MP3 file of their performance, and the top 10 are selected based on fan votes. Music industry experts then select the winner from those 10 finalists.

The winner will be announced May 23 and will receive a chance to perform at a 2015 Stellar Awards Weekend Showcase, vocal performance equipment and a personal coaching session with RCA Inspiration Artist Deon Kipping.

Some past winners include P Lo JetsonBrandon Camphor and One Way and Vetrea Slack Ruffin & The Ruffin Family.

More than 100,000 African-Americans will suffer a new or reoccurring stroke this year, which is why those who register to compete or vote will receive potentially lifesaving stroke information.

“Stroke is a leading cause of severe, long-term disability and death for all Americans, and African-Americans are at increased risk due to higher prevalence of risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and previous heart attack and/or stroke,” said Dr. Rani Whitfield, a family practitioner in Baton Rouge, La., and an American Stroke Association spokesperson. “We need to reach as many people as possible to help them to reduce their risk and to know what to do in a stroke emergency to help improve stroke outcomes.”

For more information and to view previous performances: