Tuesday 30 Sep 2014

Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

Marcus “Elder Mac” McFarlin wins Most Powerful Voices singing competition

Published: 9:54 am CDT, May 22, 2014

After months of competition, Marcus “Elder Mac” McFarlin has won the national Most Powerful Voices singing competition that’s helping raise awareness about stroke.

McFarlin is a contemporary gospel artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, whose first album, “Addicted to Praise,” was released in 2011. As the Grand Prize Winner, he’ll have a chance to perform at a 2015 Stellar Awards Weekend Showcase and receive vocal performance equipment and a personal coaching session with RCA Inspiration Artist Deon Kipping.

McFarlin was selected by RCA Inspiration Artist Latice Crawford-Spain, A&R executives and a Roland Corporation music expert.

“Marcus stood out to me because he had a very striking voice,” Crawford-Spain said. “His sound is very technical and you can see he puts a lot of work into his craft.”

In its fifth year, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s online competition was open to independent artists, groups and choirs who sing gospel, praise, worship and holy hip-hop.

Past winners include P Lo Jetson, Brandon Camphor and One Wayand Vetrea Slack Ruffin & The Ruffin Family.

Debbie Gann won the Fan Favorite award, having received the most online votes from May 1 – May 15.  She’s a southern/country gospel singer from Mounds, Oklahoma, who recovered from triple heart bypass surgery last year.

The Most Powerful Voices contest is an important way to raise stroke awareness — particularly in the African-American community. More than 100,000 African-Americans will suffer a new or reoccurring stroke this year, and all competitors and voters will receive potentially lifesaving stroke information.

“This competition is unique because it allows everyone to be a winner in some way,” Crawford-Spain said. “Not only were the contestants eligible for prizes but the voters were as well, which made a great incentive for people to register, and the greatest prize of all is that every person that registered received monthly information about stoke awareness and prevention. I also loved the fact that it catered to a broader range of musical talents and not just singers. Holy hip-hop artists, praise and worship groups and choirs were encouraged to enter as well.”

African-Americans are at higher risk for stroke due to the prevalence of risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and previous heart attacks and/or strokes, said Rani Whitfield, M.D. a family practitioner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and an American Stroke Association spokesperson. Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death in America and a leading cause of long-term disability.

The contest is important because it helps people reduce their risks and learn what do to in a stroke emergency, Whitfield said.

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Photos provided by Uplifting Entertainment