NASHVILLE, TN (CelebrityAccess) — William Ray “Bill” Hearn, a respected Nashville music industry exec who oversaw Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG) as its Chairman & CEO, passed away on Dec. 10th after a long battle with cancer. He was 58.
Hearn was instrumental in the formation and leadership in CCMG, helping to guide it to a commanding position in the Christian/Gospel music industry after playing a role in the sale of CCMG’s predecessor Sparrow Records to EMI in 1992.
Through multiple acquisitions, Hearn evolved Sparrow, which his father Bill Ray Hearn founded, into EMI Christian Music Group where he was appointed CEO in 1996. The company was renamed Capitol Christian Music Group 2013.
Over the past 20 years, Hearn grew CCMG into the world’s leading Christian Music company and market leader in recorded music and music publishing, helming a company that now operates several divisions, including CCMG Label Group (Sparrow Records, ForeFront Records, sixstepsrecords, Hillsong, Jesus Culture), Motown Gospel and CCMG Publishing (including Brentwood-Benson Music Publications). CCMG owned labels are home to artists Chris Tomlin, Amy Grant, TobyMac, Tasha Cobbs, Jeremy Camp, Hillsong United, Matt Redman, Mandisa, Tye Tribbett, Crowder, Passion Band, Kari Jobe and many others.
Hearn was recognized TJ Martell Foundation’s Frances Preston Lifetime Music Industry Achievement Award in 2015 for his contribution to the music industry. He won Grammy Awards in 1995 and 2006 for his role as Compilation Producer for Amazing Grace, A Country Salute To Gospel and Oh Happy Day: A Gospel Music Celebration, respectively. He was honored with The Recording Academy’s President’s Merit Award in 2006.
The Hearn Family Charitable Foundation actively supported the Nashville Symphony, Music Health Alliance, Nashville Food Project, Nashville Rep Theatre, Thistle Farms/Magdalene, Compassion International and Healing Waters. Hearn was a past National Chairman, National Board and Executive Committee Member of the T.J. Martell Foundation. He served as President of the Gospel Music Trust Fund, was a past National Trustee, Nashville chapter Vice President and board member of The Recording Academy.
Hearn is survived by his wife, Charmion Gustke Hearn, two sisters, a niece and nephew.