NASHVILLE (BP) – CeCe Winans, Elevation Worship and for KING & COUNTRY were the big winners during the 52nd annual GMA Dove Awards, which aired Friday (Oct. 22).
For the second consecutive year, the Australia-born duo for KING & COUNTRY was awarded the Dove for Artist of the Year, while Winans and Elevation both took home multiple awards.
For KING & COUNTRY member Luke Smallbone acknowledged “it’s been a little bumpy,” for many people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including himself.
“It’s been a strange couple of years,” Smallbone said. “My personal bump came about five-six months ago I had to have throat surgery. The problem with the surgery is for about five days you can’t say a word, and so you wait in suspense to figure out what’s going to happen.
“A lot of thoughts started coming into my mind like ‘What if I can’t do this anymore? What if my voice is taken? What if I can’t perform?’ I got to a point where it was like ‘Who am I if I can’t sing or without these things?’ … I felt God very clearly say ‘It’s never been about a song you can sing, or a performance or show. I love you.’ I don’t know what everybody’s bump has been, but I stand up here more convinced than ever that the power of music is transforming and changes eternal destinations for people. Don’t forget that, because it matters.”
Put on annually by the Gospel Music Association (GMA), the Dove Awards honor the most successful and noteworthy Christian music artists each year in a ceremony in Nashville.
After last year’s ceremony did not include a live audience, this year’s show featured a limited audience at the live show, recorded Tuesday, Oct. 19, at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena.
Audiences witnessed performances from a variety of nominated artists, including Winans, We The Kingdom, Lauren Daigle, Maverick City Music, Brandon Lake, Zach Williams and Elevation Worship.
Several of the performers went on to take home hardware during the ceremony.
We The Kingdom was awarded both Contemporary Christian Artist of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year for “Holy Water.”
Maverick City Music won New Artist of the Year and also shared the Worship Album of the Year award with Elevation Worship for “Old Church Basement.”
Elevation would also share the honor of Worship Recorded Song of the Year with artist Brandon Lake for “Graves Into Gardens.” Lake also won Songwriter of the Year in the Artist category.
Other notable winners included several artists winning Song of the Year with “The Blessing,” Spanish-Language Album of the Year for Evan Craft, Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year for KB, Southern Gospel Album of the Year for Joseph Habedank, Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year for Koryn Hawthorne, Bluegrass/Country/Roots Album Of The Year for the The Isaacs and Inspirational Film of the Year for “A Week Away.”
Winans was the second performance of the night and would go on to win Gospel Artist of the Year minutes later. Later in the night, she was awarded Gospel Worship Album of the Year for “Believe For It” and Gospel Worship Recorded Song of the Year for the same-titled song.
She also was part of the Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year award, which went to country music superstar Carrie Underwood for her cover of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” which featured vocals from Winans.
During her acceptance speech for Gospel Artist of the Year, Winans began by thanking God, saying, “I’m so glad that He is who He says He is, therefore all of us can have faith in Him.”
She praised every artist nominated along with her as well as all the artists attending the ceremony, supporting the ceremony’s “Stronger Together” theme.
“God is faithful to every generation,” Winans said. “I am just honored to be a part of this industry and honored lift up the name of Jesus. I’m so glad for the blood of Jesus. I’m so glad for the Holy Spirit. I’m so glad for all of my brothers and sisters and it’s time that we understand the importance of unity, because it’s through us really loving each other that the whole world is going to come to know who He is.”