NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The 40th annual Gospel Music Association Dove Awards highlighted musical and cultural diversity as 38 of the evening’s 43 awards went to different recipients April 23 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn.
“Many different artists have obviously connected with people in powerful ways this year as evidenced by last night’s impressive number of singular honorees,” GMA president John W. Styll said.
“The list of Dove Award recipients is very culturally and musically diverse, yet together they reveal the unique ability for gospel and Christian music to reach across cultural, religious and generational divides to encourage and inspire with the good news of the Gospel,” Styll added.
Brandon Heath and Casting Crowns won the most awards. Heath received the Male Vocalist of the Year honor, and his song “Give Me Your Eyes” won Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year, as well as the Song of the Year award.
“I feel very much like I am still finding my voice to be standing in front of you tonight,” Heath said, according to GospelMusicChannel.com. “I’m humbled, but I’m so proud to be part of this group of people, the things we accomplish and the lives that we change for the glory of God.”
Casting Crowns won the band’s fifth consecutive Group of the Year award as well as Christmas Album of the Year for “Peace on Earth” and an award for Short Form Music Video for “Slow Fade.”
Steven Curtis Chapman, who has received more Dove Awards than any artist in history, won his seventh Artist of the Year award and his 10th Songwriter of the Year title. Chapman was joined onstage by his sons Caleb and Will Franklin for a performance of “Cinderella,” a song inspired in part by his 5-year-old daughter Maria, who died in an accident last year.
“Everything we’re singing about tonight is true in the darkest, ugliest, most hopeless places,” Chapman told reporters. “We’re more certain of this hope that we have, and we’re more desperate for God.”
Natalie Grant won her fourth consecutive trophy for Female Vocalist of the Year. Only Sandi Patty has won the award more times.
Tenth Avenue North received the Dove Award for New Artist of the Year, which for the first time included votes cast by 250,000 fans in a contest coordinated by the Gospel Music Channel, which also broadcast the Dove Awards live. Votes were cast via the Web and text messaging, including through the first part of the broadcast.
The Dove Awards pre-telecast featured the presentation of the majority of the 43 awards.
In addition to embracing the future by using new technologies for voting, the Dove Awards showed appreciation for the past by honoring southern gospel music icon Bill Gaither with an award, 40 years after he won his first Dove Award in 1969.
Tributes to musical legends were interspersed with performances by New Artist of the Year nominees, including a multi-artist segment honoring Dottie Rambo, a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame who died in a bus accident last year.
Carrie Prejean, Miss California USA, appeared at the awards show to introduce the group MercyMe before they performed “I Can Only Imagine,” marking one decade since the chart-topping song was written.
For a complete list of award winners, visit www.gospelmusic.org. The Gospel Music Channel will rebroadcast the Dove Awards multiple times.
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Erin Roach.