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No surprises in Dove nominations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–There weren’t many surprises when nominees for the 2003 Dove Awards were announced Jan. 14 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center as perennial favorites Toby McKeehan and Michael W. Smith led the field with nine nominations apiece.

“Maybe we struck a nerve,” Smith said in an interview with The Tennessean. Smith’s latest album, “Worship Again,” is certified platinum for sales in excess of a million copies. “When you’ve been doing this for 20 years and you’re still getting nominations for artist of the year, never in your imagination did you think that would happen,” he told the newspaper.

Smith is nominated in the male vocalist, artist, inspirational recorded song, praise & worship album, short form video and long form video categories.

Kirk Franklin earned eight nominations, while Nichole Nordeman and Bebo Norman’s tallies reached seven and Third Day garnered five.

Known for years as a member of Christian hip-hop pioneering act dc talk, Toby McKeehan finds himself standing apart from his band mates this year. His 2001 solo debut, “Momentum,” was released under his tobyMac alias, and it garnered the bulk of his 2003 Dove nominations.

The songwriter of the year category nominees will not be announced until April 10 at the Gospel Music Association’s 34th Annual Dove Awards at the GEC. Last year’s songwriting winner, Bart Millard of MercyMe, said the awards show is a well-intentioned showcase of Christian talent and a slightly uncomfortable exercise in “me, me, me.”

“It’s natural as a minister and as a Christian to not get caught up with all this,” said Millard, a Southern Baptist youth minister. “We’re saying, ‘It’s not about us,’ but here we are, holding trophies. On the other hand, I’ve always been a Christian music fan, and to hear our band nominated with these other artists is an honor.”

Following are nominees from major categories of the 34th Annual Dove Awards:

— Artist: Steven Curtis Chapman, tobyMac, MercyMe, Michael W. Smith, Third Day.

— Male Vocalist: Steven Curtis Chapman, Bebo Norman, Mac Powell, Mark Schultz, Michael W. Smith.

— Female Vocalist: Natalie Grant, Nicole C. Mullen, Nichole Nordeman, Rebecca St. James, Joy Williams.

— Group: Audio Adrenaline, MercyMe, Selah, Sixpence None The Richer, Third Day.

— New Artist: Big Daddy Weave, Daily Planet, Jeff Deyo, Paul Colman Trio, Souljahz, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Worship Circus.

— Producer: Brown Bannister, Steve Hindalong, Monroe Jones, Nathan Nockels, Charlie Peacock.

— Song: Above All, Back In His Arms Again, Breathe, Come Unto Me, Great Light Of The World, Here I Am To Worship, Holy, Ocean Floor, Spoken For, Yes, I Believe, Youth Of The Nation.

For a complete list of Dove Award nominees visit the Gospel Music Association at http://www.doveawards.com/categories/.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: ANNOUNCING AWARDS and GMA ANNOUNCEMENTS.

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