The 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards, Gospel/Christian music’s biggest event, were held last evening at the legendary Grand Ole Opry House. It was an evening of celebration as an incredible 43 Dove Awards were handed out and 15 collaborative performances were showcased. The 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards will be televised nationwide on gmc (http://www.watchgmctv.com) Sunday, April 25th from 8 p.m. -10 p.m EST. Click here for a complete list of all winners.
The Dove Awards in the overall categories went to:
Artist of the Year: Casting Crowns
Female Vocalist of the Year: Francesca Battistelli
Male Vocalist of the Year: Brandon Heath
Group of the Year: NEEDTOBREATHE
New Artist of the Year: Sidewalk Prophets
Songwriter of the Year: Jennie Lee Riddle
Song of the Year: “By Your Side,” Mike Donehey, Phillip LaRue, and Jason Ingram, as performed by Tenth Avenue North
Producer of the Year: Jason Ingram, Rusty Varenkamp
“On behalf of the membership of the Gospel Music Association, we are fortunate to have such immense creative talent sharing the Gospel through music,” says Ed Leonard, Gospel Music Association’s Chairman of the Board. “We are proud to present this year's Dove winners, and congratulate them and all the nominees on their achievements.”
Tenth Avenue North’s “By Your Side” was awarded Song of the Year. Written by Tenth Avenue North’s Mike Donehey, along with Phillip LaRue and Jason Ingram, the band also performed the hit single, which ranked an impressive No. 3 on Billboard’s overall decade ranking of Christian songs, this evening.
Ingram additionally collected trophies for publisher for Song of the Year and co-writer on the Inspirational Song of the Year, "The Only Hope." He was also named Producer of the Year along with Rusty Varenkamp.
Another of the night's multiple award winners is rock band NEEDTOBREATHE who walked away with statuettes for Group of the Year, Rock/Contemporary Album for The Outsiders, and Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song, “Lay ‘Em Down.” NEEDTOBREATHE'S Bear Rinehart also picked up an award for participating in the Special Event Album, Glory Revealed II: The Word of God In Worship.
Artist of the year was awarded for the first time to platinum-selling Casting Crowns. The Atlanta-based band of youth workers continues to be one of the nation’s top-selling artists across all genres, with its recent album Until the Whole World Hears debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, surpassing the first-week sales of rapper 50 Cent. One of the best-selling new artists of 2009, Sidewalk Prophets, received the New Artist of the Year award. This is Sidewalk Prophets’s first Dove Award.
For the second year in a row, the Artist and New Artist of the Year categories were voted on by both the Gospel/Christian music industry as well as its fans in a campaign coordinated by gmc. Almost 100,000 votes were cast on gmc’s website (http://www.watchgmctv.com) and via text messaging to help determine the winners.
It was also a big night for Francesca Battistelli as she walked away with two Dove Awards, winning for Female Vocalist of the Year and for Short Form Music Video for "Free To Be Me." Battistelli also took to the center stage performing her song “Beautiful, Beautiful” from her debut project, My Paper Heart.
In other top overall categories, for the second year in a row Brandon Heath took home the Male Vocalist of the Year trophy. He also received a Dove Award for his participation in the Special Event Album category. Heath also performed last evening, partnering with winners Jars of Clay on its single “Two Hands.” Jars of Clay was awarded two Dove Awards, one for the Pop/Contemporary Album win The Long Fall Back To Earth, as well as for the album’s Recorded Music Packaging, designed in partnership with Tim Parker.
Another double winner was Jennie Lee Riddle. Riddle was recognized as the Songwriter of the Year, as well as for her No. 1 penned single, “Revelation Song,” named Worship Song of the Year. Recorded by Phillips, Craig & Dean, as well as by Kari Jobe.
Even more performances and unique collaborations took place, as almost 100 artists joined throughout the night to showcase the plethora of Christian music genres. Natalie Grant, who co-hosted the evening along with MercyMe’s Bart Millard, joined with Jordin Sparks to open the main show with “Human,” while MercyMe and David Crowder combined as one to perform the medley “All of Creation"/”How He Loves.”
Other stellar collaborations were shared with the packed Grand Ole Opry House audience, such as Rock Album of the Year winners Red taking the stage with Brian “Head” Welch, former lead guitarist of multi-platinum metal band Korn to perform the medley “Fight Inside”/”Death Of Me.” Introduced by Tenley Molzhan, a runner-up from the 14th season of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” bluegrass icon Ricky Skaggs performed “Someday Soon” with Gordon Kennedy, while Stellar Award-winning artist and producer Donald Lawrence teamed up with Jason Crabb, showcasing their talents for the audience during their collaboration of “My Tribute.”
The evening was also highlighted by a tribute honoring 100 years of Southern Gospel. The tribute featured the Blackwood Brothers, The Perrys, The Booth Brothers, Mosie Lister, and The Crabb Family.
Other unforgettable performances of the evening included Amy Grant performing “Better Than A Hallelujah,” tobyMac & Diverse City with “Funky Jesus Music,” and Bebe & Cece Winans shared the stage with a 23-piece choir to perform “Grace.” Another highlight this evening was from Casting Crowns, last year’s Group of the Year, who performed “Until the Whole World Hears" sharing the stage with a mass children's choir.
“Come Together Now,” the Haiti relief tribute helmed by Michael W. Smith and written by Smith, David Mullen and Cindy Morgan, closed the celebratory evening. Introduced by evangelist Franklin Graham, nearly 30 artists united on stage for the poignant finale to illustrate Nashville’s distinct and authentic community of musicianship, and most of all to help remind people of the need to help those in Haiti. A few of the artists who participated in the powerhouse collaboration were Wynonna, Lee Greenwood, Matt Maher, Melinda Doolittle, Jeremy Camp, Nicole C. Mullen, Mark Hall and many more.
The 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards Opening Ceremonies featured the presentation of 37 of the evening’s 43 Dove Awards, as well as remarkable performances by Voices of Glory, Karen Peck & New River, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Collin Raye, and The Nelons with Karen Peck.
Bob Gordon was the producer of the 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards. Stephen Hubbard produced the evening’s Opening Ceremonies.
Founded in 1964, the Gospel Music Association serves as the face and voice for the Gospel/Christian music community and is dedicated to exposing, promoting and celebrating the Gospel through music of all styles including Pop, Rock, Praise & Worship, Urban Gospel, R&B, Hip Hop, Southern Gospel, Bluegrass, Country and more. The GMA community consists of more than 2,200 members including agents, artists, church leaders, managers, promoters, radio personnel, record company executives, retailers, songwriters and other industry visionaries. The GMA produces the GMA Dove Awards, GMA Dove Week and IMMERSE. For more on supporting the GMA or becoming a member, please visit www.gospelmusic.org or contact the GMA directly at 615.277.1376.
gmc can be seen in 47 million homes. The channel's rapid growth has made it one of the fastest growing networks in television for the past three years. gmc is available on various cable systems around the country, on DIRECTV on channel 338 and on Verizon FiOS on channel 224. For more information visit http://www.watchgmctv.com.