Spotlight on 2008 Dove Winners

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All photos by Kathryn E. Darden for ChristianActivities.com
The 39th annual Dove Awards were announced Wednesday at a ceremony held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee.

Acclaimed singer/songwriter Brandon Heath scored a huge win last night in his hometown of Nashville by taking home the Dove for New Artist of the Year at the 39th Annual GMA Dove Awards. Heath claimed the coveted New Artist title due largely to the success of his debut project, Don’t Get Comfortable, which contained the night’s Song of the Year nominee, “I’m Not Who I Was,” a No. 1 smash-hit that was also nominated in the Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song category and granted Heath his first Songwriter of the Year nod.
“I’m from here in Nashville so it’s an honor to accept this award in front of my peers and my parents,” Heath told Nashville’s CBS affiliate NewsChannel 5. “It was a fun thing!” Heath said backstage during a press conference, “It is truly an honor to be recognized for hard work and good songwriting. I am thankful to work with such a talented and committed team of managers, producers and label staff, and I’m really looking forward to the next chapter!” Brandon currently resides in Houston, Texas, and is a worship leader at The Loft church located in The Woodlands.

Curb recording artist Natalie Grant has become the first artist in 13 years to win the GMA Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year three consecutive times. Not since Twila Paris earned the Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year from 1993-1995 has this distinction been achieved. The broadcast also featured show-stopping performances from some of the top artists in Christian music and beyond, including the electrifying duet “Bring It All Together” by Grant and country superstar Wynonna.
Grant’s critically-acclaimed seventh recording, Relentless, released in February and was the highest debut and top album by a female artist on both Nielsen SoundScan’s Top Christian Albums and Christian Retail charts. With a formidable foothold at mainstream media and radio, Grant is a featured speaker and performer on the Women of Faith and Revolve Tours and is an outspoken advocate for victims of international human trafficking.

Multi-platinum and award winning ForeFront recording artist TobyMac had one of his best Dove Award experiences in his acclaimed career last night as he was named Artist of the Year, and received Dove Awards for Short Form Music Video of the Year (“Boomin’”) and Rock Recorded Album of the Year as Artist and Producer with his latest project Portable Sounds. The 39th Annual GMA Dove Awards aired last night on the Gospel Music Channel. “I am truly honored to win all 4 awards, especially the Artist of the Year award,” remarked TobyMac. “For GMA to recognize a Hip-Rock Funk artist flexes our diversity and makes me want to shout. I am blessed to have talented people around me to help me pursue my artistic passion.”
It was 12 years ago in 1996 when Toby, as a member of dcTalk last accepted the award for Artist of the Year. As a solo artist TobyMac has
been nominated twice before for Artist of the Year (2003,2007) has won seven Dove Awards.

GMA Dove Awards, multi-platinum and GRAMMY-winning artist Michael W. Smith was one of the night’s most recognized artists. Heading into the night with 40 Dove Awards over the span of his still-burgeoning 25-year career, Smith’s double Dove win brings his tally to 42. In addition to receiving two Dove statues, Smith was honored during a musical segment of the nationally-televised program featuring longtime friend Amy Grant and a trio of recent American Idol alum, including Phil Stacey, Mandisa, and Chris Sligh. Each of the young, rising stars spoke about the influence of Smith and his music in their lives and then performed one of their favorite songs from his catalog. Smith commented, “I really enjoyed the time on stage with Amy, Phil, Chris and Mandisa. Hearing them sing some of my songs was a tremendous honor. To think that I’ve done this for 25 years almost doesn’t seem real. I honestly think I’m writing and creating more music today than I ever have. Since I’m always looking forward, it was a fun to take a moment to stop and look back.”
Smith was awarded Christmas Album of the Year for his 2007 holiday release, It’s A Wonderful Christmas, and for his contribution as an artist to the Special Event Album of the Year, Glory Revealed. Michael W. Smith’s latest non-seasonal studio recording and GRAMMY nominated, Stand, was one of the top ten best-selling projects of 2007, and included the Dove-nominated tune, “Be Lifted High.”
Smith also participated in the critically acclaimed, multi-artist project Glory Revealed: The Word of God in Worship, which won two Dove Awards last night. The Scripture-based Glory Revealed project won in the Special Event Album category, and “By His Wounds,” a song from the record that spent eleven consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the R&R INSPO radio chart, won in the category of Inspirational Recorded Song. Mac Powell, Casting Crowns’ lead singer/songwriter Mark Hall and Brian Littrell received two Dove Awards each, for their individual performance, production and/or songwriting work on the album, Glory Revealed (Special Event Album) and the song, “By His Wounds” (Inspirational Recorded Song). “By His Wounds” co-writer, David Nasser, took home a Dove Award, as songwriter on “By His Wounds.”
Glory Revealed: The Word of God in Worship, is a result of the collaboration between Third Day’s Mac Powell and evangelist David Nasser. Wanting to provide listeners with truths taken directly from Scripture, Nasser teamed with Powell and other artists to build one of 2007’s most unique albums. Contributors to the project include Michael W. Smith, Brian Littrell, Steven Curtis Chapman, Trevor Morgan, Hyper Static Union’s Shawn Lewis, David Crowder, Shane & Shane, Candi Pearson-Shelton, Josh Bates, Starfield’s Tim Neufeld and Casting Crowns’ Mark Hall.

Atlantic/Ardent/INO artist Skillet and INO Record’s Disciple are celebrating rock wins with each bringing home their first career statues. After 16 nominations, Skillet won “Rock Recorded Song of the Year” for “Comatose” written by John Cooper and Brian Howes from their 2006 release of the same name. “The GMA Award show was absolutely awesome! It made me feel even more proud to be a part of the Christian music industry. Winning the Dove was an unexpected highlight of the night, second only to saying ‘Hi’ to Amy Grant and giving her a high five,” says Skillet front man John Cooper. Skillet is currently headlining their COMATOSE tour and selling out numerous venues across the country, recently including New York City’s Grand Ballroom.

Disciple took top honors in the Rock Album of the Year category for their sophomore project Scars Remain (2006). With seven nominations to the band’s name, lead singer Kevin Young is pumped about their first win saying “We are all so very happy and honored to have won the Dove Award for Rock Album of the Year with Scars Remain. This was our eighth nomination and our first win. Over the years I always would get butterflies every time our category would come up , but would always hear someone else’s name called every time until last night. So needless to say, I was truly shocked. We are so thankful to God for using our music, and to the Gospel Music Association for recognizing us.” Currently on the “Cross the Line” tour with Superchick, the band is also working on a new project set to release this fall.
Christian music’s top-selling, top-touring, and multi-platinum artist, Casting Crowns was the lead winner at Wednesday’s Dove Awards, taking home seven trophies between the band and lead singer, and top nominee of the night, Mark Hall. Honoring the best in gospel music, the Gospel Music Association selected Casting Crowns as Group of the Year for the fourth year in a row. The Atlanta-based band entered into the evening’s show with four nominations and left with three Doves in tow. Additional wins by Christian music’s top group were for its latest blockbuster, RIAA Gold project, The Altar and The Door which was named Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year, and included the No.1 smash hit, “East To West,” which won the coveted Song of the Year honor, and Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year.
Mark Hall, the leading nominee going into the night with seven (including Songwriter of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year), collected four individual Doves, including two as songwriter of “East to West” in the above mentioned categories, and two for his participation on the Glory Revealed project which nabbed Special Event Album of the Year, as well as its hit radio single, “By His Wounds,” receiving the award for Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year. “I’m so thankful just to get to be part of the songs,” Hall said to the press backstage and noted by the Associated Press.
Funnyman, Mark Lowry took home a Dove Award last night for his latest recording, I Love To Tell The Story – A Hymns Collection, which was named Inspirational Album of the Year. Lowry also joined Sandy Patti on stage to present the final award of the night, Artist of the Year, to TobyMac.
“Winning this particular Dove Award was a great honor because it was an all-singing project,” said Lowry. “I’ve won a Dove for comedy but never for singing. So this is quite a treat. But the credit must go to Paul Johnson. He did such a great job arranging and leading the orchestra and co-producing I Love To Tell The Story – A Hymns Collection. It couldn’t have been made without him.”
Self-published author and now acclaimed songwriter David Nasser walked away with his first-ever Dove Award last night at the Dove Awards. He won for writing the Inspirational Recorded Song of the year, “By His Wounds,” which he co-wrote with Mac Powell. The song was recorded by Powell, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mark Hall, and Brian Littrell. “By His Wounds” is from the project Nasser conceptualized, Glory Revealed, which won the Special Event Album of the year award. Besides accepting his award, Nasser also appeared on the historic Opry stage co-presenting the awards for “Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song,” “Bluegrass Recorded Song,” and “Southern Gospel Recorded Song.”
Nasser is currently promoting his latest book, A Call To Die, now available for the first time at Christian retail. The book independently released in 2000 and had sold over 125,000 copies before it was re-released this past February through Word Distribution.
The 39th Annual GMA Dove Awards aired live from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on the Gospel Music Channel. The complete list of winners is up at 39th Annual Dove Award Winners
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