What’s Up in Music: December

The 48th Annual Grammy® Awards will be presented on February 8, 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Nominations went to a number of gospel and Christian artists, including Yolanda Adams, CeCe Winans, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurken, Audio Adrenaline, GRITS, Day of Fire, Cross Movement, Casting Crowns, Mary Mary, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jars of Clay, Out of Eden, Michael W. Smith, Third Day, The Crabb Family, and Amy Grant. For a complete listing of nominees, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.grammy.com” www.grammy.com.
Aspiring artists, songwriters, musicians, and worship leaders are encouraged to head to Nashville in February for the Gospel Music Association (GMA) Academy Regional Talent Competition and Seminar, February 10-11, 2006. The theme of the two-day event is “Your Place for Discovery.” Detailed information is available online at HYPERLINK http://www.gospelmusic.org www.gospelmusic.org or by calling 615-242-0303. Entry into the talent competition requires advance registration and has a firm deadline of January 9, 2006. Registration for the seminar is available up until the first day of the event.
Kevin Max, acclaimed singer/songwriter, author and former member of the group dcTalk, recently made his debut as a contributing writer for the newly re-launched website of Ichthus Ministries, Inc., the parent company of the popular Ichthus Festival. The online community provides a place for teenagers, young adults and youth leaders to interact with one another. Max addresses questions from readers, and future contributions to the website will include poetry and other artistic offerings. Visit Ichthus Online at http://www.ichthus.org. Kevin Max’s latest solo project, The Imposter, is available on Northern Records.
Worship Leader magazine has announced the nominees for its 5th Annual
Praise Awards, which honor outstanding achievement in six categories: Best Praise and Worship Song; Best Worship Project; Best Scripture Song; Best Compilation; Best Urban or Gospel Project; and 2005 Breakthrough Artist. Winners will be selected by popular vote and announced in the magazine’s March/April issue. Cast your votes by visiting the Worship Leader (www.worshipleader.com) or Song DISCovery (www.songdiscovery.com).
Casting Crowns reached another career milestone when their sophomore album, Lifesong, was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Gold certification denotes shipments of more than 500,000 copies of an album. Lifesong debuted at No. 9 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart, and was one of only two Christian artists to break the Top 10 on the Billboard chart in ten years. Casting Crowns now has career sales of more than 1.9 million albums.
Ten-time GRAMMY® & Dove Award winner Take 6 is gearing up for their latest release, Feels Good, on their recently launched label Take 6 Records. The highly anticipated a cappella project will release to the Christian, mainstream, gospel, R&B and jazz markets in March. 
Rocketown recording artists Watermark (Nathan & Christy Nockels) will release A Grateful People in March. The project features new concert recordings of a dozen of the best songs from the couple’s decade of writing and recording together as well as two new songs. A Grateful People was recorded live at the couple’s home church, Fellowship Bible in Franklin, TN and features special guests Chris Tomlin, Point of Grace, Charlie Hall, Shane & Shane and Ed Cash. Watermark hits the road for an 18-city tour in the spring of 2006.
Canadian pop rock band Hawk Nelson is currently in the studio working on their sophomore release Smile, It’s The End Of The World (Tooth and Nail). Hawk Nelson’s career has skyrocketed since their debut album Letters To The President was released last year. They’ve appeared on NBC’s “American Dreams” and music from their debut album used on WB’s “Smallville” and “Summerland” as well as in commercials for the 2004 Summer Olympics. The band recently appeared in the Disney film, “Yours, Mine and Ours,” performing the song they “Bring Em Out,” which they wrote for the movie.
Dove Award-winning hard rock band Pillar has joined forces with Teen Mania in a campaign to reach out to teens called “BATTLE CRY Campaign.” Pillar has given Teen Mania exclusive use of its current single “Frontline” for promotional efforts. The band will also headline select BATTLE CRY events. For more information, visit www.teenmania.com .
Chick rock group BarlowGirl was featured recently on NBC’s “Today Show” in a story on how Christian music is impacting pop culture. The band’s sophomore release, Another Journal Entry (Fervent Records), is in stores now.
Gotee’s StorySide:B finished shooting the first music video for their chart-climbing radio single “Miracle,” from their newest release Everything And More. The video was shot on location in Los Angeles and was directed and produced by Shane Stanley of Saxons River Entertainment.
Audio Adrenaline’s “Clap Your Hands,” from their latest album, Until My Heart Caves In, was used in ESPN’s “Ultimate Highlight Reel” in October. “Clap Your Hands” is also featured on the new “Angel Wars” video soundtrack. 
Sarah Hart, Tom Booth, Danielle Rose and Celtic rock band Ceili Rain took home top honors at the 2005 Unity Awards this past November in St. Paul, Minnesota. Among her other awards, Hart was named Songwriter of the Year. Booth and Rose were named Male and Female Vocalists of the Year respectively, and Ceili Rain took home the award for Group of the Year. The Unity Awards give public recognition to members of the United Catholic Music and Video Association (UCMVA) who have demonstrated excellence or significant accomplishments in the field of Catholic Evangelization through music, video and media.
Jars of Clay, Casting Crowns and Mary Mary were all nominated for 2005 American Music Awards in the Contemporary Inspirational category. The win went to urban gospel duo Mary Mary. The awards were presented in November.

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