The 48th annual GMA Dove Awards aired last night, but not before taking over Nashville last week, bringing the best of Christian music in toe. We were in the media room for the event, hearing from the stars after their big wins. Here are some of the highlights from the 2016 show.
Lauren Daigle wins top prize
Daigle was awarded three of the night’s biggest awards, including Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year – Artist and Artist of the Year.
An emotional Daigle said that her fellow nominees in the category of Songwriter of the Year “inspired me and taught me how to write…These guys are just prolific in all they do” calling the award “an honor.” She added that earlier in the day she had told her family that of all the awards she was nominated for, this warranted the most emotion for her.
Her wins come as a surprise to no one, as her new album “How Can it Be” spent five weeks atop Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart. She recently earned herself an American Music Award nomination and even scored her first Grammy nomination earlier this year.
Chris Tomlin is awarded the SoundExchange’s Digital Radio Award
Only the fourth time this has been awarded, the Digital Radio Award recognizes artists who have garnered more than one billion performances across the thousands of digital radio services SoundExchange partners with. Chris Tomlin is the first contemporary Christian artist to be given the accolade, with past honorees being Garth Brooks, Justin Timberlake and rapper Pitbull. Tomlin was moved to tears as he accepted the award saying it’s one of the most special awards he’s ever received. “I’m most proud today of what this recognition says about the genre of Christian music,” he told the crowd. “Christian music as a whole is what’s being represented today.”
2016 has been a busy year for Tomlin, as his 11th album debuts on Oct. 21 and he wrote a children’s book called “Good, Good Father,” which also picked up a Dove Award for Song of the Year.
Jordan Feliz wins New Artist of the Year
With two No. 1 hits, “Never Too Far Gone” & “The River,” with the latter sitting on the Billboard’s National Christian Audience Chart for 10 weeks, it was no surprise when Jordan Feliz took home the New Artist of the Year prize. Shaking as he accepted award, Feliz said he was “so humbled by this,” adding that he wouldn’t believe someone if they told him this was an option a few years ago. Later backstage, he revealed that he’ll be touring with the show’s hosts, For King & Country, calling them “some of the most amazing musicians.” He also relayed that his musical influences range from Earth Wind & Fire to OneRepublic, describing his music as an “infusion of pop and soul music is really in my blood,” saying that he wants to inspire people at his shows, leaving them feeling “joy” and “refreshed.”
Southern Gospel performance
While it was an inspiring evening as a whole, it’s safe to say The Issacs brought the house down like no other with their stunning rendition of “It is Well,” which not only had the crowd inside the Allen Arena on their feet, but everyone in the media room as well. This was followed by equally stunning performances from the likes of Joseph Habendak, The Kingdom Heirs and a beautiful “Amazing Grace” from Karen Peck to round out the performance. It truly showed the power of Christian music.
Hosts – For King & Country
Before taking the stage to host the show, For King & Country’s Joel and Luke Smallbone told us backstage about their new movi, “Priceless,” based on the book and song of the same name that they’ve been working on for two years that aims to celebrate women’s worth, with contributions coming from staff involved with films including “Suicide Squad” and “Anchorman.” They also revealed that their Grammy and Dove Award-winning sister Rebecca makes a brief appearance in the film and relayed the sweet story of how they were at the Dove Awards 20 years ago when she was nominated for New Artist of the Year – brining the experience full circle indeed.
During the pre-telecast, Anthony Brown was awarded Urban Worship Recorded Song of the Year for “Worth,” but was not in the room to accept the award at the time, so he sent his awestruck mother Patrice in his place, who was moved to tears as she shared her pride for her son and read the acceptance speech he’d written.
She relayed to us in the media room that she knew Anthony “had a gift” when he was five years old and enrolled him in the Baltimore School of Arts. “We did what we thought was the right thing to do,” she said. She emotionally professed her admiration for Anthony and his three brothers for always staying out of trouble and continuing to follow God’s teachings, a decision she is truly proud of.
Later that night, Brown himself joined the media room to discuss his big win for Traditional Gospel Album of the Year. He told the media crowd that the Dove Awards are “really special to me because they embody all of Christian music,” adding that the show “gives clarity to what ‘Love Amplified’ really means,” before giving a shout out to his mom for humbly accepted his first award earlier in the day on his behalf.
For a full list of the night’s winners, visit the Dove Awards official website.