It was an unlikely scenario for an awards show, aired Oct. 30 on the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN).
There were no live audiences, no large stages, no acceptance speeches and no single host. Rather, using a patchwork of pre-taped interviews and studio performances with multiple artists, the GMA took a cinematic approach centered on the theme "Carry the Change."
The band For King & Country won the top overall Artist of the Year honors. They performed "Amen," the opening song on the telecast, featuring various guest artists including Lecrae. (See the performance online).
The group also was a winner in the short-form video category for its video version of its song "God Only Knows."
A mild surprise was the overall song of the year selection - "Way Maker," written by Nigerian worship leader Sinach and Okoro Egbu. The worship anthem was performed by Leeland Mooring, joined by Mandisa and co-writer Sinach backed by the Maverick City Choir.
There were artist of the year honors in several different musical genres:
Contemporary Christian – Tauren Wells
Gospel – Tasha Cobbs Leonard
Southern Gospel – Joseph Haberdank
Singer-songwriter Zach Williams was honored with the title of artist/songwriter of the year.
New artist of the year was the band We the Kingdom, which performed its hit song "Holy Water." (Grand Rapids-area native Chris Renzema was a nominee in this category).
AWARDS AND COLLABORATIONS
Among the many musical highlights was the four-voice combination on the song "Famous For (I Believe.)" Joining together were Tauren Wells (a Michigan native), gospel artist Jakalyn Carr, international singer Christine D'Clario, and Jenn Johnson of Bethel Music. (Wells also won a Dove for his album "Citizen of Heaven").
Another treat was the husband and wife team of Cody Carnes and Kari Jobe leading their worship-filled benediction, "The Blessing," with Elevation Worship. The song (co-written with Elevation pastor Steven Furtick) won an award as well.
Also among the winners was Kanye West – yes that Kanye West – who won a Rap/Hip Hop Dove Award for his gospel song "Follow God." Although not part of the awards presentation, the mainstream rapper tweeted his reaction @ye: "Praise God.... God continues to send encouragement. Good is winning."
*Hillsong Worship scored a Dove for its music video "Awake (Live)" while its "Awake" album won as the year's top worship album.
MORE THAN MUSIC
Storytelling played a significant role in this year's program, according to GMA president Jackie Patillo. "We're trading in some of the glitz and the glamour for something deeper. There are several great stories we get to tell," she said in a pre-awards interview.
And there were. One of them was told by Zach Williams, who learned that his song "Fear is a Liar" had a role in preventing a suicidal young man from taking his life.
Several short clips from artist interviews included reflections on experiences with quarantine, the COVID-19 virus, the challenges of unity and the importance of scripture in their personal as well as professional lives.
Some of the other artists participating: Natalie Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Danny Gokey, Jonathan McReynolds, Jekalyn Carr, Zach Williams and Christine D'Clario. "Only a transformed heart can bring unity," offered Grant. (Not long after she taped her interview, Grant announced that, following a positive test, she is battling the COVID virus).
*Noteworthy is the double inspirational Dove win by the trio Selah. Their song "Yet Not I, But Christ Through Me" and their album "Firm Foundation" both were honored. (Selah has just been announced as a performer in next summer's WoW series in Grand Haven).
*Skillet pulled off the same dual feat in the rock/contemporary categories with its song "Legendary," and album "Victorious." (Another concert heads up: Skillet is on the bill at the mainstream music Upheaval Festival July 17, 2021 at Belknap Park in downtown Grand Rapids).
*The film "I Still Believe," the autobiographical story of singer Jeremy Camp, won Dove honors as inspirational film of the year.
For a full list of winners in all 41 categories, visit www.doveawards.com
In case you can't get enough of award shows, Lauren Daigle, For King & Country and Kanye West are nominated in the contemporary/inspirational category of the American Music Awards, Sunday Nov. 22 on ABC-TV.
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