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'Celebrating Jesus': Lauren Daigle, We The Kingdom, For King & Country at Star-Studded 52nd GMA Dove Awards

YouTube Screenshot: TBN/GMA Dove Awards
YouTube Screenshot: TBN/GMA Dove Awards

Gospel and Christian music artists came together Tuesday to celebrate the much-anticipated 52nd Annual GMA Dove Awards at Lipscomb University's Allen Arena in Nashville.

The show, which aired Friday night on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and SiriusXM, included moving performances from CAIN, Lauren Daigle, Natalie Grant, We The Kingdom, CeCe Winans, and more.

Australian duo For King & Country, led by brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, won Artist of the Year for the second year in a row. 

While on stage, Luke recognized the hardships and "bumps" felt by many during the pandemic. For him it was throat surgery, yet he was "more convinced than ever that the power of music is transforming."

"The power of music gives life to a vocal cord," Luke stated. "The power of music changes eternal destinations for people ... don't forget that. Make this real to other people. Make this real all over the world, because it matters."

Winans won four awards including Gospel Artist of the Year.

"I want to thank all of those who were in the category with me, and all of the artists that are here, the young — and us who are old," Winans said. "God is faithful to every generation. And I am just honored to be a part of this industry. I'm honored to lift up the name of Jesus."

It was also a big night for newcomers with the Atlanta-based worship group Maverick City Music winning New Artist of the Year. 

"We're super honored that you guys have honored us," said the group's Naomi Raine. "But I think what's been most important for us is lifting up Jesus and just making him the thing. And so our prayer is that every time we go out, that we don't magnify us ... We want to lift up Jesus."

Family band We The Kingdom, which is made up of multiple generations of relatives, took home Contemporary Christian Artist of the Year. The group kicked off the evening by singing "God So Loved" with band member Ed Cash declaring that, "Tonight's about celebrating Jesus."

And Gospel Music Association President and Executive Director, Jackie Patillo, was honored to receive the first-ever distinguished leadership award. This new Dove will now be an annual award, and beginning next year, will be named The Jackie Patillo Leadership Award. 

"I am speechless," Patillo said. "And so honored and so grateful. This is a calling, y'all. This is a mission. This is not a job. Even though some days are hard. But I love you. And I'm grateful. And I believe in unity in Christ. I believe we can celebrate our diversity in ways that will show the world that they'll know we are Christians by our love. I believe in the power of God through the Word and through the message in your songs. So thank you. I'm so grateful and I'm awestruck over this."

To see a complete list of the Dove Award Winners, click here.

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