It's Christian music's biggest night. The 53rd Annual GMA Dove Awards aired last week, and among the big winners, CeCe Winans taking home Dove Awards for Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for "Believe For It."
In her acceptance speech Winans said, "This whole record 'Believe For It' is, it's just amazing what God is doing," adding she believes there's a lot to look forward to for the future of Christian music.
Anne Wilson's hit song "My Jesus" earned her honors for Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year and New Artist of the Year. The song was inspired by the tragic loss of her older brother Jacob in an auto accident. "I want to thank my sweet brother in heaven who has inspired me," she said. "That's why I do what I do."
Doe, who was also nominated for New Artist of the Year, took home the prize for Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year. She also performed a medley of songs on stage at the Doves including the award-winning song "When I Pray."
Doe also scored Gospel Worship Song of the Year for "Breathe," a tune she wrote and recorded with Jonathan McReynolds, Chandler Moore, and Maverick City Music. Naomi Raine accepted the award saying, "For us, this Breathe project was an intentional move to get together and collaborate with people that didn't look like everybody else." The song was written on the heals of racial tensions following the death of George Floyd.
Worship artist Phil Wickham also took home two statues, one for Worship Song of the Year and another for Worship Album of the Year. "I just can't believe that God would give me a voice beyond the walls of my church to write new prayers for the church to sing," the award-winning artist said in his acceptance speech.
The Gospel Music Association also honored Jekalyn Carr for her single "My Portion" which was named traditional gospel song of the year. Carr was shocked saying, "I wasn't even expecting it. But I guess this is my portion."
Carr also performed the award-winning song on the stage the night of the awards. She is just one of many artists CBN News' Studio 5 caught up with on the red carpet before their names were called.
"How does it feel to walk yet another red carpet? Does this get old?" we asked. "It does not get old. It's always great," Carr said. "I think one of the biggest perks is we get to see our family members. I call them family."
Maverick City Music has branched out to a Spanish-speaking audience. We caught up with Maverick City Musica. "I think there's so much goodness and richness and anointing and gifting in the kingdom of God," said the group, and added they were looking forward to seeing all the talent on display at the awards show.
One of those talents is up-and-coming Christian hip-hop artist, Steven Malcolm. "Tell us about the nomination and how it's feeling," we asked Malcolm, who was nominated for Hip-Hop Song of the Year for his song featuring Social Club Misfits. "I remember working in retail. I used to work at Nordstrom, picking up shoes, listening to Social Club Misfits. Now I'm here performing with them. So look at God," said Malcolm.
The theme of the Dove Awards this year was "Sounds of Heaven". The star of The Chosen TV show, Jonathan Roumie, was at the show as a presenter and said, "All the people gathered here at the Dove Awards today are celebrating the fact that God is the answer."
Matthew West is one of the big names who was nominated for an impressive seven statues. We asked the hitmaker how many times he thought we would hear his name. "I don't know if we'll hear my name. You mean as a nominee or a winner?" He added, "I think they told me I have seven nominations, so. But whether I win one or not, I don't really that doesn't bother me. I just enjoy coming here to the awards."
Dove Award veterans, Selah, echoed that sentiment saying, "It's a chance to see friends, you know, because all of us are all out touring so much," adding, "all of us are all doing the same thing just trying to spread the word."
With touring going on, and a packed schedule, artists like Erica Campbell who hosted the event, says she just takes one thing at a time. "I don't think He would give it to me if I wasn't capable of handling it," she said.
The Dove Awards also introduced us to some new popular sounds in the industry like Blessing Offor, nominated for New Artist of the Year. And then there's Angie Rose, a female nominated in the male-dominated Hip-Hop category. Rose said, It's just an honor, really." She added, "It's not the easiest thing in the world, but also not the hardest and it's a blessing to be able to just find something that you love and see people appreciate it."
Doe, who Studio 5 has featured recently, was nominated for four Dove Awards and that number is a special one for the artist. "Four. So that number is special to me because my family's first album was nominated for Four Doves."
The night of the Dove Awards is a dream come true for many artists including Jabari Johnson, but others, like Maranda Curtis, say they did not dream it, "I was obedient."
Others are grateful for the opportunity to share their music. Tasha Layton, who was nominated for Song of the Year for "Look What You've Done" called it a special night. "I'm so thankful for what God has done in my life," she said. She added her nominated song is "such a testimony and I feel like people have grabbed onto it as such an anthem. And so I think that's really special."
The focus on the 53rd Dove Awards was the Sound of Heaven, and it's all about the people, according to New Artist of the Year Nominee Jordan St. Cyr. "It's about the people. If we can kind of keep it there, love on one another, I think we're going to be all right."