Jason Ingram was named SESAC's Christian songwriter of the year at the performing rights organization's annual awards dinner March 5 in Nashville. Ingram penned "Shine," a major hit for the group Salvador, and Bebo Norman‚s hit "I Will Lift My Eyes." Wordspring Music, a division of Word Music Publishing, was named Christian publisher of the year.

Ingram was surprised by his win. "I had no idea," he said at the event. "It never crossed my mind. I am so thrilled. You write and you hope the songs affect people and get out there. It's cool when you see that really happens."

In addition to being one of the Christian music community's most sought-after writers and producers, Ingram is frontman for the Longing and has also been in his Nashville studio producing the debut album for Rush of Fools. The band is new on the Midas Records roster and is gaining steam at Christian radio with the debut single "Undo." Ingram says he also plans to work with Norman on his next album as a co-writer and producer.

This is Ingram's second year with SESAC. "I like how focused they are and how much attention they give their writers and their artists," says Ingram. "I'm happy and proud to be a part of the SESAC family and plan to be here a long time."

The Christian community is an important part of SESAC’s business. "We have a royalty department that makes Christian music a priority," says SESAC's John Mullins. "We're tracking so many Christian stations that no matter what your format is, you're going to get paid. That's what keeps people coming and keeps people referring others. We give great service and we pay well."

Held at Nashville restaurant Sambuca, the event also recognized writers who have hit the top of the charts this past year. Pop/rock tunes dominated the SESAC Christian honors this year. Stellar Kart’s Adam Agee was honored for the band’s hit "Me and Jesus"; Curb recording artist Tiffany Arbuckle Lee a.k.a. Plumb for "Better"; Decyfer Down's Christopher Clonts for the group’s hit "Break Free." Singer/songwriter Michael O'Brien was honored for "Psalm 40" and "Before the Day," both recorded by NewSong.

SESAC writers Krystal Meyers, Timothy Skipper, Aaron Babcock, Colin Rigsby, Steve Taylor, Randy Torres, Alexander Albert, Steven Dail, Andrew Schwab, Jordan Messer, Cody Pellerin, Jack Mooring, Nate Sallie and Taylor Sitera each received National Performance Activity Awards.