Michael W. Smith, Third Day, and Toby McKeehan were the big winners at the Gospel Music Association's 33rd annual Dove Awards, handed out last night (April 25) at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville
Michael W. Smith, Third Day, and Toby McKeehan were the big winners at the Gospel Music Association's 33rd annual Dove Awards, handed out last night (April 25) at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. Smith won six Doves, including artist of the year, an honor he also collected in 1999. He also won praise and worship album of the year for his Reunion album, "Worship," and the instrumental album honor for "Freedom."
Georgia rock act Third Day picked up five Doves, including a second consecutive group of the year award. The band's current project, "Come Together," was named rock album of the year, with the title track winning rock recorded song of the year. Third Day lead vocalist Mac Powell was named male vocalist of the year.
"It's such an honor, because these are our peers voting for these awards," Powell tells Billboard. "These aren't people who don't know who we are and are just randomly selecting a name they've heard. These are people who know our music -- people who are friends of ours and work in the business. They not only know how the records are doing and the tour is doing, but they know us personally."
McKeehan, a member of the band dc Talk, took home five Doves, among them his first win in the producer of the year category. Each member of the dc Talk trio released a solo album last year; McKeehan's "Momentum" was recognized in the rap/hip-hop/dance album category and the single "Somebody's Watching Me" and in the rap/hip-hop/dance recorded song category.
It was a big night for first-time Dove nominee MercyMe. "I Can Only Imagine," written by group member Bart Millard, won song of the year and pop/contemporary recorded song. Millard was also named songwriter of the year. "We think it's great," enthuses Millard. "MercyMe has been writing songs to glorify God for the past 8 years, and to be recognized by our peers for doing so is a huge, huge honor."
Last year's songwriter of the year winner Nicole C. Mullen took home the Dove for female vocalist, and her clip "Call on Jesus" was named shortform video of the year. Female trio ZOEgirl won in the new artist category. Curb Records trio Selah won Doves in the inspirational album category for "Press On," and in the traditional gospel recorded song category for "Hold On." Steven Curtis Chapman won the pop/contemporary album accolade for "Declaration."
Hosted by St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner and Elektra artist Yolanda Adams, the Dove Awards aired live on PAX-TV. Many of the winners in 42 categories were presented prior to the PAX broadcast via a pre-show on Family Net.
For a complete list of winners, visit the awards' official Web site.