During the 2022 BMI Christian Awards held June 14 at the BMI office in Nashville, the performing rights organization honored the songwriters and publishers behind the 25 most-performed Christian songs of the past year.
This year’s ceremony, hosted by BMI president/CEO Mike O’Neill and Leslie Roberts (assistant vp, creative, Nashville) also honored Contemporary Christian Music luminary Steven Curtis Chapman with the first Christian BMI Icon Award. Christian country trio CAIN performed “Great Adventure” and “I Will Be Here,” while Lady A’s Hillary Scott performed “Who You Say We Are.” As the first Christian music artist to receive a BMI Icon award, Chapman joins songwriters including Carole King, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Sting, and Merle Haggard as BMI Icon award recipients. Ever the songwriter, Chapman penned an original song that he performed as his acceptance speech at the conclusion of the evening. Chapman, who recently rejoined Provident Label Group, has earned five Grammy Awards and 59 GMA Dove Awards during his 35-year career, and sold more than 11 million albums.
The songwriter of the year honor was presented to first-time winner Jason Cox, as well as to Ethan Hulse, who took home the honor for a fourth consecutive year. Cox’s writing credits include The Crabb Family’s “I See Revival,” The Nelons’ “If God Pulled Back the Curtain,” and the Tribute Quartet’s “The Healer Hasn’t Lost His Touch.” Hulse is a writer on Andrew Ripp’s “Jericho,” Jeremy Camp’s “Out Of My Hands,” and CAIN’s “Rise Up (Lazarus).”
“There Was Jesus,” the Dolly Parton and Zach Williams collaboration penned by BMI writers Williams, Jonathan Smith and Casey Beathard, was named the 2022 BMI Christian song of the year. The song previously won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song at the 2021 Grammy Awards.
The publisher of the year honor went to Essential Music Publishing, which is responsible for 11 of the 25 most-performed songs of the year, including “Amen,” “Famous For (I Believe),” “Jericho,” “Graves into Gardens,” “There Was Jesus,” and “Rise Up (Lazarus).”