Former Royal Tailor frontman Tauren Wells cemented his successful solo status by picking up four trophies at 49th annual GMA Dove Awards in Nashville at David Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena. Wells won new artist and contemporary Christian artist of the year as well as earning pop/contemporary album for his 2017 release Hills and Valleys. He also won a fourth Dove for rap/hip-hop recorded song for “War Cry,” a collaboration with Social Club Misfits that was inspired by the high school shooting tragedy in Parkland, Fla.
It was a hectic night for Wells who had been backstage changing clothes when his name was called as the new artist winner. “I was literally in the back with my pants undone changing…then I heard my name and ran. What award is this?” Wells panted. “New artist of the year? Woah!”
It was also a big night for worship pastor Cory Asbury whose hit “Reckless Love” earned Doves for song of the year, worship song of the year and worship album of the year. “What a privilege this is,” Asbury said. “Isn’t it just like the Lord to take our failures and our overall jacked-up mess and turn it into something beautiful? He takes our disappointments and turns them into a dance floor. He allows us to be kids again.”
Songwriter Colby Wedgeworth also collected three Doves including songwriter of the year (non-artist) for collaborating with Wells on Hills and Valleys and for co-writing the pop/contemporary recorded song of the year, “Old Church Choir,” recorded by Zach Williams.
Grammy winner Williams, who won last year’s Dove for new artist, took home the top prize for artist of the year. Other big winners of the night were Tasha Cobb Leonard, who was named gospel artist of the year and won urban worship album for Heart. Passion. Pursuit. The Gaither Vocal Band won Southern gospel artist and veteran hitmaker Matthew West was named songwriter of the year (artist). Producer of the year honors went to Jason Ingram and Paul Mabury. Directed by the Erwin Brothers, I Can Only Imagine was named inspirational film of the year. Starring Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins and J. Michael Finley, the box office hit chronicled the life of MercyMe frontman Bart Millard and the volatile relationship with his father that inspired the hit song “I Can Only Imagine.”
“When you’re a little kid in Alabama singin’ gospel songs you never think someday you’ll win an award for doing what you love,” said Bradley Walker, who won the Dove for bluegrass/country/roots album for his 2017 release Blessed: Hymns and Songs of Faith.
Southern gospel recorded song of the year went to perennial favorite Jason Crabb for “Washed by the Water” from his Unexpected album. In one of the highlights of the night, Crabb performed with country superstars Rascal Flatts. Among the evening’s other stellar collaborations, pop songstress Tori Kelly performed with Kirk Franklin and Koryn Hawthorn and Natalie Grant teamed up for Hawthorn’s hit “Speak the Name.” Lauren Daigle, who recently made Billboard history by topping five charts simultaneously, closed out the evening performing “You Say.”
The Dove Awards will air Sunday, Oct. 21 on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) at 9pm ET.
For a complete list of winners, visit www.doveawards.com.