MannaEXPRESS on the 43rd GMA Dove Awards red carpet
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] didn’t know what to expect as I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to cover the 43rd Annual GMA Dove Awards ceremony on April 19. Excitement and anxiety got the better part of me when photographer Kevin Dukes and I pulled up to the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta. We managed to find a divinely orchestrated spot on the red carpet as an impressive array of Christian celebrities and gospel artists from all genres filed in. I was thrilled to snag my first interview with a very down-to-earth Nicole C. Mullen, best known for her song Redeemer. I asked her how she feels about her music touching lives. “It is not about me,” she said, “it is about Him and people getting to know Jesus Christ.”
Comedian David Mann of Tyler Perry’s series Meet the Browns and Chonda Pierce—the “Queen of Clean Comedy” and author of sixbestsellers–co-hosted the awards. Their bare-all rib-cracking jokes had the audience in stitches.
Appearances and performances from gospel greats such as Russ Taff, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Mandissa, Jamie Grace, Jason Castro, Jason Crabb, Phil Stacey, Natalie Grant, Kari Jobe, Ruben Studdard, The Isaacs, Yolanda Adams, Danny Gokey, and many others made the night an exciting one.
“Good and bad things that happen on a daily basis inspire the kind of music we bring out,” said three-time Grammy Award-winning sisters Erica Atkins-Campbell and Trecina Atkins-Campbell, popularly known as Mary Mary. On their new reality TV series, they explained that “We don’t watch our lives, we live it. We are opening up our lives for people to see it, and hopefully it directs them to God.”
Jason Crabb’s star shone bright as he won the Male Vocalist of the Year and Artist of the Year
awards. “It just blows my mind,” he said of his Dove Awards. Kirk Franklin, the No. 1-selling gospel artist, won the Contemporary Gospel Album and Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song of the Year–his 15th and 16th Dove Awards, respectively. MannaEXPRESS asked Franklin where he gets his inspiration.
Laughing and smiling, he said, “It will take us staying on this spot for at least three days for me to share my personal experiences and how they inspire me.”
Christian hip-hop singer LeCrae—famously cited by New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin as his favorite rapper–received the Rap Hip Hop Song of the Year and Rap Hip Hop Album of the Year. A shocked Jamie Grace won the New Artist of the Year Dove Award—at 20, she was the youngest artist to take home honors at the 43rd Dove Awards. “Just to be called a winner in this same building where I attended my prom four years ago dreaming of meeting stars on the stage one day really blows me away,” she said.
Other highlights included Yolanda Adams, Angie Stone, Karen Peck, and Crystal Lewis singing a tribute to Whitney Houston, while Natalie Grant, who won her fifth Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year, performed her hit song “Alive.”
A cheerful and very pregnant Laura Story won the Dove Award Song of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year for “Blessings.”
Other winners included:
Group of the Year--NEEDTOBREATHE
Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year–The Perrys
Country Recorded Song of the Year–Karen Peck & New River
Rock Album of the Year–Switchfoot
Inspirational Album of the Year–Selah
Praise and Worship Album of the Year–Chris Tomlin.
For a detailed list of nominees and winners, please go to: