Brandon Lake was the top winner at the 54th annual GMA Dove Awards, which aired Friday (Oct. 20) on TBN and The TBN App and was also simulcast on SiriusXM The Message. The show, hosted by Tauren Wells, was taped on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at Allen Arena on the Lipscomb University campus in Nashville.
Lake won four awards: artist of the year, songwriter of the year – artist, worship recorded song of the year and rap/hip hop recorded song of the year. “I’m so grateful to be a part of this community,” Lake said in accepting artist of the year. Lake is the first male solo artist to win in that top category since Zach Williams five years ago. This is the second time in three years that Lake has been crowned songwriter of the year – artist.
Cobbs Leonard won gospel worship album of the year for Hymns (Live) and traditional gospel recorded song of the year for “It Is Well.” “This album means a lot to me because I’m a PK [pastor’s kid]; I’m a church girl,” she said. “One of the ways I learned scripture was through song.”
TobyMac won pop/contemporary album of the year for the third time with Life After Death. He first won in the category in 2013 with Eye on It (a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200) and again in 2016 with This Is Not a Test.
TobyMac’s acceptance speech constituted one of the show’s most emotional moments. “I made this record in honor of my son Truett, my firstborn who we lost,” he said. “ … I made these songs in the hardest, coldest of valleys and we still don’t know why God would ask this of us, but sometimes we don’t get to ask those questions. He didn’t promise us that we wouldn’t face hard things, that we wouldn’t face loss. He promised He would never leave us or forsake us. If you take the time to look in the hardest deepest valleys, the coldest places in this world, if you take the time to look, He is there. He is true to His word that He will not leave us. I have experienced that.”
TobyMac and Blessing Offor shared the award for short-form music video of the year (performance) for “The Goodness.” Blessing Offor, a Nigerian-born American singer/songwriter, won a second award, pop/contemporary recorded song of the year for “Brighter Days.”
Pardo won producer of the year for the second year in a row and also won songwriter of the year, non-artist, ending a four-year lock on that award by Jason Ingram.
Ingram did, however, win song of the year for “Goodness of God,” which he co-wrote with Ben Fielding, Ed Cash, Jenn Johnson and Brian Johnson. This marks the third consecutive year that the winning song in that category has been the work of four or more songwriters, which demonstrates that songwriting by collectives of songwriters is a trend in religious music just as it is in secular music.
Elevation Worship won worship album of the year for the second time in three years with LION: Live From the Loft. The band won two years ago for Old Church Basement, a collab with Maverick City Music.
New artist of the year went to Katy Nichole, who was this year’s most-nominated woman with four nods.
Composer, recording artist and choir director Dr. Bobby Jones received the Jackie Patillo Leadership Award. Jones has been a fixture in the gospel music industry since 1976 and was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Wells stirred the audience with an extended speech highlighting the current conflict in Israel saying, “We stand with the people of God and as scripture instructs us, we pray for peace in Jerusalem.”
Guest performers included Jordin Sparks singing “Love Me Like I Am” with for KING + COUNTRY; Pastor Mike Jr. bringing out Ricky Dillard for “Impossible”; and Wells teaming with Davies on “Take It All Back.” Take 6 teamed in performance with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. A segment highlighting the impact of hip hop – something we’ve seen at many awards shows this year, amid the genre’s 50th anniversary – featured Hulvey, Social Club Misfit, GRITS and TobyMac. The latter two acts took the audience back to 2002 for GRITS’ hit “Ooh Aah,” which featured TobyMac.
The 54th Annual GMA Dove Awards were produced by the Gospel Music Association. Jackie Patillo and Justin Fratt served as showrunners and executive producers, alongside Curtis Stoneberger and Paul Wright as producers. Russell E. Hall returned as director, Michael Nolan as scriptwriter, Scott Moore and Go Live Productions as production manager.
An encore performance will air on TBN and The TBN App on Friday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET. To watch the show on demand, go to The TBN App.
Here is a partial list of winners. For a complete list of winners in all categories, visit doveawards.com.
Artist of the year
WINNER: Brandon Lake
for KING + COUNTRY
New artist of the year
WINNER: Katy Nichole
Song of the year
“Build A Boat,” writers: Colton Dixon, Seth Mosley, Johan Lindbrandt, Sandro
Cavazza, Mikey Gormley
“Fear Is Not My Future,” writers: Kirk Franklin, Brandon Lake, Jonathan Jay,
Hannah Shackleford, Nicole Hannel
“God Really Loves Us,” writers: David Crowder, Ben Glover, Jeff Sojka, Dante
WINNER: “Goodness of God,” writers: Ben Fielding, Ed Cash, Jason Ingram, Jenn
Johnson, Brian Johnson
“Gratitude,” writers: Brandon Lake, Ben Hastings, Dante Bowe
“In Jesus Name (God of Possible),” writers: Ethan Hulse, Katy Nichole, David
Andrew Spencer, Jeff Pardo
“Love Me Like I Am,” writers: Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone, Michael
Pollack, Josh Kerr
“Perfectly Loved,” writers: Rachael Lampa, Andrew Ripp,
“Same God,” writers: Brandon Lake, Steven Furtick, Chris Brown, Pat Barrett
“Then Christ Came,” writers: Bart Millard, Phil Wickham, Jason Ingram, David
Songwriter of the year – artist
WINNER: Brandon Lake
Songwriter of the year – non-artist
WINNER: Jeff Pardo
Producer of the year
WINNER: Jeff Pardo
Ben Glover and Jeff Sojka
Pop/contemporary recorded song of the year
WINNER: “Brighter Days” – Blessing Offor
“I’m So Blessed (Best Day Remix)” – CAIN
“Love Me Like I Am” – for KING + COUNTRY ft. Jordin Sparks
“God Is in This Story” – Katy Nichole ft. Big Daddy Weave
“Thank God I Do” – Lauren Daigle
Worship recorded song of the year
WINNER: “Gratitude (Radio Version)” – Brandon Lake
“Honey in the Rock” – Brooke Ligertwood, Brandon Lake
“Holy Forever” – Chris Tomlin
“Fear Is Not My Future (Radio Version)” – Maverick City Music ft. Brandon
Lake, Chandler Moore
“This Is Our God” – Phil Wickham
Bluegrass/country/roots recorded song of the year
“Jordan” – Darin & Brooke Aldridge, ft. Ricky Skaggs, Mo Pitney, Mark Fain
WINNER: “Good Morning Mercy” – Jason Crabb, Dylan Scott
“Matchless” – Tiffany Coburn, ft. Point of Grace
“Way of the Triune God (Hallelujah Version)” – Tyler Childers
“Jesus’ Fault” – Zach Williams, ft. Walker Hayes
Spanish language recorded song of the year
“Guarda Tu Corazón” – Alex Zurdo
“So Good (Cuán Bueno)” – DOE, ft. Lilly Goodman
“Nubes” – Indiomar, ft. Blanca
WINNER: “Coritos (En Vivo)” – Miel San Marcos, Daniel Calveti, Marcos Witt, Ingrid
“Suelto” – Sarai Rivera
Gospel worship recorded song of the year
“One Name (Jesus) [Live]” – Naomi Raine
WINNER: “Impossible” – Pastor Mike Jr., ft. Jame Fortune
“I Still Have You” – Smokie Norful
“The Moment (Live)” – Tasha Cobbs Leonard
“You’ve Been Good to Me” – Zacardi Cortez
Contemporary gospel recorded song of the year
“New Day” – Blanca, ft. Jekalyn Carr
WINNER: “Your World” – Jonathan McReynolds
“Miracles” – Kierra Sheard, ft. Pastor Mike Jr.
“Bless Me” – Maverick City Music, Kirk Franklin
“Get Up” – Tye Tribbett
Pop/contemporary album of the year
My Tribe – Blessing Offor
Jesus Changed My Life – Katy Nichole
Always Only Jesus – MercyMe
WINNER: Life After Death – TobyMac
A Hundred Highways – Zach Williams
Worship album of the year
Come Up Here – Bethel Music
Honest Offering (Live) – CAIN
God Is Good! (Live) – Cody Carnes
WINNER: LION: Live From the Loft – Elevation Worship
Lamb of God – Matt Redman
Southern gospel album of the year
Think About There – Greater Vision
Come on In – Guardians Quartet
John 3:16 – Perrys
WINNER: Believe – The Hoppers
Hymns & Worship – Triumphant Quartet
Contemporary gospel album of the year
My Truth – Jonathan McReynolds
WINNER: Kingdom Book One (Deluxe) – Maverick City Music, Kirk Franklin
Impossible – Pastor Mike Jr.
Overcomer (Deluxe) – Tamela Mann
All Things New – Tye Tribbett
Rap/hip hop album of the year
WINNER: Church Clothes 4 – Lecrae
Sunday in Lagos – Limoblaze
Everyone Loves a Comeback Story – Social Club Misfits
Tree – Steven Malcolm
NEW HOLLYWOOD – WHATUPRG
Gospel Worship Album of the Year
Tent Revival – Forward City/Travis Greene
Closer Than You Think – Jonathan Traylor
Encounter – Todd Galberth
Imprint -Zacardi Cortez?
WINNER: Hymns (Live) – Tasha Cobbs Leonard
Feature film of the year
Big George Foreman
I Heard the Bells
WINNER: Jesus Revolution (Directors) Jon Erwin, Brent McCorkle, (Producers) Kevin Downes, Andrew Erwin, Daryl Lefever, Josh Walsh
Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story