The Gospel Music Association celebrated a half-century of history Tuesday night at the 50th annual GMA Dove Awards, held at Nashville’s Lipscomb University. Through three hours of all-star collaborations, retrospectives, surprising wins and moving speeches, these were some of the night’s most powerful moments.
A one-night only supergroup
a 50th anniversary celebration that demanded grand gestures, nothing
topped this moment — when Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, CeCe
Winans and Amy Grant shared the stage.
The entire arena was on its feet before the quartet sang a note. It was just the four of them, trading off on their Dove-winning songs on acoustic guitars and piano: Chapman’s “The Great Adventure,” Smith’s “Place In This World,” Winan’s “Alabaster Box” and Grant’s “El Shaddai.”
‘Oh snap’: Aaron Cole wins new artist of the year
“Oh snap. Let’s goooooo!”
what a very surprised Cole said after being named new artist of the
year. The Virginia rapper gave the Doves a brilliantly candid speech for
its future highlight reels.
Aaron Cole was named best new artist at the 50th Annual Dove Awards Tuesday in Nashville. (Photo: Larry McCormack / The Tennessean)
Dove Awards: Lauren Daigle earns top honors at 50th annual Christian music show Dove Awards 2019: A complete list of winners “I just wanna thank God, bro. … It’s a lot of hard work, you feel me? This is a lot of doing rap shows, chicken dinners … sleeping on couches. Any artist out there that got a dream, if a boy from Bristol, Virginia — y’all don’t even know where that’s from — can do this, you can do this.”
Lauren Daigle: ‘It’s the people in this room’
Lauren Daigle goes in for a hug with Zack Williams as she accepts artist of the year at the 50th Annual Dove Awards in Nashville on Tuesday. (Photo: Larry McCormack / The Tennessean) She’s Christian music’s biggest crossover star in years, and while accepting her second artist of the year prize on Tuesday, Daigle made sure to give credit to her peers. “It’s the people in this room that have held me up through this journey, the places that I’ve been able to go to, the people that I’ve been able to see. … I’m so incredibly grateful to share this honor with all of you guys,” Daigle said. “Seriously, it means so, so, so much. I love you, and I hope to see you again next year.”
Lecrae and his fellow rappers shake up the room
Rapper Tedashii performs at the Dove Awards Tuesday in Nashville. (Photo: Larry McCormack / The Tennessean)
to really drive home how far Christian music has come in 50 years, this
triple threat of rap acts threw in vintage, stodgy footage of the very
first, very tame Dove Awards at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis back in
1969 — before a blast of bass rattled every seat (and eyeball) in the
Producer-turned solo star GAWVI and Texas
mainstay Tedashii each held their own, but the royal welcome was saved
for Christian rap’s biggest star — Lecrae — who became the first rapper
to win the Dove for artist of the year in 2015.
Bill Gaither, still singing (and winning) 50 years later Gaither was named songwriter of the year at the very first Dove Awards in 1969. On Tuesday, the 83-year-old Southern Gospel great was still on its stage, singing “He Touched Me” and “Because He Lives” with his Gaither Vocal Band. It turned into an all-star medley, with Mark Lowry, David Phelps, Michael English, Bart Millard, Matt Maher and Russ Taff all lending their pipes.
Gospel artist of the year Gaither Vocal Band at the Gospel Music
Association 50th Annual Dove Awards in Nashville on Tuesday. (Photo: Larry McCormack / The Tennessean)
performance was introduced by Gaither’s wife and co-writer, Gloria
Gaither, who recalled their trip to the first Doves ceremony.
“We’ve written hundreds of songs since then, and it gives me so much satisfaction to know that some of those have stuck to the wall, and are still ministering to believers across the country,” she said. A few minutes later, the band was back onstage, accepting the award for Southern Gospel artist of the year.
“At this stage in my life, to do what I do, and have the kind of fun that I’m having, I ought to go out and buy a ticket,” Bill Gaither said.
Hands were raised high for “Living Hope,” a stirring worship anthem released last year by contemporary star Phil Wickham. He wrote the song with Brian Johnson, who joined him on stage along with the Bethel Music Band. Their soaring rendition earned a standing ovation, and high praise from the next presenter: Pat Boone.
Three generations of gospel greatness
Shirley Caesar, Jakalyn Carr and Dorinda Clark-Cole perform at the 50th Annual Dove Awards on Tuesday in Nashville. (Photo: Larry McCormack / The Tennessean)
Music Hall of Famer Pastor Shirley Caesar and Dorinda Clark Cole of the
legendary Clark Sisters joined forces with 22-year-old
powerhouse Jekalyn Carr.
Backed by a powerful band and choir, they belted out a medley of gospel classics: “Soon and Very Soon,” The Staples Singers’ “I’ll Take You There,” and the enduring “Oh Happy Day.”
Kirk Franklin praises the next generation
“We call him the GOAT,” Anthony Brown said as he announced Franklin had won gospel artist of the year.
The superstar recognized he was the veteran in the category this year, and made a point to salute his fellow nominees, including Jekalyn Carr, Koryn Hawthorne, Tasha Cobbs Leonard and Travis Greene.
Kirk Franklin performs at the 50th Annual Dove Awards Tuesday in Nashville. (Photo: Larry McCormack / The Tennessean)
“You young artists are breathing so much new life into this genre, I want to let you know that it is an honor to be able to hold open the door, and let you run in,” Franklin said.
A native of Texas, Franklin also brought up Atatiana Jefferson. The 28-year-old was shot and killed in her home by a Fort Worth police officer, who has now been charged with murder. “I’m just asking that we send up prayers for her family, and for his,” Franklin said.