Backstage at the 2007 Dove Awards

Backstage at the 2007 Dove Awards
I went to the Dove Awards, which was held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, all ready to talk to some of my favorite artists and hang out with a few good friends. I had been running around and having fun with Francina Norman, host of Francina and Friends, a new Christian talk show, all week for GMA (GMA Interviews to come...)and now she and I was ready to chill and watch one of the biggest nights in Christian music unfold.

Francina and I made it to the newsroom in plenty of time and begin to watch the pre-show. This is the show where all awards that will not be aired during the program are presented. Several wonderful artists received special awards but one artist that really struck me was 16 year old Spanish sensation Alejandra, whose album "Si Alguna Vez", took home top honors for Best Spanish Language Album. She stated that she attended the event even though her father was very ill. At just 16 years old she was poised and clearly deserved the win.

Now let's get on with the show. It opened up with a show-stopping performance by Kirk Franklin, Mandisa and TobyMac singing the tune "Loose My Soul". The host for the evening was Donnie McClurkin, Natalie Grant and newcomer Brian Littrell.

Last year's golden boy Chris Tomlin went home again with six Dove Awards, one more trophy than he received last year. Tomlin’s six Dove Awards included Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year, two honors he received for the second year in a row. “Holy Is The Lord,” a song he co-wrote with Louie Giglio earned him another trophy as did his involvement in the Special Event Album of the Year, Passion: Everything Glorious. His most current CD release, See the Morning accounted for two more awards, as it was honored as both the Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year and Praise & Worship Album of the Year.

Newcomer Aaron Shust was also a major honoree with three Doves. Shust marks his Dove Awards debut with three of the evening’s most prestigious honors, including Songwriter and New Artist of the Year. He also was honored for writing “My Savior My God,” which was named Song of the Year.

“Chris Tomlin and Aaron Shust deserve their moment to rejoice in the recognition their community has bestowed on them with their multiple Dove Awards and it is evident they will be impacting gospel and Christian music for some time to come,” said John W. Styll, president and CEO of the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and executive producer of the GMA Dove Awards in a recent press release.

Along with Tomlin and Shust more than 30 artists received Dove Awards including; Alan Jackson, Jars of Clay, Amy Grant, Andraé Crouch, Kirk Franklin, Casting Crowns, The Crabb Family, The Oak Ridge Boys, Lewis Family and even Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber from Veggie Tales. Earlier singer Richard Smallwood, publisher, John T Benson II, inspirational artist Doug Oldham and Southern Gospel favorites, The Hinsons were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Tyler Perry also received a special award for Outstanding Mainstream Contribution to Gospel Music.

I got a chance to talk to Jonathan Butler about his new gospel album "Brand New Day" set to release this July. He stated that he was truly inspired by God to write the songs for it. "I hear from God often in just my everyday activities and I use that to inspire me to write. It's not me at all it is really a gift from God." said Butler. He also stated that he was very excited about performing with the Crabb Family. "I have loved their music for a while and it is an honor to perform with them tonight."

The show was packed full of awesome performances. There were fifteen music performances featuring 25 different artists including the evenings’ top Dove recipients Chris Tomlin and Aaron Shust, along with TobyMac, Mandisa, Kirk Franklin, Take 6, the Caravans, The Crabb Family with Jonathan Butler, MercyMe, Stellar Kart, Kirk Whalum, Brian Littrell, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mac Powell (of Third Day), Mark Hall (of Casting Crowns), and others.

The night concluded with a wonderful after party held at Rocketown. John Reuben, Family Force Five, KJ-52 and others performed. The music was great and the food was wonderful. The Gospel Music Association and all of their team really know how to put on an event. I really enjoyed myself and I'm looking forward to next year.

The 38th Annual Dove Awards will be syndicated by Central City Productions/Timeless International which also produces and syndicates the Stellar Awards. Broadcast affiliates in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Atlanta, New Orleans and Nashville are among the more than 120 television stations, that have already cleared the GMA Dove Awards for the 2007 broadcast. For a list of broadcast time and days, a list of all winners and photos of the event click here. The Doves Awards Check out my slide show below! All pictures provided by Nicolle Whalen, of NHizWill Productions, LLC,

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