Earlier this week, we took at look at the Male Vocalist of the Year category for the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards. It’s now time to shine the spotlight on the ladies of Christian music. Every year, this is a consistently tough category. With the Male Vocalist category there aren’t enough spots to adequately honor the talent that comes from the male-dominated genre. With Female Vocalist, it’s quite the opposite. The females are few and far between in Christian music. However, this year’s list is a combination of some old favorites and some new up-and-comers.
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
- Audrey Assad
- Francesca Battistelli
- Natalie Grant
- Britt Nicole
- Janet Paschal
- Kerrie Roberts
- Laura Story
To see Britt Nicole’s name on the final nominee list for Female Vocalist of the Year is both refreshing and a long time coming. Britt is as genuine as they come, and her mix of colorful, fun hooks combined with straightforward Christ-focused lyrics is finally getting the attention it deserves. Britt’s second album, The Lost Get Found (Sparrow), caused a few radio programmers and new fans to take notice. The title track, along with “Walk On the Water,” became No. 1 hits and have allowed Britt a fine run at radio this past year. While she doesn’t quite have the strong fan base that Franny does, Britt is definitely one to watch and a reminder that we need more female heavy-hitters like her committed to sharing the Gospel through song in a relevant way.
Francesca walked away with this award for the first time last year ending Natalie Grant’s Female Vocalist streak. Once again, Battistelli will no doubt repeat the win this year. She had an unprecedented ride this year, thanks to the continued longevity of her debut release as single after single from My Paper Heart (Fervent) soared to the top of the charts. The popularity of “Beautiful, Beautiful” allowed the singer/songwriter to not lose any momentum as she took time off to have her first child and record her second album, Hundred More Years (Fervent). The new album’s first single, “This Is The Stuff,” is already a No. 1 hit. By the end of Wednesday night’s ceremony, the songstress will easily have another trophy to add to her growing collection.
In an industry void of female talent, it was hard to determine who was “missing” in this category. Amy Grant is a perennial nominee in this category–some year’s only because there’s such a huge lack of females. However, even though Grant saw some success this year with “Better Than a Hallelujah,” it would actually be nice to see worship better represented in this category. Aside from Laura Story (who incidentally didn’t even release a new album in the eligibility period), there’s a lack of straightforward female worship artists. Though nominated in a few other minor Dove categories, Meredith Andrews is an oft-overlooked talent. Her knack for writing poignant vertically-slanted lyrics is matched only by the incredible strength of her voice. She’s definitely underrated, and her sophomore album, As Long As It Takes (Word), ranks right up there with Nicole and Battistelli in terms of quality and vocal prowess. Brooke Fraser and Jenny Simmons (Addison Road) could easily fit in with the other nominees in this category as well.
You can check out a full list of nominees for the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards here.
Who do you think will win the Dove for Female Vocalist of the Year? What artist do you think should have been nominated who wasn’t? Leave your comments below.