The show has ended, and the artist of the year has made it over to the press room. And here he is, all smiles… Jason Crabb:
The 2011 Dove Award Male Vocalist nominees form a diverse list representing everything from Southern Gospel and Black Gospel to R&B, pop and worship. Baritone Doug Anderson’s nomination also reminds us that the category is not limited to solo artists. Anderson is a part of Southern Gospel quartet Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. A member of a group can be nominated if eligible, which then shines a spotlight on others who could have just as easily been nominated (i.e. Mac Powell, Bart Millard, Mark Hall, Bear Rinehart, Mike Donehey, etc.). Nevertheless, solo artists dominate the category this year. Let’s take a look at who’s up for Male Vocalist of the Year.
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
- Doug Anderson
- Chris August
- Jason Crabb
- Brandon Heath
- Israel Houghton
- Marvin Sapp
- Chris Tomlin
Last year, Tomlin was noticeably absent from many of the major categories. This was largely due, in part, to the fact that he was working on a new album. Following the release of And If Our God Is For Us… (sixsteps)–which just missed the eligibility period–a mega hit song with “Our God,” and a current radio single in heavy rotation (“I Will Follow”) fresh on the minds of voters, Tomlin is poised to take home this trophy. His latest studio release is one of his best yet; he continues to tirelessly tour both domestically and abroad; and the sheer popularity of the Passion single should be enough to propel him to the forefront of this category. Tomlin is a multiple Male Vocalist winner. However, competition is stiff with reigning Male Vocalist Brandon Heath and immensely popular newcomer Chris August right on his heels.
The talented singer/songwriter will no doubt go for a three-peat, winning his third consecutive Dove in this category. So why will Heath walk away with the trophy again? First off, he’s just plain likable. He’s beloved by fans and industry critics alike. Although Leaving Eden (Reunion) released too late to be eligible for this year’s awards, the success of “Your Love,” the first single from Heath’s third album which stayed at No. 1 for eight weeks running, will give him the extra momentum he needs to snag this Dove. And no one will begrudge him the award. He is fast becoming a leader in the industry and is extremely well-respected by his peers. (However, fans should keep their eye on Chris August. This year, Heath will win out of seniority, but next year August might give the three-time winner a run for his money.)
The list of those who are MIA in this category is actually a long one. Most notably, Jeremy Camp’s name is nowhere to be found. Camp released a critically-acclaimed worship project this year, garnering a radio hit with “Jesus Saves” and toured the country extensively. He’s consistently a fan favorite, yet he somehow got overlooked on this year’s ballot.
One of the biggest misses of the whole event is overlooking the incredibly talented Matthew West. He is without a doubt one of the most underrated artists in Christian music. He’s nominated for Short-form Video of the Year, but there is no reason West shouldn’t be a major nominee in this category as well as a contender in the Songwriter of the Year category. He released a landmark album this year with The Story of Your Life (Sparrow), which has to be one of the most compelling and creative undertakings the industry has seen in recent years. West is a leader in his own right. Fans of the singer/songwriter know it to be true, so it’s a shame that the nominations don’t bear witness to this fact.
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 Male Vocalist of the Year? What artist do you think should have been nominated who wasn’t? Leave your comments below.
Christian music fans have been buzzing since nominees for the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards were announced last month. Doves will be handed out to nominees in 43 categories on April 20 at the historic Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Ga. The television broadcast will then air Easter Sunday on gmc. The nominees on this year’s ballot are perhaps among some of the most diverse. TobyMac and Chris Tomlin lead the nominations this year with six each, with Jason Crabb and Francesca Battistelli not far behind them with an abundance of nominations.
Each week, from now up until the awards, we will take a look at the nominees in one of six major categories. We’ll tell you who we think should win, who will win, who is strangely absent and who really should have been nominated. We hope you’ll join us on this road to the Dove Awards and that you will add your own two cents…
So without further ado, we’ll start with the BIGGEST category of the evening: Artist of the Year.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
- Francesca Battistelli
- Jason Crabb
- Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
- Natalie Grant
- Marvin Sapp
- Chris Tomlin
There are several ways to look at this category, and it all comes down to how you define “Artist of the Year.” tobyMac won this honor back in 2009, and he epitomizes “Artist of the Year” for 2011. He kickstarted 2010 with the release of Tonight (ForeFront), his biggest solo project to date. It released too late to be considered for nominations in last year’s awards, though “City On Our Knees” did receive some nods. Per his usual agenda, toby toured relentlessly creating some of the year’s most memorable collaborative experiences as he headlined tours alongside A-level acts such as Chris Tomlin, Skillet, Brandon Heath, Third Day and Michael W. Smith, among others. In addition, he’s spent a good part of the year mentoring other up-and-coming artists on his own Gotee Records. Chris Tomlin comes a close second for this category, though his record released too late in the voting game to give him as much traction as toby.
Although it’s my personal opinion that the Artist of the Year honor should be reserved for artists who are further into their careers and have some musical history from which to draw from, Francesca Battistelli has the full force of Word Entertainment behind her. And A LOT of enthusiastic fans! She’s had a great year at radio even though her debut released over two years ago. Her brand-new album, Hundred More Years (Fervent), debuted at No. 1 on the Christian Soundscan charts earlier this month just as her first single from the album, “This Is The Stuff,” hit No. 1 at radio. The buzz surrounding Ms. Battistelli’s new album could be just enough to slide her over the hump and land her into the winner’s circle for this one. With a total of four nominations, this could be Ms. Battistelli’s year at the Doves.
WHO’S MISSING: CASTING CROWNS
Last year’s first time Artist of the Year winner is oddly missing from this category. For that matter, the categories are strangely void of Crowns this year altogether. Although they only released a live CD/DVD combo this year, it’s odd considering they are one of the best-selling acts in Christian music (and have been for years).
You can check out a full list of nominees for the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards here. Artist of the Year is one of two categories this year where fans can vote! Cast your vote at www.watchgmctv.com/fanvote.
Who do you think will win Artist of the Year? Who do you think should have been nominated that wasn’t? Leave your comments below.