Dove Nominees Announced

Jan 17, 2003 11:19 AM EST

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The nominees for the 34th annual Dove Awards were announced on January 14. The Awards, presented under the Gospel Music Association, is scheduled for April 10 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville Tn.

The nominations, also held at the Gaylord Entertainment Center, proved Toby McKeehan and Michael W. Smith field favorites with each artist receiving nine nominations apiece.

Smith's latest album, "Worship Again," certified platinum for sales in excess of million copies have once again "struck a nerve" with the GMA.

"When you've been doing this for 20 years and you're still getting nominations for artist of the year, never in your imagination did you think that would happen," Smith said.

Smith is nominated in the male vocalist, artist, inspirational recorded song, praise & worship album, short form video and long form video categories.

Known for years as a member of Christian hip-hop music group dc talk, Toby McKeehan finds himself standing apart from his band mates this year. His 2001 solo debut, "Momentum," was released under his tobyMac alias, and it garnered the bulk of his 2003 Dove nominations.

The runners up at included Kirk Franklin with eight nominations, Nichole Nordeman and Bebo Norman, each with seven nominations, and Third Day with five nominations.

The songwriter of the year category nominees will not be announced until the April 10 at the Awards. Last year's songwriting winner, Bart Millard of MercyMe, said the awards show is a well-intentioned showcase of Christian talent and a slightly uncomfortable exercise in "me, me, me."

"It's natural as a minister and as a Christian to not get caught up with all this," said Millard, a Southern Baptist youth minister. "We're saying, 'It's not about us,' but here we are, holding trophies. On the other hand, I've always been a Christian music fan, and to hear our band nominated with these other artists is an honor."

Following are nominees from major categories of the 34th Annual Dove Awards:

-- Artist: Steven Curtis Chapman, tobyMac, MercyMe, Michael W. Smith, Third Day.

-- Male Vocalist: Steven Curtis Chapman, Bebo Norman, Mac Powell, Mark Schultz, Michael W. Smith.

-- Female Vocalist: Natalie Grant, Nicole C. Mullen, Nichole Nordeman, Rebecca St. James, Joy Williams.

-- Group: Audio Adrenaline, MercyMe, Selah, Sixpence None The Richer, Third Day.

-- New Artist: Big Daddy Weave, Daily Planet, Jeff Deyo, Paul Colman Trio, Souljahz, The Rock 'n' Roll Worship Circus.

-- Producer: Brown Bannister, Steve Hindalong, Monroe Jones, Nathan Nockels, Charlie Peacock.

-- Song: Above All, Back In His Arms Again, Breathe, Come Unto Me, Great Light Of The World, Here I Am To Worship, Holy, Ocean Floor, Spoken For, Yes, I Believe, Youth Of The Nation.

By Pauline C.