The 44th annual Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Awards celebrated on Tuesday a powerful year in Gospel and Christian music with spirit-moving performances, special tributes and awards in 42 categories.
"We all run the race and it's tough, so we need a night of encouragement," said co-host Grammy Award-winning artist Amy Grant while kicking off the 44th Annual GMA Doveawards, according to the event's news release.
Veteran rapper TobyMac was named "Artist of the Year" and King & Country was "New Artist of the Year" as hosts Amy Grant and Kirk Franklin presented the awards to top artists in 42 categories at the Lipscomb University's Allen Arena on October 15th.
"It feels weird to be called artist of the year when I know it takes a family and I always want to acknowledge that," said TobyMac, according to Dove's statement. "I said in one of my songs a long time ago, I'm just a little man trying to fit in God's plan. I still feel like that."
On his Facebook page, TobyMac wrote, "Writing songs that connect with people's lives is my heart. I always want to push musical boundaries but a song offering someone hope or understanding in struggle is my creative bulls eye. I am honored to be called 'Artist of the Year' and can only hope that it's an indication that my songs are hitting that mark."
That day was truly a celebration where the nation's leading pastors including Joyce Meyer and Rick Warren came to congratulate and present the awards to the winning artists.
The winners for the "Song of the Year" went to English singer-songwriter Matt Redman for his song "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord), for the "Pop Contemporary Album" went to TobyMac's "Eye on It", for "Rap/Hip Pop Album" went to Lecrae's "Gravity," for "Southern Gospel Performances" went to Jason Crabb's "What The Blood is For," for "Gospel Performance" went to Tasha Cobbs for her "Break Every Chain," for "Praise and Worship Album" went to Chris Tomlin's "Burning Lights."
Among the 42 Dove award category winners, Redman led in 6 award categories, TobyMac and Jason Crabb follow with 4, Tasha Cobb and producer Wayne Haun received 3 each. And Chris Tomlin, Tamela Mann and Lecrae each received 2 awards.
Moreover, UP, formerly GMC TV, surprised Mandisa by presenting her with their "Uplift Someone" award, which recognizes "her music, message, and humanitarian heart, all of which (individually and collectively) have inspired others."
One of the highlights that night featured a moving tribute by Michael W. Smith and the Newboys to evangelist Billy Graham. In addition, vocalists Karen Peck, Daily & Vincent, Signature Sound and the Isaacs honored the Gaither Vocal Band in a collaboration of "He Touched Me."
Of the 42 awards presented, over 30 were presented at the Dove Preshow Ceremony, which was live streamed and recorded at www.hearitfirst.com/live.
Up Network will televise the Dove Awards Show on Monday, October 21st at 8 p.m. ET.