GMA Dove Award

GMA Dove Award
Dove Award

The Dove awards are named for the trophy: a small, gilded dove statuette.
Awarded for Outstanding achievements in the Christian music industry
Presented by Gospel Music Association
Country United States
First awarded 1969
Official website

The Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Awards are presented annually by the Gospel Music Association for outstanding achievements in the Christian music industry. The awards are usually presented during a ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee, that features performances by a number of the industry's newest and most successful artists. From 2004-2006, they were officially called the GMA Music Awards, but have since returned to the better known title of Dove Awards.

The awards were established in 1969, and represent a wide variety of musical styles, including metal, pop, rock, rap & hip hop, country, gospel, and praise & worship.

The 42nd GMA Dove Awards took place on April 20, 2011 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. It will be broadcast on gmc.[1]


Date and location

The GMA Dove Awards awards were originally held in September, during the National Quartet Convention. They were not held in 1979 (except for the GMA Hall of Fame) as they were moved to April 1980, for Gospel Music Week, where they've been held annually since. The only exception was the 1999 awards, which were moved to late March.

The first two awards ceremonies (1969 and 1970) were held in Memphis, Tennessee, but were then moved to Nashville, where they've been held until 2010. A GMA press release revealed that the 42nd Dove Awards will be held in Atlanta's historic Fox Theatre on April 20, 2011.[2] This will be the first time the awards have ever been presented outside of Tennessee.[2]

The 2012 Dove Awards will be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


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The 2008 Awards included:

  • Song of the Year
  • Songwriter of the Year
  • Male Vocalist of the Year
  • Female Vocalist of the Year
  • Group of the Year
  • Artist of the Year
  • New Artist of the Year
  • Producer of the Year
  • Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year
  • Rock Recorded Song of the Year
  • Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year
  • Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year
  • Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year
  • Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year
  • Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year
  • Country Recorded Song of the Year
  • Urban Recorded Song of the Year
  • Traditional Gospel Recorded Song of the Year
  • Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song of the Year
  • Worship Song of the Year
  • Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year
  • Rock Album of the Year
  • Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year
  • Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year
  • Inspirational Album of the Year
  • Southern Gospel Album of the Year
  • Bluegrass Album of the Year
  • Country Album of the Year
  • Urban Album of the Year
  • Traditional Gospel Album of the Year
  • Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year
  • Instrumental Album of the Year
  • Children's Music Album of the Year
  • Spanish Language Album of the Year
  • Special Event Album of the Year
  • Christmas Album of the Year
  • Praise & Worship Album of the Year
  • Musical of the Year
  • Youth/Children's Musical of the Year
  • Choral Collection of the Year
  • Recorded Music Packaging of the Year
  • Short Form Music Video of the Year
  • Long Form Music Video of the Year

Issues and criticisms

Some critics argue that the GMA Dove Award voters tend to be musically conservative and biased in favor of traditional gospel and pop artists over other genres. Another common criticism is that most GMA Dove Awards tend to go to either well-established acts that receive heavy radio airplay, or those that fall into the aforementioned categories. Evidence for such claims includes the fact that Steven Curtis Chapman won the "Songwriter of the Year" award 9 out of 10 years and "Male Vocalist of the Year" 7 of 12 years, with some of those wins coming in years when he released no new material (however, these often include years when he had multiple hit singles as well as years where he co-wrote songs with other artists).

Since the voters are all GMA members and usually work in the industry, critics charge they would more than likely tend to vote for whichever bands have the most "buzz" at the moment or are associated with their area of the industry, as with most award voterships. Supporters of the GMA contend that this is likely less prevalent than in secular awards due to Christians placing a high value on ethical behavior. However, once in a while the GMA would hand out an award that would suggest otherwise, such as the year Inspirational singer Carman won an award for Rap Song of the Year for a novelty song called "R.I.O.T"

The 1971 voting scandal

An indication that gospel music was fast approaching professionalism was a bona fide scandal over the 1971 GMA's Dove Awards. The incident involved one of gospel music's premier groups, the Blackwood Brothers, who had captured nine out of fourteen awards. They were accused of having conducted an extensive campaign to enlist new members to the GMA and to encourage members to vote for particular award nominees in the Dove Award balloting. Though no specific bylaw of the organization had been broken, the tactic created an industrywide concern over "voting irregularities and ethical ballot influence and solicitation." The GMA Board voted to nullify the entire process, thereby invalidating all the awards, except for the GMA Hall of Fame inductees, that had been presented at the October 8, 1971 banquet held in Nashville, in which the Gospel Music Association formed a committee to adjust the voting process with "safeguards to prevent any future irregularities in Dove Awards balloting." James Blackwood issued a statement in support of the organization's decision and strongly urged all other participants in the Dove Awards to subscribe and adhere to the code of ethics to be set forth by the Gospel Music Association.

The Michael English scandal

Shortly after the 1994 show, Male Vocalist winner Michael English admitted to an extramarital affair with Marabeth Jordon, a member of former Group winner First Call. Although English returned his awards to the GMA after news of his affair became public the week following the awards presentation, the GMA declined to reissue his awards to another winner. English's name remained on the winner's list against his stated wishes.

Definition of gospel music

In 1998, due to controversy caused by two popular singles by Amy Grant and Sixpence None the Richer, the GMA published a new definition of gospel music.[3] According to the definition, to be considered eligible for the Dove Awards, gospel music must have lyrics that are:

  • Substantially based upon historically orthodox Christian truth contained in or derived from the Holy Bible
  • An expression of worship of God or praise for His works; and /or
  • Testimony of relationship with God through Christ; and/or
  • Obviously prompted and informed by a Christian world view.
Gospel Music Association, press release[4]

Prior to the definition, the only qualified music was that sold in Christian Booksellers Association affiliated stores.[5] The new standards resulted in complaints by some fans and artists after thirteen entries were disqualified as being too secular in the 1999 Dove Awards.[citation needed]

The rules were rescinded afterwards, and many groups disqualified by the rulings in 1999 were winners in 2000.[citation needed]

The controversy grew in 2004 when Switchfoot and Stacie Orrico were major winners with music that was predominantly secular in nature.[citation needed] Switchfoot also drew criticism with an endorsement contract with Budweiser beer. Some[who?] considered the Budweiser deal inappropriate for artists nominated for a GMA Dove Award.[citation needed]

This controversy continued in 2006, as top pop artists who are not in the genre won major awards, as Carrie Underwood and Brian Littrell were major GMA Dove Award winners. Also, rumors were circulating about the possible nomination of Kanye West's rap track "Jesus Walks"; this song was not nominated due to the illicit content of the song and the record.[citation needed]

The 2004 television non-broadcast

In 2004, a major fiasco occurred with the GMA Music Awards (the first year with the name change), with a taped broadcast that never aired. The GMA contracted to screen the awards live in selected Regal Cinema multiplexes, with United Paramount Network to broadcast taped coverage five weeks later. However, when GMAMA co-host Deion Sanders announced on May 15, 2004 that he was leaving Viacom's The NFL Today, intending to join ESPN's NFL Countdown, UPN cancelled the broadcast of the awards.

The GMA Music Awards coverage did not air for eight months, finally broadcast in late December 2004 on Pax (now Ion Television).

Charles Humbard, the son of the late pastor Rex, and his Gospel Music Channel signed an agreement in 2008 to air the Dove Awards live, making it the first Dove Awards television broadcast in four years.[6] However, after two years, the awards were not broadcast live in 2010, owing to changes in the channel's change to airing mostly television reruns.

See also



External links

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