While being awarded any Dove Award is a major honor, New Artist of the Year is a category that stands out. A way of recognizing the remarkable talent new artists bring into the beginning of their careers and a bold way of saying that the industry believes there's a bright future ahead for that artist, this award has been held by some of the best in the business and has provided a jumpstart for many mainstays over the years.
Inspired by a few 2017 releases from past winners who are celebrating current milestones in their career, we've put together a list of the New Artist of the Year winners from 1997-2007 to catch you up on where they are now. While some are no longer actively making music (1998's Avalon, 1999's Jennifer Knapp, 2001's Plus One, 2002's ZoeGirl and 2003's Paul Coleman Trio), the majority are still at the forefront of CCM, proving this award is one that indicates the potential for lasting greatness-- even ten and twenty years down the road.
1997: Jaci Velasquez
Debuting her first album at only 16 years old, Jaci Velasquez has now spent over half her life making music for the world to enjoy. The GRAMMY-nominated, multi-platinum-selling recording artist and actress has 17 studio albums in her discography to date, including several Spanish-language releases and even a lullaby record. With countless awards and radio hits in her 20+ year career, Jaci is still going strong with her newest release, Trust. Trust marks Jaci's first worship album and her first simultaneous English/Spanish (Confio) release. Accompanying the release of her first full-length album in over five years is the Trust Tour, her first major tour in seven years, set to feature a full band and hit cities throughout the U.S. and Latin America.
2000: Ginny Owens
With more than a million albums sold in her nearly two-decade career, it's clear that songwriter/vocalist Ginny Owens is doing something right. Hit single "If You Want Me To" saw her off to a great start in 1999 as her music and story began to impact the hearts of many early on. Now her latest project, Love Be The Loudest, takes on a more pop-focused style than we've ever heard from her while still centering on the worship roots and vulnerable songwriting that has set Ginny apart since the beginning.
2004: Jeremy Camp
Few artists have a story as heartbreaking and yet redemptive as Jeremy Camp. An ordained minister and recording artist with a phenomenal list of accolades behind him, Jeremy's career began to take off as he touched the hearts of thousands with honest and emotionally moving songs ("I Still Believe" and "Walk By Faith") born out of his first wife's death. Over the course of the next decade, Jeremy has continued to encourage fans with music that echoes the promises God made real to him through the loss and grief he experienced in that season. His most recent release, 2015's I Will Follow, stays in that same vein with songs that uplift and inspire listeners throughout the whole record.
2005: Building 429
When thinking about high-energy live shows, it won't take long for Building 429 to enter the conversation. With their debut album in 2000 and hit single "Glory Defined" making waves at radio, the band began to make a name for themselves as they took home the Dove Award for New Artist of the Year in 2005. Since then, anthems like "We Won't Be Shaken" and "Where I Belong" have brought fresh life to their career as each album takes them into a new chapter. The latest of those chapters, Unashamed, sees the band step into a place of fun pop styling as their heartfelt songwriting stays the same as ever.
2006: The Afters
Another group that began around 2000 and finally saw their hard work pay off years down the road, The Afters have had hit songs such as "Never Going Back To OK," "Light Up The Sky" and "Every Good Thing." The band, originally formed by four Starbucks employees, has five studio albums under their belt, including the most recent Live On Forever which spawned the singles "Battles" and "Live On Forever." Also Dove Award winners for Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year and Short Form Video of the Year, The Afters were awarded New Artist of the Year in 2006.
2007: Aaron Shust
An artist with a true passion for worship, Aaron Shust has been pouring his heart into life-changing music for over a decade now. Breakout single "My Savior My God" exploded at radio and quickly made Aaron an artist to watch with his songwriting skills and vocal power as he won for New Artist, Song of the Year and Songwriter of the Year at the 2007 Doves. He has continued to deliver songs of equal depth and power each year since, all leading up to recent release Love Made A Way, his first live record. The new project revisits his previous hits and also introduces us to new songs that invite listeners into impactful times of worship.
Caitlin Lassiter is a North Carolina girl that loves Jesus, music, concerts, writing, C.S. Lewis, and sweet tea... She's also a worship leader dreaming of traveling the world to share God's love.
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