There's been some online discussion about the best of 2012 already, especially as the nomination period for the 2013 Dove Awards comes to a close. The eligibility period for the Gospel Music Association's 2012 awards is from Nov. 1, 2011-Oct. 31, 2012.
The following are my nominations and selections for the 2013 Dove Awards. This has truly been another great year for Christian music and for many of these awards it will be hard to pick the winner.
Best Female Vocalist
Should be Francesca Battistelli, Audrey Assad, Tiffany Arbuckle Lee (Plumb), Britt Nicole and Kari Jobe.
My selection is Francesca Battistelli for her strong vocals on her hit song "Angel By Your Side." Francesca's first album was certified Gold (with My Paper Heart selling over 500,000 units). She also released a fantastic Christmas album.
Best Male Vocalist
Should be Brandon Heath, Matthew West, Jason Gray, Mike Donehey (Tenth Avenue North) and Chris August.
My selection is Chris August for his excellent sophomore album--The Upside of Down, one of the year's best--featuring the hit single "Center of It."
Best New Artist
Should be for KING & COUNTRY, Moriah Peters, Lindsay McCaul, Rhett Walker Band, Bellarive and An Epic, No Less.
I also really like the new female singers Holly Spears and Karyn Williams. My selection is For KING & COUNTRY, who released my top album by a new artist this year and for their back to back hit songs, "Busted Heart" and "The Proof of Your Love." Big year for new artists and there's tough competition, as always, in this great category.
Should be NEEDTOBREATHE, MercyMe, Big Daddy Weave, Sidewalk Prophets, Kutless and Tenth Avenue North.
My selection is NEEDTOBREATHE, who released the best overall album by a group in 2011. They will have won the award three years in a row. The newest hit song "Keep Your Eyes Open," boosts their stock. If you haven't jumped on their bandwagon yet, it's time to "wake on up from your slumber, baby open up your eyes."
Should be Matthew West, Tenth Avenue North, Kari Jobe, Big Daddy Weave and Matt Redman.
My selection is Matt Redman. His recent number one hit song, "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)," has topped the charts most of the year and he deserves this award for his beautiful and moving song, which really excites me as a worshipper. Musically, it is my favorite song on his great new album.
Worship Song of the Year
Should be "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)" by Matt Redman, "Carry Me To The Cross" by Kutless, "The Same Love" by Paul Baloche, "The Kingdom" by Starfield, "Second Chance" by Rend Collective Experiment, "The Altar" by Tricia Brock, "Wake Up" by All Sons and Daughters, "Not For A Moment (After All)" by Meredith Andrews and "Hope Of The World" by Hillsong LIVE.
My selection is "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)" by Matt Redman. I would love to sing this song with fellow believers as the song has great energy and reminds me of "I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever" by Delirious as Matt and the congregation declares in unity, "Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, Oh my soul worship His Holy Name, Sing like never before, Oh my soul, I'll worship Your Holy Name."
Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year
Should be "Redeemed" by Big Daddy Weave, "Forgiveness" by Matthew West, "Live Like That" by Sidewalk Prophets, "Jesus In Disguise" by Brandon Heath, "If I Ever Needed Grace" by Jimmy Needham, "Good To Be Alive" by Jason Gray and "All This Time" by Britt Nicole.
My selection is "Redeemed" by Big Daddy Weave. "Redeemed" is a personal testimony to the power of redemption. The song has quickly become one of my daily devotional prayers of thankfulness to God for showing me grace and forgiveness in spite of my failures. We serve a loving and merciful God who accepts us as we are, not who we pretend to be. Amen to that!
Rock/Contemporary Song of the Year
Should be "Need You Now (How Many Times)" by Plumb, "After All (Holy)" by David Crowder*Band, "The Hurt & The Healer" by MercyMe, "Me Without You" by TobyMac, "Learning To Be The Light" by NewWorldSon, "The Proof of Your Love" by for KING & COUNTRY, "Losing" by Tenth Avenue North, and "Keep Your Eyes Open" by NEEDTOBREATHE.
My selection is "Learning To Be The Light" by NewWorldSon. NewWorldSon's new album Rebel Transmission is loaded with biblical Truth, especially hit song "Learning to Be the Light." There is a great music video showing the band "letting their light shine like a City on a Hill" as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 5:14-16. The song features some of my favorite lyrics ever in the profound second verse, "when a heart is cold as ice, you can't melt it with advice, no one wants to listen to a list of things they shouldn't do, so I build a city on a hill, and I light a candle on the hill, knowing that You'll always be knocking at the door, Oh God I just want to love on everyone, All I have is Yours to give so let the people come." Yes, that's what we're commanded by God, and the song entertains and challenges me to think about how well I'm "learning to be the light."
Song of the Year
Should be "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)" by Matt Redman, "Need You Now (How Many Times)" by Plumb, "Redeemed" by Big Daddy Weave, "Learning To Be The Light" by NewWorldSon, "Forgiveness" by Matthew West, "The Proof of Your Love" by for KING & COUNTRY, "Live Like That" by Sidewalk Prophets, "The Hurt & The Healer" by MercyMe, "Jesus In Disguise" by Brandon Heath, "Losing" by Tenth Avenue North and "Keep Your Eyes Open" by NEEDTOBREATHE.
"Forgiveness" by Matthew West is my selection for Song of the Year. The song chronicles a mother dealing with the death of her daughter at the hands of a drunk driver. The song displays how much God wants us to dispose our hearts to forgive each other. This is not enough, we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. Let us seek more and more for the renewing grace of God, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from Him. As the song beautifully states, "I want to finally set it free, So show me how to see what Your mercy sees, Help me now to give what You gave to me, Forgiveness, Forgiveness." Amen to that!