Rock band Skillet led all artists during the second-annual WE LOVE CHRISTIAN MUSIC AWARDS, garnering five honors, including Song of the Year, Album of the Year and the 2013 Fan Impact Award.
The awards--created and produced by Christian music's largest website, NewReleaseTuesday.com (NRT), and sponsored by Grand Canyon University--recognized artists in 24 categories. Awards were handed out live in front of thousands of people each night during the 22-city tour of The Roadshow.
Seven different nights, The Roadshow audience was treated to seeing the winners receive their awards live. Skillet frontman John Cooper, whose band co-headlined The Roadshow, accepted his five awards in front of very enthusiastic crowds. Another artist on The Roadshow, Andy Mineo, accepted his WE LOVE trophy for Best Urban/Rap Artist/Group ("The Vibe Award") live, and Best Indie Artist winner J.J. Heller received her honors in front of her hometown crowd in Phoenix, Ariz.
"The atmosphere has absolutely been electric this entire tour," said NRT President/Founder Kevin McNeese. "Having the artists in-person made it that much more exciting to the live audience. How else can someone in Ypsilanti, Michigan or Las Cruces, New Mexico experience a real live awards show? WE LOVE bringing the experience to Christian music fans."
Fans cast more than 18,000 votes--nearly three times last year's involvement--in the two dozen categories in late 2013 and early 2014, choosing the best artists and musical projects of the calendar year 2013.
Skillet resonated deeply with fans in 2013, and earned honors for Song of the Year ("Sick of It"), Album of the Year (Rise) and The Rawkfist (Best Rock/Alternative Artist/Group). Skillet won perhaps the most coveted of the WE LOVE CHRISTIAN MUSIC AWARDS, the Fan Impact Award: a write-in category that asks fans to identify the artist or group who most impacted them in 2013.
New to 2014 was a brand-new category that was exclusive to attenders of The Roadshow, the appropriately named "The Roadshow Award." Essentially a reimagining of 2012's Best Live Show category, the award included all the participants of The Roadshow Tour as nominees. Co-headliner Skillet ran away with the award.
"This is awesome; it's about the fans," Cooper said. "This means a lot to me. This is why we do this, to write music people can be impacted by, and that can connect with them, and hopefully write something that could help bring someone closer to the Lord, and get them through a hard time in their life, give them hope with they're hopeless. That's what Skillet tries to do, and it means so much to me that it's impacting people out there. We love our fans."
Aside from the fact that Skillet tied tobyMac's 2012 record of five WE LOVE CHRISTIAN MUSIC AWARDS won in a single year, the 18 other categories represented a diverse array of artists.
While last year's awards were all about tobyMac, the 2013 cycle recognized the other two-thirds of dcTalk, who are now frontmen of pop/rock bands Newsboys and Audio Adrenaline. Newsboys took home "The Hook" award for Best Pop Artist/Group, and won Group of the Year.
Audio Adrenaline reprised their 2012 win for Video of the Year by being honored for the visual treatment of the single "Believer." The band's new frontman, Kevin Max, won in the brand-new category of Best Lead Singer.
"To be honest, I rarely care about awards, but this one gets me a bit teary eyed," Max said to his Facebook followers. "As a longtime singer in this industry, I have never been honored in this way and it fills me with gratitude and inspires me to keep at it. Thank you, WE LOVE CHRISTIAN MUSIC AWARDS."
Everfound won Best New Artist honors, and Hawk Nelson was recognized for its successful frontman change by winning The Relaunch Award for Best Comeback/Lineup Change.
The newly created award for Best Church-Based Worship Artist/Group ("The Chorus") went to Hillsong UNITED, and the win was historic for the group who writes songs millions of people sing at churches.
"We just want to say a huge thank you for voting us to win this award," Hillsong UNITED frontman Joel Houston said in an acceptance speech. "We've never won an award before, so we don't really know what to do right now, but to say thank you, we love you, and we appreciate you."
"THE WE LOVE CHRISTIAN MUSIC AWARDS took a huge step forward in its second year," McNeese said. "From fan involvement to artist participation to even the design of our trophy, we're seeing this special experience become a part of the Christian music landscape, and it's exciting to see what happens in Year 3."
WE LOVE CHRISTIAN MUSIC AWARDS 2013: WINNERS LIST
(Complete details given at www.theweloveawards.com.)
The Hook Award (Pop) // Newsboys
The Inspo Award (Contemp) // Steven Curtis Chapman
The Encounter Award (Worship) // Chris Tomlin
The Chorus Award (Church-Based Worship) // Hillsong UNITED
The Vibe Award (Rap/Urban) // Andy Mineo
The BPM Award(Dance/Electronic) // Family Force 5
The Rawkfist Award (Rock/Alternative) // Skillet
The Hardcore Award (Hard Rock/Metal) // Flyleaf
The Front Porch Award (Country/So. Gospel) // Alan Jackson
Album of the Year // Skillet Rise
EP of the Year // Thousand Foot Krutch, Metamorphosiz: The End Remixes Vol. 2
Song of the Year // Skillet, "Sick of It"
Male Artist of the Year // Colton Dixon
Female Artist of the Year // Mandisa
Group of the Year // Newsboys
New Artist/Group of the Year // Everfound
Video of the Year // Audio Adrenaline, "Believer"
WE LOVE CATEGORIES
The Relaunch Award (Comeback/Change) // Hawk Nelson
Best Collaboration // Chris Tomlin & Lecrae, "Awake My Soul"
Best Indie Artist/Group // JJ Heller
Best Lead Singer // Kevin Max, Audio Adrenaline
The Next Big Thing // Amanda Noelle
2013 Fan Impact Award (write-in vote) // Skillet
The Roadshow Award 2014 (Roadshow audience) // Skillet
NewReleaseTuesday.com (http://www.NewReleaseTuesday.com) was launched in August of 2002 and offers the most complete and up-to-date listing of upcoming releases online, exclusive artist interviews, commentary from a variety of columnists, New Christian Music PodCasts and the latest in Christian music news. It is also the home to the NRTeam, an online music community that maintains the largest online databases of Christian artist profiles, album reviews and song lyrics.
About Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is Arizona's premier private Christian university. GCU is regionally accredited and emphasizes individual attention for both traditional undergraduate students and the working professional in seven colleges: the Ken Blanchard College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Nursing, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Theology, the College of Fine Arts and Production, and the College of Doctoral Studies. GCU offers traditional programs on its growing campus, as well as online bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. The University's curriculum fuses academic and clinical rigor with Christian values to prepare its students to be skilled, caring professionals. For more information about GCU, visit http://www.gcu.edu.