The Great Unknowns

Posted: Tue, 03/29/2011 - 14:30 — Melissa Riddle ...

Sometimes it’s not who knows your name, but who knows about your talent.

Her name was Esperanza Spaulding, but nobody (or next to nobody) knew it... until she bested Justin Bieber, the most popular new artist ever, and won this year’s GRAMMY for Best New Artist. A jazz composer, arranger, singer and bassist, Spaulding had been performing for years and had recorded three albums, but when her name was announced, music fans all over the world scratched their heads and said, ‘Esper-who?’

When the 42nd Annual Dove Awards nominations were announced last month, there were some similar reactions. Doug Anderson? Wayne Haun? No Other Name? Who in the world are these people?

Well, here’s the short scoop:

Doug Anderson, Male Vocalist of the Year nominee
The baritone singer in Ernie Haase & Signature Sound since its formation in 2003, Doug Anderson began his singing career in a southern gospel group called Lighthouse. Before that, he had married his high school sweetheart, Michelle, played basketball for Purdue University and had long aspired to be a Gospel singer. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, considered one of the most progressive groups in the southern gospel genre, has stacked up three Dove Awards to date and nabbed their first GRAMMY nomination in 2010. Doug and Michelle have two daughters, Isabel and Emma, and make their home in Lapel, Indiana. Anderson’s first solo record, Dreamin’ Wide Awake, is set for a May 3rd release.  

Of special note: Singers in groups are eligible for individual Dove Awards. If Anderson grabs the Dove, Haase may need to consider a group name change: Ernie Haase, Doug Anderson & Signature Sound?

No Other Name, Group of the Year nominee
Siblings Sam and Laura Allen, along with their good friend Chad Smith, formed No Other Name when Chad and Laura were students at Nashville’s Belmont University. It was there the group grabbed Curb Records Chairman Mike Curb’s attention and landed a record deal. Since then, the missions-focused trio has paid its dues on the road, playing churches, conferences, camps – just about anywhere they were asked to play. They’ve even taken fans on mission trips to Managua, Nicaragua and have plans for another fan mission adventure in June of 2011, in Sao Paulo Brazil.  

The nomination of No Other Name should be an encouragement to all those unknown weekend warriors, setting up and tearing down on the road, encouraging the church for years without much ‘national’ recognition. You can and are making a difference.  

Wayne Haun, Producer of the Year nominee
Perhaps the most ironic ‘unknown’ of all these nominees, Wayne Haun has actually won 14 Dove Awards (45+ nominations!) already, along with nabbing three GRAMMY nominations. A much sought-after songwriter who penned hits such as “Light a Candle” (Avalon), “Reason Enough” (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound) and “Grace” (The Martins), Haun does quadruple duty as producer, composer/arranger, music publisher and record label president. He’s worked with some of the top orchestras in the world, including the Budapest Film Orchestra, The London Symphony, The City of Prague Philharmonic, and the Cincinnati Orchestra. Still, he’s kept and expanded his day job as ‘musical director and producer’ for Ernie Haase & Signature Sound.

Perhaps the fact that the majority of Haun’s work, for the purpose of Dove Award consideration anyway, is within the southern gospel genre can explain why he’s still ‘unknown’ after 14 wins. But the tide seems to be turning, so this could be his year.

Gifted for Greatness
Ultimately, when ‘great unknowns’ appear in any awards nomination list, and especially if they win, it affirms one very important truth: We’ve all been created and gifted for greatness. Awards and recognition – or lack thereof –can’t change that.

Who are some of the ‘great unknowns’ in your music collection? In your life?

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