'Artist of the Year:' Get the Backstory Before You Vote

By Melissa_Riddle
Posted: Thu, 02/24/2011 - 11:43

Who Are YOUR Nominees? Get the Backstory Before You Vote


Dove Awards online coverage is sponsored by Soul Surfer, the movie, in theaters April 8.

Fans are invited again this year to cast their votes in two GMA Dove Award categories: "Artist of the Year" and "New Artist of the Year." The “Artist of the Year” category is about as diverse at it gets, including a prominent pastor and gospel great, a Christian pop diva with a heart for human trafficking, the most popular all-male group in southern gospel, a singer/songwriter and brand new mother, one of the Opry’s favorite go-to guys, and a guy with a Passion for worship. Click here for the backstory on this year’s Dove nominees for ‘Artist of the Year’.’

Francesca Battistelli

It’s been a ‘Beautiful, Beautiful’ year for this 2010 Dove winner ‘Female Vocalist of the Year.’ One baby arrived, and the other (digital kind) is soon to come.

Last year’s “Female Vocalist of the Year,” Francesca took advantage of the 2010 GMA Dove Awards event to announce the biggest non-career event in her life: her first pregnancy. Baby Matthew Elijah was born in September 2010. Nominated this year for four awards, including “Song of the Year” (for “Beautiful, Beautiful”), the Fervent Records artist’s music has sold more than 500,000 records and over 750K downloads and has been featured on TV shows like “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “The Biggest Loser,” among others. The GRAMMY®-nominated new mom’s latest creation, Hundred More Years, is set for an early March 2011 release.

To read more about Francesca, click here.

Jason Crabb

One of the Opry’s favorite go-to guys, this ‘southern gospel standard’ is a GRAMMY® winning, genre-busting singer/songwriter, now author of his first book.

A frequent guest at The Grand Ole Opry, Jason Crabb is one of gospel music’s most awarded artists. His 2009 self-titled debut garnered a GRAMMY® Award for Best Southern/Country/Bluegrass Gospel Album, as well as a Dove Award for “Country Recorded Song of the Year” for his crossover single, “Somebody Like Me.” The 10-time Dove Award-winning and GRAMMY®-nominated Crabb Family, for which Jason was lead singer, helped to expand the genre of southern gospel music during their groundbreaking tenure. Jason’s follow-up record is set for a late 2011 release. His first book, Trusting God to Get You Through, released earlier this year from Charisma Publishers.

For more information on Jason Crabb, click here.

Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

Founded by longtime member of The Cathedrals Quartet, this group’s ‘thirst’ to remember their roots resulted in one of the best tribute albums to come down the pike in years.

Combining 21st century ideas with the timeless quality of great quartets from the 1950s, GRAMMY®-nominated Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (EHSS) has broken the traditional mold of gospel quartets. Founded in 2003 by Ernie Haase, a long-time member of the famous Cathedral Quartet, the group has become one of the most influential forces in southern gospel music. Comprised of Ernie (tenor), Devin McGlamery (lead), Doug Anderson (baritone) and Ian Owens (bass) EHSS performs more than 100 solo shows yearly in North America and abroad.

The group’s very first DVD release soared to the top of Billboard Magazine's Music Video Chart and simultaneously topped the Contemporary Christian Music Video Chart. That same DVD achieved Gold sales status, and the project's accompanying audio release topped both the CCM and Southern Gospel Audio Charts simultaneously at No. 1. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound received a total of seven Dove nods this year, including “Group of the Year,” “Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year,” and “Southern Gospel Album of the Year” for A Tribute to the Cathedral Quartet. “I Thirst,” from the CD, soon topped the southern gospel charts.

For more information on Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, click here.

Natalie Grant

One of the most celebrated female artist of the past decade, this one raised a quarter of a million dollars to fight human trafficking, had her third baby and found time to start a ‘Love Revolution.’

Over the past four years, Natalie Grant has gained prominence as a major contemporary Christian singer and songwriter, breaking out in a powerful way with her signature song, “Held.” She was awarded the Gospel Music Association’s “Female Vocalist of the Year” in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Grant’s eighth studio album, Love Revolution, debuted at #2 on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums Chart and landed at #32 on the Billboard Top 200, making it the best sales week of Grant’s 10-year music career.

Beyond her recording career, Natalie declares this message as an outspoken advocate for victims of human trafficking. The Home Foundation, which Grant created in 2005, has raised over a quarter of a million dollars to fight the trafficking of women and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

For more information on Natalie Grant, click here.

Marvin Sapp

This full-time minister ‘who happens to sing’ became the all-time highest charting gospel artist in Billboard’s 54-year history. You read that right: the highest EVER.

Introduced to the gospel community by Fred Hammond, as a six-year veteran of Commissioned, Marvin Sapp is, first and foremost, a minister of the Gospel: "I am a preacher – called by God – who happens to sing," he says. When he isn’t preaching and speaking at 200 engagements a year, Sapp pastors The Lighthouse Full Life Center Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Sapp’s eighth gospel record, Here I Am, is more than a little ironic when one considers that “Never Would Have Made It” from his 2007 release Thirsty has been among the most ubiquitous gospel songs of the last three years, perhaps of the last two decades.

With its release, Sapp, who lost his beloved wife MaLinda to cancer in 2010, became the all-time highest charting gospel artist in Billboard's 54-year history of tracking album sales, selling 76K copies its first week out. On January 15th 2011, Marvin Sapp topped the list of winners during the 26th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, which premieres on gmc Saturday, March 5 at 7 pm et.

For more information on Marvin Sapp, click here.


Producer, musician and innovator, this Christian music pioneer brings the ‘city to its knees’ and keeps it relevant decade after decade.

With more than 10 million in career sales, TobyMac’s first three solo projects received RIAA Gold status and GRAMMY® nominations, his live CD/DVD took home a GRAMMY® award in 2009, and this year the GRAMMY® nominated single from the hit record “City On Our Knees” spent 8 weeks at #1 on the Christian Audience Chart. His fourth studio album, Tonight, was named as iTunes® Best Christian Album of 2010.
Recently nominated for Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist at the 2010 American Music Awards, the music of this husband and father of five has been featured in major motion pictures such as “Hancock,” “Transporter 2,” and the CBS hit television show CSI: NY.

For more information on TobyMac, click here.

Chris Tomlin

His songs of worship have reached the heavens, sung by congregations worldwide and played by astronauts in space.

“Artist of the Year” is but one of six nominations for platinum selling artist and worship leader Chris Tomlin, who also got the nod for “Male Vocalist of the Year,”  “Song of the Year” and “Worship Song of the Year” for “Our God.” Tomlin, who took the “Artist of the Year” Dove home in 2007, is currently touring in support of his recently released 9th album And If Our God is For Us..., a project which ranked in at No. 17 on the Billboard Top 200 in its first week. Newly married and relocated to Atlanta to assist with the formation of the Passion Church, Tomlin shows no signs of slowing down in his pursuit of modern, singable songs for worship.  

For more information on Chris Tomlin, click here.

Now that you're "in the know," visit FAN VOTE to make your selections.

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