Gospel Goes to the GRAMMYs

By Lindsay Williams | contributing writer, www.watchgmctv.com
Posted: Tue, 01/24/2012 - 12:03

Heath and Tomlin Lead 54th Annual GRAMMY Award® Nominations

When the nominees for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards® were announced in late November, Brandon Heath and Chris Tomlin landed squarely on top of the nominee list, garnering three nods each.

Both artists have celebrated extensive accomplishments over the past year with rigorous touring schedules and new albums. Heath started 2011 with the release of his third studio project, Leaving Eden (Reunion), and is currently headlining a tour in support of the album with Britt Nicole. Tomlin just wrapped a successful tour supporting And If Our God Is For Us... (sixstepsrecords) and released a “best of” collection last month, sporting a new “world edition” of his mega hit “How Great Is Our God.”

“‘Three GRAMMY® noms each for Coldplay and Chris Tomlin.’ Nice seeing my friend/worship pastor in this sentence!” author/speaker Louie Giglio commented via Twitter following the official nominations announcement.

Among the list of impressive nominees are a number of first-time hopefuls, including Natalie Grant, Laura Story and newcomers Jamie Grace and Royal Tailor.

“This nomination is such an honor for us; we’re really humbled by it and couldn’t be more grateful,” shares Royal Tailor’s lead singer, Tauren Wells. Grace was equally as humbled by her nomination for her first single, “Hold Me,” co-written with TobyMac.

“Just two years ago I was sitting on the floor in my dorm room with a pen and paper writing the lines ‘I love the way you hold me...’ When I found out that those lyrics and that melody were nominated for a GRAMMY®, I absolutely couldn’t believe it,” Grace explains. “Even so, knowing that God has surrounded me with such an amazing team (TobyMac, Gotee Records, Know Good Company, producer Chris Stevens), and a family who inspires and supports my music more every day, I believe this is another way that God is holding me – and I am loving it.”

Grant echoes similar gratitude as her powerful contribution to The Story earned her a nod for “Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance.” “What a dream to be nominated for a GRAMMY®,” says Grant. “But the sweetest part is that it’s for the performance of the song ‘Alive,’ which my husband [Bernie Herms] co-wrote and co-produced, so this is extra special for me.”

Several notable artists were also honored as songwriters in a variety of key categories. Matt Maher earned his first nomination for his co-writing credit on “I Lift My Hands,” recorded by Chris Tomlin. Dave Barnes scored a nomination in the “Best Country Song” category, thanks to Blake Shelton recording his hit, “God Gave Me You.” Amy Grant was also nominated as a co-writer on husband Vince Gill’s new single, “Threaten Me with Heaven,” in the same category.

Moreover, Americana duo The Civil Wars – featuring former CCM darling Joy Williams and John Paul White – are first-time nominees in two categories: “Best Country/Duo Group Performance” and “Best Folk Album.”

The complete list of nominees in the Gospel/Christian categories includes:

Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance
“Do Everything” – Steven Curtis Chapman
“Alive (Mary Magdalene)” – Natalie Grant
“Your Love” – Brandon Heath
“Jesus” – Le’Andria Johnson
“I Lift My Hands” – Chris Tomlin

Best Gospel Song
“Hello Fear” – Kirk Franklin, songwriter (Kirk Franklin)
“Sitting With Me” – Erica Campbell, Tina Campbell, Gerald Haddon & Tammi Haddon, songwriters (Mary Mary)
“Spiritual” – Donald Lawrence, songwriter (Donald Lawrence & Co. Featuring Blanche McAllister-Dykes)
“Trust Me” – Richard Smallwood, songwriter (Richard Smallwood & Vision)
“Window” – Canton Jones, songwriter (Canton Jones)

Best Contemporary Christian Music Song
“Blessings” – Laura Story, songwriter (Laura Story)
“Hold Me” – Jamie Grace Harper, Toby McKeehan & Christopher Stevens, songwriters (Jamie Grace Featuring TobyMac)
“I Lift My Hands” – Louie Giglio, Matt Maher & Chris Tomlin, songwriters (Chris Tomlin)
“Strong Enough” – Matthew West, songwriter (Matthew West)
“Your Love” – Brandon Heath & Jason Ingram, songwriters (Brandon Heath)

Best Gospel Album
The Love Album – Kim Burrell
The Journey – Andraé Crouch
Hello Fear – Kirk Franklin
Something Big – Mary Mary
Angel & Chanelle Deluxe Edition – Trin-i-Tee 5:7

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
Ghosts Upon the Earth – Gungor
Leaving Eden – Brandon Heath
The Great Awakening – Leeland
What If We Were Real – Mandisa
Black & White – Royal Tailor
And If Our God Is For Us... – Chris Tomlin

The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards® will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Sunday, February 12, 2012 and will air live on CBS. For a complete list of nominees in all categories, visit www.grammy.com/nominees.

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