CeCe Winans, Anne Wilson & Phil Wickham Among 2022 GMA Dove Awards Winners

This year’s GMA Dove Awards ceremony, which aired Friday night (Oct. 21) on TBN and was held on the campus of Nashville’s Lipscomb University, showcased the power of pairing a great song with the right message and the right vocalist.

CeCe Winans took home two trophies, including the evening’s top honor, artist of the year, capping a strong year that saw Winans’ inspirational “Believe for It” spend 12 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart and reach No. 7 on Christian Airplay. During the GMA Dove Awards, “Believe for It” was named song of the year.

In accepting the song of the year honor, Winans said, “It is amazing when we come together, love each other and stand for righteousness what God will do…I am believing for God to move in this industry like He has never moved before.”

Newcomer Anne Wilson also took home her first two GMA Dove Awards wins, for new artist of the year, as well as pop/contemporary recorded song of the year, for her breakthrough hit “My Jesus.” During her performance of the song, Wilson wisely and succinctly used the time to share the story that inspired the song — the loss of her brother Jacob in 2017, as photos of her late brother filled the screen behind her.

“I never imagined I’d be here tonight, standing on this stage and getting to be amongst among all of you incredible artists,” Wilson said in accepting her new artist of the year award, before thanking her label team at Capitol CMG, management team at Storyhouse Collective and her collaborators on the album. She also thanked her late brother Jacob. “You inspire me and that’s why I do what I do, is to honor Jacob. Most of all I want to thank Jesus for his grace, his mercy and his forgiveness…I’m so thankful for all the artists in this category as well. You are changing lives and I’m so grateful.”

The evening began as the Gospel Music Association’s leader Jackie Patillo and Lipscomb University president Candice McQueen welcomed the audience to celebrate the best music that came from the faith-based community over the past year, under the theme “Sound of Heaven.” From there, the evening honored artists in a range of styles, including gospel, folk, country, bluegrass, soul, rap, pop and Spanish-language.

The ceremony opened with Crowder performing the swampy rock song “Good God Almighty” and later earned rock/contemporary recorded song of the year for “Higher Power” featuring Hulvey. Jekalyn Carr offered a soulful, commanding rendition of “My Portion,” and the song later picked up the GMA Dove Award for traditional gospel recorded song of the year. DOE performed a mash-up of “When I Pray” and “What I’m Waiting For,” and won contemporary gospel album of the year (Clarity). Gateway Worship Español offered a stirring bilingual performance that blended worship, Latin and rap, and won Spanish language recorded song of the year for “Danzando,” which featured Daniel Calveti, Becky Collazos, Christine D’Clario, Travy Joe and Josh Morales.

Phil Wickham picked up songwriter of the year (artist), while his album Hymn of Heaven was named worship album of the year and the title track was named worship recorded song of the year. He also performed his four-week No. 1 Billboard Christian Airplay hit “House of the Lord.” His acceptance speech was filled with gratitude as he noted he has been leading worship in various church services since he was in his early teens.

The topics of loss and rejuvenation were touched on throughout the evening, as TobyMac thanked the audience for their support and prayers following the loss of his eldest son, Truett, in 2019.

“I thought I would never write another song, much less a song that is uptempo,” TobyMac noted, before performing the joyous song “The Goodness” with Blessing Offor. Earlier this year, the song became a three-week No. 1 on the Christian Airplay chart.

Last year, the inaugural GMA Leadership Award was given to GMA leader Patillo, and this year, the honor was awarded to CAA’s John Huie, who has worked with Amy Grant, DC Talk, Third Day, Steven Curtis Chapman and more.

Later in the evening, Smith introduced his longtime friend and fellow CCM luminary Steven Curtis Chapman, who launched his performance with a medley of his previous hits, including “The Great Adventure” and “Divin’ In,” before performing “Don’t Lose Heart” from his new album Still.

“Thirty-five years went by in a hurry,” Chapman quipped.

Jason Ingram (who has worked with Elevation Worship, Maverick City Music, Winans, Lauren Daigle and others) was named songwriter of the year (non-artist), while producer of the year went to Jeff Pardo (who has worked on projects for Wilson, Crowder, Newsboys and more). Family trio The Sound won their first GMA Dove Award, for bluegrass/country/roots album (God Is Real). Rap/Hip Hop recorded song of the year went to “King Jesus” from KB and nobigdyl, while pop/contemporary album of the year went to for King & Country’s What Are We Waiting For? (the brother duo also won in the short form music video of the year/concept category for “Relate,” as well as long form video of the year.

Maverick City Music won two honors during the evening, including gospel worship recorded song of the year (“Breathe”) as well as gospel worship album of the year with Tribl, for Tribl Nights Atlanta.

As the evening began to draw to a close, Winans took the stage after being named as the recipient of the evening’s biggest honor, artist of the year. In lieu of a traditional acceptance speech, she gracefully sang a chorus of “To God Be The Glory,” as the audience joined in, creating a uniting, impromptu a cappella choir.

For a full list of the evening’s winners visit doveawards.com.

Jessica Nicholson