NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Gospel Music Association is celebrating 50 years of the Dove Awards as top artists and industry professionals in the Gospel and Christian Music industry gather in Nashville.
The awards are scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. at Allen Arena at Lipscomb University and will feature award presentations as well as numerous performances from artists.
While the artists and the music they have created will be a highlight of the show, in it's 50th year, much of the focus will be on the message the music sends.
“Christian and Gospel music, the message that is in it is like a lifeline to us all," Jackie Patillo, executive director of the Gospel Music Association, explained. "It speaks to us about the love of God, it speaks to us about our faith, and gets us over hard times and really speaks to the journey of this life.”
Patillo said in preparation for this year's awards, she and her team looked back at the history of the awards shows. Performances from the likes of Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton and to the award winners all the way back in 1969.
“We are standing on the shoulders of giants," Patillo said, referencing the industry professionals that led the way in Christian and Gospel music. “Bill Gaither was on the first Dove Awards and he won songwriter of the year, and he’s nominated again this year 50 years later.”
New artists in the genre are also excited to celebrate their at the Dove Awards.
“I think this is a great time for not the genre, but the message," Kelontae Gavin, New Artist of the Year nominee, said, adding that his goal is to share the message of God and bring people encouragement and light in their lives. “It’s getting heaven to come to earth so that earth can experience how important it is, not to die to go to heaven, but to live so heaven can come to earth.”
When it comes to Christian and Gospel music, it's hard to put the genre in a box. There's rap/hip-hop, pop, country, singer/songwriter, and so much more.
“Yes there are great love songs, yes, there are songs for every emotion, but Christian and Gospel music is a way of touching heaven," Patillo said.
Winners of the 50th GMA Dove Awards will be announced live at the awards show at Lipscomb University.