The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) hosted their annual Christian music awards gala last week and awarded top honors to Matt Redman, EMI CMG Publishing and Matthew West.
Redman was honored as the ASCAP Christian Songwriter of the Year while EMI CMG Publishing was honored as the Christian Publisher of the Year for the sixth consecutive time. West, meanwhile, was awarded ASCAP's Christian Song of the Year trophy for "You Are Everything," which he co-wrote with Sam Mizell.
"This is the first song I sang after coming back from surgery on my vocal chords," said West, according to Billboard.biz. "I never felt more helpless, but the Lord promised me that He wasn't done with me yet. Every time I sing this song and now standing here with this award, this is the proof that sometimes the worst things that happen to us are the best things."
Among those in attendance at the gala were renowned Christian artists Amy Grant, Point of Grace, Mac Powell of Third Day, Jeremy Camp, Natalie Grant, the David Crowder Band, Brandon Heath, Rush of Fools, Sanctus Real, Francesca Battistelli, and former American Idol contender Chris Sligh.
In her remarks, ASCAP Senior Vice President Connie Bradley recognized ASCAP's dominant market share in Christian music and thanked the songwriters and publishers in attendance for their creative excellence.
"Your songs help us find strength, hope, a happiness that is real and a better perspective on our troubles," she told the gather of Christian music's best songwriters and publishers. "Your songs help us find strength, hope, a happiness that is real and a better perspective on our troubles.
"We really need that," she continued, "even if it's only for an average of three and a half minutes at a time. You give us a healthy, safe place to escape and refresh."
The evening also featured a special tribute to Dave Clark, who was presented with ASCAP's Living Legend Award.
This year's gala was the 15th hosted by ASCAP, a membership association of more than 350,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers of every kind of music.
Home to the greatest names in American music, past and present, ASCAP is the only U.S. performing rights organization created and controlled by composers, songwriters and music publishers, with a Board of Directors elected by and from the membership.