GMA Announces Hosts For 36th Annual Dove Awards

A diverse grouping of six of gospel music’s most popular artists will take center stage to host this year’s Dove Awards. The artists – Steven Curtis Chapman, CeCe Winans, Rebecca St. James, Smokie Norful, Darlene Zschech, and Israel Houghton – will be teaming up in pairs to introduce performances and presenters at the 36th Annual GMA Music Awards, which will be held on Wednesday, April 13th, at Music City’s Grand Ole Opry House.

“The GMA Music Awards are an opportunity to celebrate excellence in gospel music, so who better to be the face of the Doves than six artists who have made distinct contributions to the success of gospel music in recent years,” said John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and executive producer of the GMA Music Awards. “CeCe, Darlene, Israel, Rebecca, Smokie and Steven are not only beloved artists, but as a group, they reflect the diversity, creativity and boldness that have helped to raise the profile of gospel music in our culture today. We expect to have a lot of fun with them, teaming them up in hosting pairs to provide spirited repartee throughout the Doves.”

The “spirited repartee” the hosts will be providing will also be done within a new format for the awards show. Previously, the awards show was divided into a pre-show, where most of the 44 categories of Dove Awards were handed out, and the main show, which primarily featured performances. This year’s Doves will be one show, with awards and performances sharing the limelight.

“This year’s Doves will be a terrific opportunity for music fans to see all of the artists they love and to hear from their hearts as they accept their industry’s highest honors,” said Styll. “And, the selected performances will represent the most exciting and entertaining music of the year.”

Tickets for the live show are currently on sale through www.gmamusicawards.com, or by telephoning 615-242-0303, ext. 238.

Styll also announced that the GMA Music Awards would be televised in national syndication during the month of June. Central City Productions of Chicago, Ill., will handle first run syndication through network affiliates and independent stations nationwide, with an expected audience reach of at least 75 percent of U.S. television households. The GMA Music Awards website – www.gmamusicawards.com - will provide a regularly updated list of confirmed broadcast times and outlets. The Doves will be offered on several inspirational cable networks after the first-run syndication.

In the weeks leading up to the 36th Annual GMA Music Awards, music fans will have several opportunities to watch re-broadcasts of the 2004 GMA Music Awards, which were hosted by Yolanda Adams and Deion Sanders and featured performances and appearances by Amy Grant, Bono, Casting Crowns, Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams, Hezekiah Walker, Jars of Clay, Jeremy Camp, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, MercyMe, Michael W. Smith, Out of Eden, Randy Travis, Third Day, tobyMac and more. PAX-TV presents an Easter holiday re-broadcast of the Doves on Thursday, March 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT and the Worship Network will air the Music Awards on its overnight programming four times – April 2, 3, 9 and 10. Check www.worship.net for more details.

Central City Productions, which is most known for syndicating the Stellar Awards, is a full-service television production company that produces, syndicates and manages advertising sales for all of its programs. Network affiliates and broadcast stations interested in the 36th Annual GMA Music Awards for syndication can contact CCP at 312-654-1100 or 303-771-3513.

Founded in 1964, the 4,500-member Gospel Music Association is dedicated to exposing, promoting and celebrating the gospel through music. The GMA represents all styles of gospel music including contemporary pop, rock, urban gospel, praise & worship, Southern gospel, country and children’s gospel music. The GMA produces the GMA Music AwardsTM, which recognizes achievement in all genres of gospel music and are voted on by members of the GMA.

About The Hosts

No one knows Doves like Steven Curtis Chapman. The reigning Dove “king,” Chapman has earned a staggering 47 Dove Awards in his 18-year recording career. Add to that this list of accomplishments: five Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, two certified platinum and seven gold albums, nine million total albums sold and 42 #1 radio hits and you’ve got a career any artist would be glad to rest his laurels on, but not Chapman, whose current recording, All Things New, is one of his most critically acclaimed and the title of his current 70-city tour. Chapman’s also taken on the role of producer and record label founder, helping to launch the career of 2004’s third best-selling artist Casting Crowns. (www.stevencurtischapman.com)

CeCe Winans, currently recording for her own PureSprings Gospel label in conjunction with Epic/INO Records, has earned 18 Dove Awards and a slew of other industry accolades. Blessed with one of music’s greatest voices, Winans has crossed all stylistic, social and age barriers, making her one of gospel music’s most powerful ambassadors. Her latest recording, The Throne Room, is the first time Winans has recorded a worship album, and it has paid off with gold-selling sales. This August she will release her first pop project on Puresprings/Epic/INO. (www.cecewinans.com)

Rebecca St. James has established herself as one of the most popular female vocalists in gospel music in the past decade. Her signature blend of modern pop/rock sensibilities and bold lyrics have made her an outspoken voice for her generation and garnered St. James national media attention. Australian born, she is a multiple Dove winner as well as a Grammy Award recipient. 2005 also finds Rebecca emerging as a best-selling author—with her new book SHE (Tyndale) following solidly in the success of her previous #1 book on CBA charts Wait For Me. Her forthcoming album project for EMI-ForeFront Records is one of 2005’s highly anticipated new releases. (www.rsjames.com)

EMI Gospel’s Smokie Norful burst on the scene two years ago as one of the fastest rising young black gospel artists in history. Nothing better illustrates his impact than his 2004 chart success when Norful’s three recordings, I Need You Now, Nothing Without You and Limited Edition landed among the top 100 best sellers on the Billboard’s 2004 Overall Contemporary Christian Chart. That feat earned him notice as Billboard’s Top Gospel Artist in 2004, the second straight year he received that recognition. His second album, Nothing Without You, will vie for two Dove Awards this year. Norful also is preparing for the release of his first DVD on June 21. Filmed in Hi-Definition with Surround Sound, the Nothing Without You DVD features live concert performances and in-depth interviews. (www.smokienorful.com)

Australian worship leader Darlene Zschech made an indelible mark on America nearly 10 years ago, when Hillsong Music released a worship record from Zschech’s Hillsong Church in the U.S. through Integrity Records. Zschech’s song, “Shout to the Lord” was on that record and it quickly became one of the most sung worship song in churches across the country. In the past 10 years, the song has never been out of the top 10 of the CCLI (Christian Copyright and Licensing International), chart of the most used songs in U.S. churches. In addition to her music with Hillsong Church, Zschech’s also manages a successful solo artist career with INO Records, releasing her 2nd project in August of this year. (www.darlenezschech.com)

Israel Houghton is another of today’s breed of young artists who started and/or continue as music worship leaders in their local churches before launching recording careers that have gained them nationwide fans. Israel serves as a worship leader at the Joel Osteen-pastored Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. With his group, Israel and New Breed, Houghton has grown a fan base far beyond the 25,000 members of Lakewood, and the group’s current release Live from another Level has already won numerous awards and is up for several Doves this year. Houghton, in fact, is one of the most nominated artists for the 36th Annual GMA Music Awards. (www.newbreedmusic.com)