The Gospel Music Association has announced the final nominees for the Dove Award Songwriter of the Year, more than a month after announcing the nominees for the first 41 categories.
Vying for the prestigious honor are Steven Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant, Brandon Heath, Jason Ingram and Tony Wood, the GMA announced Tuesday.
The recipient of the Dove Award for Songwriter of the Year will be named during the 40th Annual GMA Dove Awards, widely known as the biggest night in the Christian music industry.
"Perhaps no other genre relies on the message in the lyrics more than gospel music, so songwriters deserve special honor at the Dove Awards," said John W. Styll, president and CEO of the GMA.
"We congratulate each of these deserving writers for crafting music that has inspired and moved us in the past year," he added.
The new announcement puts CCM singer and songwriter Grant one nod behind Chris Tomlin's leading seven and comes just months after music fans voted Grant the Best Female Artist for Christianity Today's Readers' Choice Christian Music Awards – the first time the top spot went to someone other than songstress Rebecca St. James since Christianity Today's survey began in 2003. For years, Grant was No. 4 in the annual survey.
Grant, like the other Songwriter of the Year nominees, is also vying for Song of the Year, as well as Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song, Worship Song, Pop/Contemporary Album, and Female Vocalist of the Year – an award she has won the past three consecutive years. Receiving the award this year would make Grant only the second artist in Dove Awards history to be named Female Vocalist four consecutive years.
Grant is currently on her recently launched "Make it Matter" tour with former American Idol contender Chris Sligh, singer and songwriter Meredith Andrews, and newcomer Evan Milby. She will be in Waukesha, Wis., the day before this year's GMA Dove Awards, which will be held at Nashville's famed Grand Ole Opry House on Apr. 23.
Presented annually in Nashville, the Dove Awards are voted upon by members of the Gospel Music Association and are often described as Christian music's Grammys.
The event will gather artists from every style of gospel and Christian music for a night of music and celebration. The event will be broadcast nationwide live on the Gospel Music Channel from 8 to 10 p.m. ET/PT.