Kanye West Gets His First Gospel Music Nominations, as Dove Awards Nods Are Led by For King & Country

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The Gospel Music Association announced the nominations for the 51st annual Dove Awards Thursday, and the band For King & Country and Christian rock singer Zach Williams garnered the most. Destined to get at least as much attention, though, were three nods for first-time nominee Kanye West.

The presidential candidate’s first full entry into the Christian music realm, “Jesus Is King,” was nominated for rap/hip-hop album of the year. An album by his Sunday Service Choir, “Jesus Is Born,” got a nod for traditional gospel album of the year, with West picking up a nomination as one of its producers. West’s third nomination was for “Follow God: for rap/hip-hop recorded song of the year.

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Hillsong Worship, Kirk Franklin and Jonathan McReynolds have four nominations apiece.

For King & Country has either six nominations or five, depending on who’s doing the counting and how. The GMA tallied five nominations for the group as artists: artist of the year, contemporary Christian artist of the year, pop/contemporary song (“Burn the Ships”), Spanish-language recorded song (“Solo Dios Sabe”) and short form video (“God Only Knows”). However, the group’s publicist adds a sixth to their total this year, pointing out that the group’s members are credited writers on “Burn the Ships,” which is nominated for song of the year, even if their credits are as individuals and not under the group banner.

Williams will compete against the group for artist of the year and contemporary Christian artist of the year. His other three nominations came for songwriter of the year, song of the year (“Rescue Story”) and pop/contemporary album (for the album also titled “Rescue Story”). There’s also a sixth Williams-affiliated nomination: The “Rescue Story” album got a nod for recorded music packaging of the year, although he is not an official nominee for that.

The artist of the year category has Williams and For King & Country facing off against one of Christian music’s superstars, Lauren Daigle, who did not release a new album this cycle, along with Hillsong Worship and Tasha Cobbs Leonard.

The two leading nominees have a rich recent track record of winning awards here and elsewhere. For King & Country has previously won five Dove Awards, along with four Grammys. Zach Williams, whose rise has been more recent (he won best new artist in 2017), has two Doves and a single Grammy so far.

Kanye was not the only largely secular artist getting his first Dove Awards nominations. Disco queen Gloria Gaynor is up for two, contending for album of the year and recorded song of the year in the bluegrass/country/roots category for her “Testimony” project.

Nominations were announced Thursday on several of SirusXM/Pandora’s faith-based channels. The awards show will air Oct. 30 on Trinity Broadcasting Network. Reps said that in lieu of the usual live awards telecast, “the show will be a variety of unique pre-recorded performances and acceptance speeches,” with more information in the coming weeks.

Here are the nominees in 13 of the top categories (for a full list, click here):

ARTIST OF THE YEAR:

for KING & COUNTRY

Hillsong Worship

Lauren Daigle

Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Zach Williams

SONG OF THE YEAR:

“Almost Home” (songwriters) Barry Graul, Bart Millard, Ben Glover, Mike Scheuchzer, Nathan Cochran (publishers) 9t One Songs, Ariose Music, So Sappy Music, Tunes of Mercyme

“Burn The Ships” (songwriters) Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone, Matt Hales, Seth Mosley (publishers) CentricSongs, Kilns Music, Method of the Madness, Shankle Songs, Shaun Shaenkle Pub Designee, Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., WC Music Group

“Deliver Me (This Is My Exodus) (songwriters) Desmond Davis, Donald Lawrence, Marshon Lewis, Robert Woolridge (publishing) QW Publishing, Williams Stokes Publishing House and Primary Wave Bears, Shonnamacmusic, ROB BASS INC, Desmond Davis Designee

Dead Man Walking” (songwriters) Emily Weisband, Jeremy Camp, Jordan Sapp (publishers) Capitol CMG Paragon, Only In You Publishing, Songs By J Sapp

“Holy Water” (songwriters) Andrew Bergthold, Ed Cash, Franni Cash, Marin Cash, Scott Cash (publishers) Andrew Bergthold Designee, Capitol CMG Genesis, We The Kingdom ASCAP Designee, We The Kingdom Music

“King of Kings” (songwriters) Brooke Ligertwood, Jason Ingram, Scott Ligertwood (publishers) Fellow Ships Music, Hillsong Music Publishing Australia, So Essential Tunes

“Love Theory” (songwriter) Kirk Franklin, (publisher) Aunt Gertrude Music Publishing LLC

“Nobody” (songwriters) Bernie Herms, Mark Hall, Matthew West (publishers) Be Essential Songs, Highly Combustible Music, House of Story Music Publishing, My Refuge Music, One77 Songs

“Rescue” (songwriters) Jason Ingram, Lauren Daigle, Paul Mabury (publishers) CentricSongs, Fellow Ships Music, Flychild Publishing, See You At The Pub, So Essential Tunes

“Rescue Story” (songwriter) Andrew Ripp, Ethan Hulse, Jonathan Smith, Zach Williams (publishers) Anthems of Hope, Be Essential Songs, Cashagamble Jet Music, EGH Music Publishing, Songs By Fishbone, Wisteria Drive

“See A Victory” (songwriters) Ben Fielding, Chris Brown, Jason Ingram, Steven Furtick (publishers) Fellow Ships Music, Music By Elevation Worship Publishing, SHOUT! Music Publishing Australia, So Essential Tunes

“The God Who Stays” (songwriters) AJ Pruis, Jonathan Smith, Matthew West (publishers) Be Essential Songs, Cashagamble Jet Music, Combustion Five, Highly Combustible Music, O77 Songs, Two Story House Music

“Way Maker” (songwriters) Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu (publisher) Integrity Music Europe

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR:

Chris Renzema

Cochren & Co.

Elle Limebear

Switch

We The Kingdom

GOSPEL ARTIST OF THE YEAR:

Jekalyn Carr

Jonathan McReynolds

Kirk Franklin

Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Travis Greene

POP/CONTEMPORARY RECORDED SONG OF THE YEAR:

“NOBODY” – Casting Crowns (feat. Matthew West) – (songwriters) Bernie Herms, Matthew West, Mark Hall

“Burn The Ships” – for KING & COUNTRY– (songwriters) Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone, Seth Mosley, Matt Hales

“Dead Man Walking” – Jeremy Camp – (songwriters) Jeremy Camp, Emily Weisband, Jordan Sapp

“Rescue” – Lauren Daigle – (songwriters) Jason Ingram, Lauren Daigle, Paul Mabury

“Holy Water” – We The Kingdom – (songwriters) Andrew Bergthold, Ed Cash, Franni Cash, Martin Cash, Scott Cash

SOUTHERN GOSPEL RECORDED SONG OF THE YEAR:

“This Is The Place” – Gaither Vocal Band – (songwriters) – Gloria Gaither, Williams J. Gaither, Gordan Mote

“The God I Serve” – Karen Peck & New River – (songwriters) Rebecca Bowman, Sonya Yeary, Karen Peck Gooch, Jimmy Yeary

“What Kind Of Man” – Legacy Five – (songwriters) Kenna Turner West, Jason Cox, Sue Smith

“The Power Of An Empty Tomb” – The Erwins – (songwriter) Joel Lindsey

“Can I Get A Witness” – The Sound – (songwriters) Kenna Turner West, Brent Baxter, Jason Cox

CONTEMPORARY GOSPEL RECORDED SONG OF THE YEAR:

“Blessings on Blessings” – Anthony Brown & group therAPy – (songwriter) Anthony Brown

“Won’t Be Moved” – Gene Moore – (songwriters) – Bryan Sledge, Cedric Smith, Demeon Reeves

“People” – Jonathan McReynolds – (songwriter) Jonathan McReynolds

“B!g” – Pastor Mike Jr. – (songwriters) Michael McClure, Curtiss Glenn, Rodney Turner

“Truly Amazing God” – Travis Greene – (songwriter) Travis Greene

GOSPEL WORSHIP RECORDED SONG OF THE YEAR:

“Miracle Worker” – JJ Hairston – (songwriter) Rich Tolbert Jr.

“Something Has To Break” (Live) – Kierra Sheard, featuring Tasha Cobbs Leonard – (songwriters) J. Drew Sheard, Kierra Valencia Sheard, Mia Fieldes, Jonathan Smith

“Promises” – Maverick City Music – (songwriters) Aaron Moses, Lemuel Marin, Carrington Gaines, Dante Bowe, Joe L. Barnes, Keila Alvarado

“Proverbs 3” – Todd Dulaney – (songwriters) Todd Dulaney, Jaylen Moore, Isaac Tarver

“Only You Can Satisfy” (Live) – William McDowell and Chris Lawson (songwriters) William McDowell, Chandler Moore

WORSHIP RECORDED SONG OF THE YEAR:

“King of Kings” (Live at Qudos Band Arena, Sydney, AU/2019) – Hillsong Worship – (songwriters) Brooke Ligertwood, Scott Ligertwood, Jason Ingram

“Goodness of God” – Jenn Johnson – (songwriters) Ben Fielding, Brian Johnson, Jenn Johnson, Ed Cash, Jason Ingram

“The Blessing” (Live) – Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes, Elevation Worship – (songwriters) Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes, Chris Brown, Steven Furtick

“Way Maker” – Leeland – (songwriter) Osinachi Okoro

“Great Things” – Phil Wickham – (songwriter) Phil Wickham, Jonas Myrin

RAP/HIP HOP ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

Not By Chance – Aaron Cole

Work in Progress – Andy Mineo

HEATHEN – GAWVI

Jesus Is King – Kanye West

MOOD // DOOM – Social Club Misfits

ROCK/CONTEMPORARY ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

Out of Body – Apollo LTD

War – Demon Hunter

Love Letter – Disciple

Declaration – Red

Victorious – Skillet

POP/CONTEMPORARY ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

THE STORY’S NOT OVER – Jeremy Camp

Citizens of Heaven – Tauren Wells

Reason – Unspoken

Live At The Wheelhouse – We The Kingdom

Rescue Story – Zach Williams

SPANISH LANGUAGE ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

Soldados – Alex Campos

Shekinah (Live) – Barak

Aleluya (En La Tierra) – Elevation Worship

Origen y Esencia – Jesus Adrian Romero

Sinergia – Un Corazon y LEAD

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