The 2011 Dove Award Male Vocalist nominees form a diverse list representing everything from Southern Gospel and Black Gospel to R&B, pop and worship. Baritone Doug Anderson’s nomination also reminds us that the category is not limited to solo artists. Anderson is a part of Southern Gospel quartet Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. A member of a group can be nominated if eligible, which then shines a spotlight on others who could have just as easily been nominated (i.e. Mac Powell, Bart Millard, Mark Hall, Bear Rinehart, Mike Donehey, etc.). Nevertheless, solo artists dominate the category this year. Let’s take a look at who’s up for Male Vocalist of the Year.
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
- Doug Anderson
- Chris August
- Jason Crabb
- Brandon Heath
- Israel Houghton
- Marvin Sapp
- Chris Tomlin
Last year, Tomlin was noticeably absent from many of the major categories. This was largely due, in part, to the fact that he was working on a new album. Following the release of And If Our God Is For Us… (sixsteps)–which just missed the eligibility period–a mega hit song with “Our God,” and a current radio single in heavy rotation (“I Will Follow”) fresh on the minds of voters, Tomlin is poised to take home this trophy. His latest studio release is one of his best yet; he continues to tirelessly tour both domestically and abroad; and the sheer popularity of the Passion single should be enough to propel him to the forefront of this category. Tomlin is a multiple Male Vocalist winner. However, competition is stiff with reigning Male Vocalist Brandon Heath and immensely popular newcomer Chris August right on his heels.
The talented singer/songwriter will no doubt go for a three-peat, winning his third consecutive Dove in this category. So why will Heath walk away with the trophy again? First off, he’s just plain likable. He’s beloved by fans and industry critics alike. Although Leaving Eden (Reunion) released too late to be eligible for this year’s awards, the success of “Your Love,” the first single from Heath’s third album which stayed at No. 1 for eight weeks running, will give him the extra momentum he needs to snag this Dove. And no one will begrudge him the award. He is fast becoming a leader in the industry and is extremely well-respected by his peers. (However, fans should keep their eye on Chris August. This year, Heath will win out of seniority, but next year August might give the three-time winner a run for his money.)
The list of those who are MIA in this category is actually a long one. Most notably, Jeremy Camp’s name is nowhere to be found. Camp released a critically-acclaimed worship project this year, garnering a radio hit with “Jesus Saves” and toured the country extensively. He’s consistently a fan favorite, yet he somehow got overlooked on this year’s ballot.
One of the biggest misses of the whole event is overlooking the incredibly talented Matthew West. He is without a doubt one of the most underrated artists in Christian music. He’s nominated for Short-form Video of the Year, but there is no reason West shouldn’t be a major nominee in this category as well as a contender in the Songwriter of the Year category. He released a landmark album this year with The Story of Your Life (Sparrow), which has to be one of the most compelling and creative undertakings the industry has seen in recent years. West is a leader in his own right. Fans of the singer/songwriter know it to be true, so it’s a shame that the nominations don’t bear witness to this fact.
You can check out a full list of nominees for the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards here.
Who do you think will win the Dove for Male Vocalist of the Year? What artist do you think should have been nominated who wasn’t? Leave your comments below.