Natalie Grant and Daughters

Natalie Grant and her twin daughters, Gracie and Bella

Each year, the press room backstage at the Dove Awards is teeming with a host of diverse artists and industry professionals. Both national and local media (everyone from freelancers and bloggers to major local and national journalists) stake out the best spots at the tables in front of the press room stage with their laptops, cameras and recorders on ready. Publicists fill the chairs behind them, waiting to be retrieved if their artist wins. Videographers line the platform in the back. The actual show is on mute on two large monitors. Meanwhile, those planted in and passing through the room get the latest personal and professional details from the artists themselves–some winners, some nominees, some performers. Here’s the scoop we gathered from this year’s press room (in no particular order):

  • Although he won a Dove for Songwriter of the Year, Chris Tomlin was not in attendance…and for good reason. Tomlin’s wife, Lauren, gave birth to the couple’s second child–a daughter–the evening prior to the awards ceremony. Madison Amore Tomlin joins big sister Ashlyn as the award-winning songwriter’s two biggest achievements to date.
  • “Oceans” is still perhaps the biggest song and story of the year. No surprises there! Ironically, it was the last track handed in for Zion, and prior to recording the song, the regular members of UNITED had never heard Taya Smith sing.
  • MercyMe‘s “I Can Only Imagine” was recently certified double platinum. Bassist Nathan Cochran stated, “It’s a song that’s bigger than us.”
  • Al & Lisa Robertson, who were Dove presenters, unveiled The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible compiled by Al and Phil, who served as executive editors on the project now available through Thomas Nelson.

    Al and Lisa Robertson

    Duck Dynasty’s Al and Lisa Robertson

  • TobyMac and Newsboys are in talks about touring together this spring. “We might bring Kevin out of retirement,” hinted Michael Tait.
  • Jonathan McReynolds originally started recording music in his college dorm room. He made his first EP, thinking it would simply be a homemade Christmas gift for friends and family. “God does His own thing,” a humble McReynolds told the press. “God took me from straight anonymity to this… I’m just trying to handle every door with integrity and boldness.”
  • Newlywed Andy Mineo has officially been married for one month. His wife is currently traveling with him on tour with Lecrae. Incidentally, he says for KING & COUNTRY is one of the best live shows he’s seen. (He co-wrote the title track of the band’s new album with Joel and Luke Smallbone.)
  • KB will be hitting the road with Tenth Avenue North soon. Should be an interesting, diverse pairing.
  • The two cutest girls backstage were undoubtedly Natalie Grant‘s twin daughters, Bella and Gracie, who accompanied Mommy to the press room. Grant said this was their second time at the Doves. They first attended the Doves at only 7-weeks-old (backstage) the year their mom co-hosted with Bart Millard.
  •  Meredith Andrews is due with her first girl on Nov. 2. She has two little boys at home.

    Meredith Andrews and Vertical Church Band

    Meredith Andrews and Vertical Church Band

  • Kari Jobe says she doesn’t think she’s a bridezilla when it comes to planning her wedding, which is happening in a mere 45 days.
  • Jason Crabb is beginning work on his Provident Label Group debut. One song is “almost finished.” Meanwhile, he’s been writing with a long list of top songwriters, including Mia Fieldes, Tony Wood, Benji Cowart, Jacob Sooter and Jason Ingram, among others. He doesn’t consider himself a songwriter, so he added, “This is a new season for me.”
  • Bart Millard and Lecrae had trouble finding time to create their script for their hosting duties, so according to Millard they literally worked it all out the night before and ad libbed a vast majority of it.
  • Following the Doves, MercyMe is taking a seven-week break to be at home with their families before gearing up for the Rock & Worship Roadshow next year. During his time off, Millard says he’s “laying low, driving my kids to little league and swimming lessons. I’m gonna be a rockstar.”

The Dove Awards will air on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) this Sunday, Oct. 12. Check your local listings for times.