The ASCAP Christian Music Awards recognized a star-studded lineup of artists, publishers, and songwriters last night (March 23) at The Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tenn.
ASCAP Nashville’s Michael Martin, LeAnn Phelan, Kele Currier, as well as ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, and EVP of Membership John Titta, were among those who honored the year’s most performed CCM songs from the PRO. Martin is also a Gospel Music Association board member.
After an emotional rendition of “The Maker” from Chris August to help kick off the evening, Williams welcomed a mix of writers, artists, and industry members. He also reiterated his belief in the fight that songwriters and PROs are making to change the restraints caused by outdated consent decrees.
“There is no reason why American songwriters are the most regulated small businessmen in the world. Applause is good but applause doesn’t feed the babies. We are fighting for all of you,” Williams said.
The evening’s attendees and participants included Francesca Battistelli, Ryan Stevenson and Love & The Outcome, who served as guest presenters, as well as ASCAP board member Desmond Child, for King & Country, Jason Gray, ASCAP board member Wayland Holyfield, Unspoken, and more.
Matthew West, who was named ASCAP’s Christian Music Songwriter of the Year last year, earned the title of Christian Music Songwriter-Artist of the Year during last night’s festivities. This marks West’s second Songwriter-Artist of the Year honor. He also earned three ASCAP most-performed song honors, for his own single, “Do Something,” as well as for “Pushing Back the Dark” (recorded by Josh Wilson) and “Thrive” (Casting Crowns). Last year, West took home the ASCAP Christian Music Song of the Year honor for his own hit single, “Hello My Name Is.”
“I started out with a mission to reach the lost,” West told the crowd after accepting the Songwriter-Artist of the Year honor. “I’ve come full circle because I get to play each night and sometimes it is singing to the choir, but it’s a broken choir. All of these songs are speaking life and truth to a broken choir.” He recalled reading the book Letters To A Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke. “The challenge in the book is an older poet talking to a younger poet, and he’s trying find out why the younger poet wants to write. The older poet tells him he writes because he is compelled to write, because life to him is not the same without it. As songwriters, we write because we must write.”
Capitol CMG was named Publisher of the Year for the the 13th consecutive year. The publishing company notched numerous hits over the past year, including nine award-winning songs, “Back to You,” “I Am,” “Speak Life,” “All The People Said Amen,” “My Heart Is Yours,” “Your Grace Finds Me,” “Holding Nothing Back,” “Greater,” and “Write Your Story.” Capitol CMG Executive Vice President Casey McGinty and his team were on hand to accept the award.
Song of the Year went to “This Is Amazing Grace,” penned by Phil Wickham, Josh Farro and Jeremy Riddle, and performed by Phil Wickham.
Ben Glover and David Garcia tied for ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter of the Year honors. The co-writing and co-producing duo also earned ASCAP most-performed song awards for Francesca Battistelli’s “Write Your Story,” Mandisa’s “Back to You” and Mercy Me’s “Greater.” Garcia celebrated his first Songwriter of the Year Award, while Glover claimed his fourth. The two previously co-wrote and produced Mandisa’s 2013 Grammy Award-winning single “Overcomer” and have more than 30 chart-topping hits between them.
Performances during the event included acoustic renditions from songwriters Travis Ryan and Matt Hooper (“We Believe”), Josh Farro (“This Is Amazing Grace”), Ryan Stevenson (“Speak Life”), and Hillsong United’s Matt Crocker and Jad Gillies (“Oceans”).
- CMA Honors Robert Deaton With Chairman’s Award - December 4, 2020
- Nashville Symphony, Nashville Musicians Association Reach Agreement - December 4, 2020
- Zach Williams’ “Chain Breaker” Is Most-Added On ‘MusicRow’ CountryBreakout Radio Chart - December 4, 2020