Songwriter Colby Wedgeworth earned his first ASCAP Christian Songwriter of the Year honor Monday evening (Oct. 15) during this year’s annual ASCAP Christian Music Awards, held in Franklin, Tennessee. In the past year, Wedgeworth has had five of the most-performed CCM songs, including “Beloved,” “Old Church Choir,” “Unfinished,” “Whole Heart,” and “Word of Life.”
“Thank you to Matthew [West] and Ben Glover for letting someone else win this year,” he quipped. “I grew up on Christian music, and always wanted to do this, so it’s an honor to be working alongside all of you.”
The ASCAP award is just the beginning of a week filled with nominations and honors, as Wedgeworth is also the leading nominee going into Tuesday’s Dove Awards, with eight nominations. In 2017, Wedgeworth’s “The River,” co-written with and recorded by Jordan Feliz, was honored as the ASCAP Song of the Year.
The ASCAP Christian Music Song of the Year went to “Even If,” penned by Glover, David Garcia, and Crystal Lewis, and recorded by MercyMe. The track is published by 9 T One Songs, All Essential Music, Capitol CMG Publishing Group, Crystallized, D Soul Music, and Let’s Be Beautiful. Co-writer and five-time ASCAP Christian Songwriter of the Year Glover performed an acoustic version of the song.
Several members of ASCAP’s leadership team were on hand, including Paul Williams, Michael Martin, John Titta, Beth Brinker, Mike Sistad, and Nicole George-Middleton.
For the 16th consecutive year, Capitol CMG Publishing earned the title of ASCAP Christian Music Publisher of the Year, having earned seven award-winning songs this year, including “Even If,” “Forgiven,” “Live Like You’re Loved,” “Love Broke Thru,” “Oh My Soul,” “The Gospel,” and “Unfinished.” Capitol CMG Executive Vice President Casey McGinty and his team were on hand to accept the award.
Two special honors went to Twila Paris and the Gospel Music Association. The GMA was honored with the ASCAP Partners in Music Award.
“I get to serve with an incredible group of people,” said GMA’s Jackie Patillo, who noted that more than 1.7 million people watched last year’s GMA Dove Awards. “This is a sweet night for us.”
Twila Paris, who has earned 33 No. 1 hits and has been with ASCAP since 1981, was honored with the ASCAP Golden Note Award. Steve Green was on hand to honor Paris, as was trio Selah, who performed a medley of Paris’ signature hits, as well as her classic “How Beautiful.”
A total of 19 most-performed song awards were presented during the show, while invited guests enjoyed additional live performances from Matthew West, Jason Houser and A.J. Pruis (“Broken Things”) and the choir from Dickson, Tennessee’s First Baptist Church (“Old Church Choir”). Loren Patterson, a seven-year-old member of the choir, became an accidental media star when a video clip of her dancing during a performance of “Old Church Choir” went viral.
Other artists in attendance during the ASCAP Christian Music Awards include Ryan Stevenson, David Dunn, David Crowder, Unspoken and Emily Weisband.
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