Songwriter Ethan Hulse, Be Essential Songs Top 2019 BMI Christian Awards

(L-R): BMI’s Jody Williams, Be Essential Songs’ Holly Zabka and Terry Hemmings, BMI’s Leslie Roberts, 2019 Song of the Year songwriter Ran Jackson, 2019 Songwriter of the Year Ethan Hulse, 2019 BMI Compass Award honoree Elwyn Raymer, Be Essential Songs’ Jamie Rodgers and BMI’s MaryAnn Keen (Photo: Steve Lowry)

It’s a great moment when any songwriter picks up their first BMI Award, but for Ethan Hulse, Tuesday evening’s (June 18) BMI Christian Awards ceremony brought not only his first, but his second, third and fourth BMI honors. The newcomer songwriter also earned the evening’s top award, Songwriter of the Year.

Hulse co-wrote songs including the gold-certified “Old Church Choir” (Zach Williams), “When We Pray” (Tauren Wells), “Whole Heart” (Brandon Heath) and “Word of Life” (Jeremy Camp).

BMI’s Jody Williams, Leslie Roberts and MaryAnn Keen hosted the evening to celebrate the top 25 songs played on U.S. Christian radio over the past year.

“I love celebrating the writers, publishers, and artists at this awards dinner,” said Roberts, Executive Director, Creative. “Every year I am blown away by our performances, and as always, I am honored to present awards to the writers and publishers of this genre.”

Comedian John Crist started the evening, poking good-natured fun at everything from the music industry to Christian weddings.

Mallary Hope, who has penned songs for Danny Gokey and Lauren Alaina among others, performed a song titled “Me,” inspired by her own journey to accept her musical identity. Hope penned “Me” alongside Jeff Pardo and Molly Reed.

Grammy winner Zach Williams has been on a hot streak since his debut single “Chain Breaker” released back in 2016. The song was certified gold and spent 15 weeks at No. 1 on the Christian chart, setting a record for the longest time a debut song from a Christian artist has spent at the chart’s pinnacle. He then expanded that chart streak with the followup single “Old Church Choir,” which spent 20 weeks at No. 1. During the BMI event, he offered his gold-certified “Fear Is A Liar.”

Koryn Hawthorne stunned the crowd with her powerful, soulful rendering of “Speak The Name.” Her single “Won’t He Do It” spent 41 weeks atop the Hot Gospel Songs chart. The song earned Hawthorne a Dove Award last year for Contemporary Gospel/Urban Recorded Song of the Year and a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance/Song.

Longtime CCM industry member Elwyn Raymer was honored with the BMI Compass Award for his contributions in the industry.

Song of the Year went to “Reckless Love,” recorded by Bethel Music, penned by Ran Jackson and published by Be Essential Songs and Richmond Park Publishing. The song hit number one on Billboard’s U.S. Hot Christian Songs chart and remained there for 18 weeks. The song spent 68 weeks in total on the chart, with 53 weeks in the Top 10.

Be Essential Songs, publisher home for Hulse and “Reckless Love” writer Ran Jackson, also earned Publisher of the Year, for earning the highest percentage of copyright ownership among the year’s most-performed songs.

Among the company’s published hits are “Different,” “Do It Again,” “Fear Is A Liar,” “God Of All My Days,” “Old Church Choir,” “O’Lord,” “Reckless Love” “When We Pray,” “Whole Heart,” “Word of LIfe,” “Your Love Defends Me,” and more.

A full list of songs honored during the evening are below:

ALL MY HOPE
Ed Cash
Alletrop Music
Map Catalogs

CLEAR SKIES
Ernie Haase
Wayne Haun
Joel Lindsey
Curb Dayspring Music
Ernie Sig Sound Music
Sea Smoke Music
Songs From The Inside
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

COME TO THE TABLE
Dave Frey
Ben McDonald
Curb Dayspring Music
Pencil Prophet Publishing
Run Run Milo
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

DIFFERENT
Micah Tyler
Be Essential Songs
Fair Trade Global Songs

DO IT AGAIN
Mack Brock
Chris Brown
Steven Furtick
Be Essential Songs
Music By Elevation Worship Publishing

FEAR IS A LIAR
Jonathan Smith
Zach Williams
Anthems of Hope
Be Essential Songs
Wisteria Drive Music

GOD OF ALL MY DAYS
Mark Hall
Be Essential Songs
My Refuge Music
Sparrow Song

GOD OF THE STORMS
Gerald Crabb
Christian Taylor Music
Clearbox Benefit
Gerald Crabb’s Songs

GRACE GOT YOU
Solomon Jerome Olds
Moon and Musky Music
Soul Glow Activator Music

HERE HE COMES
Joseph Habedank
Christian Taylor Music
Clearbox Benefit

I JUST NEED U.
Toby McKeehan
Blake NeeSmith
Achtober Songs
Harper and Hudson
House of Emack Music
Map Catalogs
River Oaks Music Company

JOY IN THE HOUSE
Marcia Henry
Barbara Ann Huffman
Christian Taylor Music
Clearbox Benefit
Sunset Gallery Music

OLD CHURCH CHOIR
Ethan Hulse
Zach Williams
Anthems of Hope
Be Essential Songs
EGH Music Publishing
Wisteria Drive Music

O’LORD
Joe Williams
Be Essential Songs
Sound District

POINT TO YOU
Darren Mulligan
Curb Dayspring Music
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

RECKLESS LOVE
Ran Jackson
Be Essential Songs
Richmond Park Publishing

RESURRECTION POWER
Tony Brown
Ed Cash
Alletrop Music
Bethel Worship Publishing
Capitol CMG Paragon
Map Catalogs
S.D.G. Publishing

SO WILL I (100 BILLION X)
Michael Fatkin (APRA)
Ben Hastings (APRA)
Joel Houston (APRA)
Capitol CMG Paragon

THANKFUL, SO THANKFUL
Lee Black
Scott Inman
Christian Taylor Music
Clearbox Benefit
Sunset Gallery Music

THE COMEBACK
Danny Gokey
Cameron James
BMG Platinum Songs
Creative Heart Publishing
Hello Darling Music

THE GOSPEL
Toby McKeehan
Achtober Songs
River Oaks Music Company

WHEN WE PRAY
Ethan Hulse
Tauren Wells
Be Essential Songs
Crucial Music Entertainment
EGH Music Publishing

WHOLE HEART
Brandon Heath
Ethan Hulse
Be Essential Songs
EGH Music Publishing
Haidaway Music
Songs of Kobalt Music Publishing, Inc.

WORD OF LIFE
Ethan Hulse
Be Essential Songs
EGH Music Publishing

YOUR LOVE DEFENDS ME
Matt Maher
Be Essential Songs
I am a Pilgrim Songs

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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