Ethan Hulse, “Who You Say I Am,” Essential Music Publishing Top BMI Christian Awards

BMI honored its top songwriters and publishers in Christian music recently. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, BMI has been honoring its top songwriters from the past year across all genres via online platforms in lieu of traditional in-person ceremonies.

Among this year’s BMI Christian Music Awards honorees, the Song of the Year title went to “Who You Say I Am,” written by Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan and published by Capitol CMG Publishing and Hillsong MP Songs. The song was nominated for Top Christian Song at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards and won the GMA Dove Award for Worship Song of the Year in 2019. It peaked at No. 2 and spent an impressive 109 weeks on the Billboard US Christian Songs Chart.

For the second year in a row, the Songwriter of the Year award went to Ethan Hulse, who wrote “Confidence,” “Haven’t Seen It Yet,” “Known” and “Scars.” In 2019, Hulse won his first BMI Award and was simultaneously named Songwriter of the Year.

Essential Music Publishing took home the Publisher of the Year award. The company had the highest percentage of copyright ownership among the year’s most-performed songs, including the hits “Confidence,” “Even Then,” “Freedom Hymn,” “Haven’t Seen It Yet,” “Known,” “Living Hope,” “Only Jesus,” “Resurrecting,” “Scars,” “Survivor,” “Till I Found You,” and “What a Friend.”

In addition to the major award winners, BMI is also paying homage to the Twenty-Five Most Performed Christian Songs of the Year (2019). This year’s group of inspirational winners featured 14 first-time award winners, including Jeff Bumgardner (“Even Me”), Austin French (“Freedom Hymn”), Gareth Gilkeson (“Counting Every Blessing”), Lyn Rowell (“I Believe He’s Alive”), and Shane Stevens (“Beat Up Bible”), among others. Veteran Christian artist and six-time Songwriter of the Year winner TobyMac took home his 29th award for “Everything.”

“I look forward to the BMI Christian Awards every year, and 2020 is no exception,” says Leslie Roberts, Executive Director, Creative, BMI Nashville. “This year has been a difficult one for so many reasons. I am thrilled to be able to celebrate and honor these songs that are so full of hope and have brought comfort to so many during this tumultuous time in our world.”


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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 [email protected]

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