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Chris Tomlin wins big at Dove Awards

Natalie Grant finally wins after several nominations
/ Source: The Associated Press

Chris Tomlin won male vocalist and song of the year honors at Wednesday’s 37th annual Dove Awards while Natalie Grant was named top female vocalist.

“I tried out in college for the singing group and the director said, ’You’ll do anything in life but sing, Chris. ... So this is pretty cool,” Tomlin said in accepting the male vocalist award. “I never felt like a great singer, but if God could use this voice to lead people to worship God, then I’m grateful for that.”

Tomlin led all nominees with 10, including artist of the year. He won song of the year for “How Great Is Our God.”

Grant’s win was her first Dove after several nominations.

“I was Susan Lucci there for a while, wasn’t I?” she cracked, referring to the TV soap opera actress’s longtime losing streak at the Daytime Emmy awards.

Grant said when she was told she also had been nominated for artist of the year, she tried not to get too excited because “I thought they were going to call me back and say it was Amy Grant.”

Steven Curtis Chapman won his 50th award, the most of any artist in gospel music history, for special event album of the year for “Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

In his honor, David Crowder, Jeremy Camp, Casting Crowns’ Mark Hall and Third Day’s Mac Powell performed an acoustic set of Chapman’s music.

Chapman was visibly moved, hugging his wife and tearing up.

“I spent most of my last 21 years trying to find new and deeper ways to try to articulate the message of the Gospel,” Chapman said afterward. “It’s all about Jesus — this music and what he’s allowed me to be part of.”

Grant, Relient K, David Crowder Band, Joy Williams, BarlowGirl, Switchfoot, Jeremy Camp, Casting Crowns, the Crabb Family and Israel Houghton also received multiple nominations from the Gospel Music Association.

“We’re so thankful for what God has done this last year,” said Jason Crabb of the Crabb Family, which won for Southern Gospel album, “Live at Brooklyn Tabernacle.”

“We’re seeing a lot of great things take place, hundreds of lives a night coming to the altar and changing their thought process,” Crabb said.

Singers Kirk Franklin and Rebecca St. James hosted the 37th annual awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House.