Iconic artist CeCe Winans made Dove Awards history this year as the first Black female solo artist to win Artist of the Year. When accepting her award, instead of an acceptance speech, she sang a few lines from the hymn “To God Be The Glory,” moving many in the audience to tears. She and co-writers for “Believe For It” were also awarded Song of the Year. Throughout her incredible career, CeCe has won a staggering 25 Dove Awards including the very first New Artist of the Year award in 1988 with her brother BeBe Winans.
The night was packed with one-of-a-kind performances, moments of reverent worship, and joyful celebration. In a touching, personal moment, TobyMac paused before his performance of “The Goodness” with Blessing Offor to address the crowd. “Thank you for the kindness you showed me and my family as we walked through the deepest valley in losing my firstborn son. Thank you for your thoughts and thank you for your prayers. We have felt surrounded by love. And that’s what the body of Christ should feel like, so thank you. There were times I never thought I would ever write another song, much less an up-tempo song or a song that felt like joy. But God is good. He might not always give us what we want, or take away the pain, but He is right here with us. He doesn’t leave. He remains.”
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Photo highlights from the night can be found here.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR: CeCe Winans
Select quotes from the 53rd Annual GMA Dove Awards:
“It’s amazing when we come together and we love each other and we stand for righteousness, it’s amazing what God will do. It’s amazing what He’s already done. But He wants to do so much more. I’m believing for God to move in this industry greater than He ever has before. The God we serve responds to faithfulness and the testimonies I’ve heard through this song have blessed my life. I want us to understand that the God of miracles is still working miracles. So keep believing.” – CeCe Winans accepting the award for Song of the Year
“I’ve been leading worship since I was 12 years old. I can’t believe God would give me a voice beyond the walls of my church to write new prayers for the church to sing. It’s just another reason to remember God’s grace and faithfulness in our lives.” – Phil Wickham accepting the award for Worship Album of the Year
“When we sing together in every language and from every nation, it’s literally the sound of heaven. It’s literally a picture of heaven because one day we’ll all be singing around the throne of heaven. It shows the beautiful diversity in the kingdom of God.” – Marcos Witt presenting the award for Spanish Language Recorded Song of the Year
“This project was an intentional move to get together and collaborate with people that didn’t look like everybody else. It was an intentional opportunity for us to get together and write songs, not just hand someone a song and say here sing this. We said, let’s get together and you write what the Lord’s doing in you and I’ll write what the Lord’s doing in me and let’s put it together.” – Naomi Raine from Maverick City Music accepting the award for Gospel Worship Recorded Song of the Year
“This is our first Dove Award we’ve ever received. How humble we are to be mentioned alongside these other artists. This record was made with the idea that the greatest evidence of the existence of God is the changed life of a Christ follower. Thank you so much.” – Levi Mills from The Sound accepting the award for Bluegrass/Country/Roots Album of the Year
“I’m so grateful for the power of songs and specifically ‘My Jesus.’ This song has impacted so many lives. A woman recently shared with me that she was struggling to continue with life. She heard ‘My Jesus’ come on the radio and decided to give her life to Jesus. That’s the power that songs have, especially songs that glorify the Lord.” – Anne Wilson accepting the award for Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year
The 53rd Annual GMA Dove Awards are produced by the Gospel Music Association. Jackie Patillo and Justin Fratt serve as showrunners and executive producers, alongside Curtis Stoneberger and Paul Wright as producers. Russell E. Hall returns as director, Michael Nolan as scriptwriter, Scott Moore and Go Live Productions as production manager.