BMI saluted the writers and publishers of the past year’s most performed songs on Christian radio and television during the annual Christian Music Awards at the company’s Music Row offices Saturday, April 18 in Nashville. Donald Lawrence was named the 2009 Christian Songwriter of the Year, while “Never Would Have Made It,” co-written by Pastor Marvin Sapp and Matthew Brownie, garnered Song of the Year honors. Universal Music Publishing Group garnered its second consecutive Christian Publisher of the Year crown. BMI Vice President Jody Williams, along with Senior Director Thomas Cain and Associate Director Beth Mason, of BMI’s Writer/Publisher Relations Department in Nashville, presented awards spanning five categories: Christian Rock, Contemporary Christian, Inspirational, Urban Gospel and Southern Gospel. BMI Senior Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Phil Graham joined his staff on stage for the presentation of the night’s top honors, Song, Songwriter, and Publisher of the Year.
Prior to the presentation of awards, guests enjoyed a round of intimate performances from a selection of Christian music’s elite composers and rising stars. 2009 Dove New Artist of the Year nominee Fee front man Steve Fee delivered an acoustic rendition of BMI Award-winner “All Because Of Jesus," and songwriters Jim Daddario and Catt Gravitt, joined by Jim Kimball on guitar, performed their BMI Award-winning composition “In Better Hands,” recorded by Natalie Grant.
Prolific producer, choir director and songwriter Donald Lawrence earned the BMI Songwriter of the Year crystal thanks to his compositions “Giants,” recorded by Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers, and “Livin’,” recorded by the legendary Clark Sisters. A profoundly influential figure in contemporary gospel music, Lawrence was also an honoree at the prestigious BMI Trailblazers of Gospel ceremony in January of this year.
The impassioned testimonial “Never Would Have Made It” garnered the BMI Song of the Year honors for Stellar Award-winner and Grammy-nominated Pastor Marvin Sapp and his esteemed collaborator Matthew Brownie. Recorded by Pastor Sapp on his critically acclaimed album Thirsty, “Never Would Have Made It” was published by Marvin L. Sapp Music and Minstrel Melodies. Pastor Sapp will also vie for the Artist of the Year title at the 2009 Dove Awards on April 23 in Nashville.
The ceremony also feted Publisher of the Year Universal Music Publishing Group (Bridge Building Music, Universal Music-Z Songs). The award is determined by the highest percentage of copyright ownership in award songs, and the company’s four award-winning songs include Donald Lawrence’s two award-winners, as well as “Give Me Words to Speak,” written and performed by Aaron Shust, and “Love Song for a Savior,” co-written and recorded by Matt Bronleewe, Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, and Steve Mason of Jars of Clay.
2007 BMI Christian Songwriter of the Year Mark Hall and Skillet’s John Cooper and Brian Howes (SOCAN) all garnered two awards each. The night’s other big winners included genre-bender tobyMac; genre titan Steven Curtis Chapman; Sanctus Real producer Chris Stevens and Sanctus Real member Dan Gartley; Scott Campbell, guitarist for rock outfit Mainstay; singer-songwriter Matt Maher and Needtobreathe’s Bo Rinehart.
In addition to Universal Music Publishing Group, publishers winning multiple awards were EMI Christian Music Group (EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc., River Oaks Music Company, Sparrow Song, Worship Together Music), Club Zoo Music, Inc., My Refuge Music, SWECS Music, Q W Publishing, Christian Taylor Music, Photon Music, and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
2009 Christian Music Awards Song List
The Most Performed Songs on Christian Radio during 2008
ALL BECAUSE OF JESUS Steve Fee LeviBear Music Worship Together Music Fee INO Records
BE STILL Ron McClelland Jordan Mohilowski Lucio "Lu" Rubino EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc. Everything and More Music Miracle In My Hand Music Publishing Ronbasix Publishing StorySide: B Gotee
BELIEVE Scott Campbell River Oaks Music Company Mainstay BEC Recordings/Tooth & Nail Records
EAST TO WEST Mark Hall Club Zoo Music, Inc. My Refuge Music SWECS Music Casting Crowns Provident
EVERY MAN Mark Hall Club Zoo Music, Inc. My Refuge Music SWECS Music Casting Crowns Provident
GIANTS Donald Lawrence Q W Publishing Universal Music-Z Songs Donald Lawrence presents the Tri-City Singers EMI Gospel
GIVE ME WORDS TO SPEAK Aaron Shust Bridge Building Music White Spot Publishing Aaron Shust Brash Music
HE'S DONE ENOUGH Tim "Bishop" Brown J Robersongs Music Tim Brownz Music Beverly Crawford Diamante Music Group
I CAN PRAY Nathan Markee Asheville Music Publishing Chris White Music Dove Brothers Sonlite Records
I'M FOR YOU Toby McKeehan Achtober Songs tobyMac CMG/ForeFront
I'VE BEEN CHANGED Earl Galloway Jeff Steele Christian Taylor Music OSMR Songs Sunset Gallery Music Legacy Five Daywind Records/Daywind Music Group
IN BETTER HANDS Jim Daddario Thom Hardwell Jim Daddario Music Thom Hardwell Music Natalie Grant Curb Records
LAST NIGHT Marcia Henry Christian Taylor Music Marcia Henry Music Karen Peck Gooch & New River Daywind Records/Daywind Music Group
THE LAST NIGHT John Cooper Brian Howes (SOCAN) EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc. Photon Music Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. Skillet Atlantic/INO/Ardent
LIVIN' Donald Lawrence Q W Publishing Universal Music-Z Songs The Clark Sisters EMI Gospel
LOVE IS HERE Drew Middleton DMiddleton Publishing Tenth Avenue North Provident
LOVE SONG FOR A SAVIOR Matt Bronleewe Dan Haseltine Charlie Lowell Steve Mason Bridge Building Music Pogostick Music Jars of Clay Essential/Legacy
NEVER WOULD HAVE MADE IT Matthew Brownie Marvin Sapp Marvin L. Sapp Music Minstrel Melodies Marvin Sapp Zomba
NO DOUBT SALVATION Jeff Weeks Pisgah Ridge Music Palmetto State Quartet Sonlite Records
THE OLDER I GET John Cooper Brian Howes (SOCAN) EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc. Photon Music Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. Skillet Atlantic/INO/Ardent
THE ROCK'S BETWEEN A HARD PLACE AND YOU Dianne Wilkinson Niles Borop Music Kingdom Heirs Sonlite Records
WASHED BY THE WATER Bo Rinehart Needtobreathe Music Needtobreathe Word Entertainment
WE NEED EACH OTHER Dan Gartley Chris Stevens Olde Irish Publishing Regisfunk Music River Oaks Music Company Sanctus Real Sparrow Records
YOU REIGN Steven Curtis Chapman Peach Hill Songs Sparrow Song MercyMe INO Records
YOUR GRACE IS ENOUGH Matt Maher River Oaks Music Company spiritandsong.com Publishing Matt Maher Provident