NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Christian artist Tauren Wells won four awards including new artist and contemporary Christian artist of the year at the 49th annual Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards.
Wells, who was the former lead singer for Christian rock group Royal Tailor, performed “Known” from his solo debut album, “Hills and Valleys,” during Tuesday’s award show from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Wells also won awards for pop/contemporary album of the year and also got an award for being a featured artist on the rap/hip hop recorded song of the year with Social Club Misfits.
Wells accepted new artist of the year slightly out of breath, explaining that he had been backstage changing clothes when the award was announced and rushed to get to the stage without even knowing what award he had won.
“I am so grateful – what award is this?” Wells said. “New artist of the year?! Woah!”
Backstage after the show, Wells said that “Known” was about one of the God’s lessons for him about image.
“While it’s great to pose for all these pictures and getting to hold all these trophies, this doesn’t matter as much as what is happening inside our hearts,” Wells said.
Cory Asbury, a worship pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan, rode the success of his No. 1 Christian single “Reckless Love” to three awards for song of the year, worship song of the year and worship album of the year. He said the song has connected to a lot of people through church services and on the radio.
“I’ve been hearing crazy testimonies of people that say ‘I was suicidal and I was going to take my own life, and I heard this song and I felt the love of God for the first time,’” Asbury said. “Stories like that are why any of us do this.”
Songwriter Colby Wedgeworth also won three awards, including songwriter of the year, non-artist, for working with Wells on the “Hills and Valleys” record and for co-writing the pop/contemporary recorded song of the year, “Old Church Choir.”
Zach Williams won artist of the year and pop/contemporary recorded song of the year for his song “Old Church Choir,” and Tasha Cobb Leonard won gospel artist of the year and urban worship album.
Rap duo Social Club Misfits from Florida won rap/hip hop recorded song of the year for their song “War Cry,” a song they wrote after the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“We feel like anything that happens to our generation, we take it personally, so this song came from a place of just wanting to rally a generation,” said Martin Lorenzo Santiago, who goes by the stage name Marty, in the duo.
The show featured a couple of cross genre collaborations, including pop singer Tori Kelly singing with Kirk Franklin and country group Rascal Flatts singing with Jason Crabb. The show will air October 21 on TBN.