The nominees for the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards were announced on Friday, December 6th and, in Gospel and Christian music, several artists landed multiple nominations. Tasha Cobbs, Mandisa, Natalie Grant, Chris Tomlin and Matt Maher each got 2 nods for serving up great music this year.
But it is Tye Tribbett who leads the pack with a total of 3 nominations– “If He Did It Before… Same God” scored a look in both the Best Gospel Song and Best Gospel/CCM Performance categories, and his Greater Than album is nominated for Best Gospel Album. Tye is known for pushing the musical envelope, thinking outside of the box… and doing every other idiom you can think of to demonstrate innovation and musical excellence. I wouldn’t be surprised if he lands at least one of those when the awards are announced in January.
I also think Mandisa’s got to nab at least one of her two nominations. She’s up for Best Gospel/CCM Performance and Best CCM Album (I should also note– her hit single, “Overcomer,” is nominated for Best CCM Song and I think it might win there, but she didn’t write it so I’m not including it in the count for her nominations). This has been a major year for Mandisa, with mainstream looks aplenty for “Overcomer.” From a live performance and subsequent video premiere on Good Morning America, to an appearance on Katie Couric’s show and even a national anthem opp on Sunday Night Football, the market’s love for her, this song and its message have catapulted Mandisa to the top of the marketplace.
I’m thinking the Best Gospel Song award could go to “Break Every Chain” by Tasha Cobbs. As you probably know, her career-breaking hit single is a remake of a tune first made popular by the worship band Jesus Culture. It says something about the strength of the song that it is being sung in congregations across the nation, of all ethnicities and cultural make-ups. Whether Tasha’s version or Jesus Culture’s original, it’s got major momentum and major impact.
As a quick aside, there a few noteworthy artists, albums and songs missing from the nominations that I think should definitely be recognized for their impact on the Gospel marketplace this year. Isaac Carree had great success with his hit single, ”Clean This House,” from the RESET album, as did Hezekiah Walker, whose smash single, “Every Praise,” is still reigning atop the radio charts.
Also of note is the absence of any Christian hip-hop among this year’s nominees. Andy Mineo’s Heroes for Sale, in particular, had the industry buzzing when it was released in April of this year, debuting at #1 on the Gospel and Christian charts, as well as #11 on the Billboard 200 and #3 on iTunes over all genres. I chalk it up to Christian hip-hop’s unending battle to gain equal footing among a still vocals-driven genre of music. They’ve come a long way– without any radio presence whatsoever, might I add– but there are more miles to go.
Still, I’m glad to see that this list is a pretty solid representation of what has been happening in Gospel music this year. Erica Campbell’s quartet-funk ”A Little More Jesus,” has proven to be not only a good career move (a groundbreaking solo debut apart from multiple GRAMMY-winning sister duo Mary Mary), but just a bona fide hit at its core. Donald Lawrence’s Best for Last project is an embodiment of everything that’s “right” about this genre. Natalie Grant’s latest album, Hurricane, features vocals and musicality that is virtually unparalleled in the genre (as always). And Chris Tomlin did it again with Burning Lights. And by “it,” I mean “offered heart-piercing music that has become the soundtrack for worship across the nation.”
The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards will air live from Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 8pm ET. The Gospel and Christian music awards will be awarded during the annual pre-telecast, which will stream on GRAMMY.com before the awards show begins. Click here for a full list of all of this year’s nominees.
GospelPundit.com is the official Gospel Blogger for the GRAMMYs and we will be on-site to give you up-to-the-minute coverage!
What do you think of the nominees???