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GMA Dove Award

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Dove Award
Current: 54th GMA Dove Awards
Dove Awards logo
Awarded forChristian music industry achievement award
CountryUnited States
Presented byGospel Music Association
First awarded1969

A Dove Award is an accolade by the Gospel Music Association (GMA) of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the Christian music industry. The awards are presented annually. The awards have been held in Nashville, Tennessee every year except 2011 and 2012 when they were held in Atlanta, Georgia. The ceremonies feature live musical performances and are broadcast on TBN.

The awards were established in 1969, and represent a variety of musical styles, including rock, pop, hip hop, country, and urban.[1][unreliable source][2]


Stellar Kart at a press conference after the GMA Dove Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, in 2007

The Dove Awards were originally conceptualized by Gospel singer and songwriter Bill Gaither, at a Gospel Music Association board meeting in 1968. The idea of the award being represented by a dove is credited to Gaither and design for the award itself is credited to gospel singer Les Beasley and designer Bob McConnell.[3] The first GMA Dove Awards were held at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee in October 1969. In 1971, the awards moved to Nashville.

The 3rd GMA Dove Awards of 1971 were deemed invalid due to apparent ballot stuffing by the southern gospel group the Blackwood Brothers, and that year is still not considered an official awards year by the Gospel Music Association. There were no awards held in 1979, due to a decision by the Gospel Music Association to move the awards from autumn to spring. Every ceremony since has been held in the spring. The first televised ceremony was the 15th GMA Dove Awards of 1984, which aired on the Christian Broadcasting Network.[4]

The awards were held in Nashville until 2011 before being presented at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia in 2012.[2][5] They returned to Nashville in 2013, and have been held at the Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University since.[6][non-primary source needed][7][non-primary source needed]


Britt Nicole at the 2008 Dove Awards

Because of the large number of award categories (42 in 2012), and the desire to feature several performances by various artists, only the ones with the most popular interest are presented directly at the televised version of the award ceremony.[8][non-primary source needed]


The "General Field" includes seven awards which are not restricted by genre:

Other awards are given for performances in specific genres, as well as for other contributions such as artwork and video. As of the 43rd Dove Awards, these include:


  • Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year
  • Inspirational Album of the Year


Southern Gospel[edit]

  • Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year
  • Southern Gospel Album of the Year

Gospel (soul/black)[edit]

  • Traditional Gospel Recorded Song of the Year
  • Traditional Gospel Album of the Year
  • Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song of the Year
  • Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year


  • Musical of the Year
  • Youth/Children's Musical of the Year

Praise & Worship[edit]

Country & Bluegrass[edit]

  • Country Recorded Song of the Year
  • Country Album of the Year
  • Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year
  • Bluegrass Album of the Year


  • Rock Recorded Song of the Year
  • Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year
  • Rock Album of the Year
  • Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year

Rap/Hip Hop & Urban[edit]

  • Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year
  • Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year
  • Urban Recorded Song of the Year


  • Instrumental Album of the Year
  • Children's Music Album of the Year
  • Spanish Language Album of the Year
  • Special Event Album of the Year
  • Christmas Album of the Year
  • Choral Collection of the Year
  • Recorded Music Packaging
  • Short Form Music Video of the Year
  • Long Form Music Video of the Year
  • Inspirational Film of the Year

Re-definition of gospel music[edit]

In 1998 the GMA published a new definition of gospel music. According to the definition, to be considered eligible for the Dove Awards, music was required to have lyrics that were:

  • Substantially based upon historically orthodox Christian truth contained in or derived from the Holy Bible
  • An expression of worship of God or praise for His works
  • Testimony of relationship with God through Christ
  • Obviously prompted and informed by a Christian world view[9]

Prior to the definition, the only qualified music was that sold in Christian Booksellers Association affiliated stores. The new standards resulted in complaints by some fans and artists after thirteen entries were disqualified as being too secular in the 1999 Dove Awards. The rules were rescinded afterwards, and many groups disqualified by the rulings in 1999 were winners in 2000.[10][unreliable source]

The GMA's current policy states: "From time to time, screening judges may encounter product submissions that raise questions about whether or not the product's content is appropriate for the GMA Dove Awards. To assist the judges in their determination, the GMA Board has authorized the following content criteria for use in these instances: 'For purposes of GMA Dove Award eligibility, the content of all entries will be: based upon the historically orthodox Christian faith contained in or derived from the Holy Bible; or apparently prompted and informed by a Christian world-view.'"[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jones, Kim. "GMA Dove Awards History". About.com. Archived from the original on April 5, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Koonse, Emma (March 8, 2012). "Dove Awards 2012 Lineup Announced". The Christian Post. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  3. ^ "Dove Statuette | The 52nd Annual GMA Dove Awards". Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  4. ^ Cusic, Don (2010). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music: Pop, Rock, and Worship. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, LLC. pp. 111–113. ISBN 9780313344268. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  5. ^ Landrum, Jonathan Jr. (February 16, 2011). "Chris Tomlin, TobyMac lead Dove Award nominations". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "GOSPEL MUSIC ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES RETURN OF THE LEGENDARY GMA DOVE AWARDS TO NASHVILLE". GMA Dove Awards. Gospel Music Association. March 19, 2013. Archived from the original on July 7, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  7. ^ "FAQs". GMA Dove Awards. Gospel Music Association. Archived from the original on July 7, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  8. ^ "Nominees for the 43rd Annual GMA Dove Awards..." GMA Dove Awards. Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  9. ^ Sterling, Christopher H. (2004). Encyclopedia of Radio. New York City: Taylor & Francis. p. 619. ISBN 9780203484289. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  10. ^ Watkins, Terry. "GMA's "new" definition for Gospel music". Dial-the-Truth Ministries. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  11. ^ "GMA Dove Awards: 2019-2020 Policies & Procedures Manual" (PDF). doveawards.com. pp. 2–3. Retrieved April 10, 2020.

External links[edit]