Chapman, Mullen, McKeehan, St. James Each Snag Eight Dove Nominations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (EP) - Several of Christian music's leading artists shared top honors at nominations for the 33rd annual Dove Awards on Jan. 23. Steven Curtis Chapman, Nicole C. Mullen, Toby McKeehan and Rebecca St. James each received eight nominations.

The 33rd annual Dove Awards will be held on April 25th at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. They are presented by the Gospel Music Association, and are Christian music's equivalent of the Grammy Awards.

"2001 was a tremendously successful year for contemporary Christian and gospel music and that is reflected in the Dove Award nominations, which include many of the top-selling artists of the year," said Gospel Music Association President Frank Breeden. "Our industry's success is due in part to its many different musical expressions and that diversity is on display, as the music our top nominees made ranged from pop to urban, rap/hip-hop to praise and worship and rock music."

Four artists took eight nominations each, followed by Michael W. Smith with seven. Third Day earned six nominations. Kirk Franklin, Selah, producer Brown Bannister and new artist Shaun Groves each received five nominations. Earning four nominations were Point of Grace, Fred Hammond, Shirley Caesar, the Benjamin Gate, and producer Monroe Jones. More than 25 artists earned three or more nominations.

Five artists are vying for "Artist of the Year" honors. Between them, Steven Curtis Chapman, Nicole C. Mullen, P.O.D., Michael W. Smith and Third Day had combined sales of more than three million units in 2001. Third Day and P.O.D. also received nods in the "Group of the Year" category along with Point of Grace, Avalon and Selah. Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith will compete for "Male Vocalist" alongside Third Day's Mac Powell, David Phelps and Mark Schultz. Nicole C. Mullen's fellow "Female Vocalist" nominees include Nichole Nordeman, Rebecca St. James, CeCe Winans and Natalie Grant.

Founded in 1964, the Gospel Music Association is dedicated to educating the public and the music industry concerning the mission and role of gospel music in today's world. The Dove Awards is the premiere television awards show for the contemporary Christian and gospel music industry, recognizing achievement in all genres of gospel music.

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