ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) saluted the songwriters and publishers of Christian music’s most performed songs at its 33rd annual Christian Music Awards held March 28, 2011 at Richland Country Club in Nashville. These songwriters and publishers were honored before an audience of many distinguished songwriters, top Christian music stars and music industry leaders. Special tribute was paid to Third Day, who was honored with the ASCAP Vanguard Award.
The evening’s top honors were awarded to the following:
ASCAP Christian Songwriter of the Year: Dan Muckala
ASCAP Christian Songwriter/Artist of the Year: MercyMe
ASCAP Christian Song of the Year: “All of Creation,” written by Brown Bannister, Jim Bryson, Nathan Cochran, Barry Graul, Bart Millard, Dan Muckala, Mike Scheuchzer, and Robby Shaffer; published by Banistuci Music, Kobalt Songs, Simpleville Music and Wet As A Fish Music
ASCAP Christian Publisher of the Year: EMI CMG Publishing
A total of 22 most performed song honors were handed out while interspersed with several memorable performances by some of this year’s award winners. Those performances included “Your Love” by Brandon Heath, “My Own Little World” by Matthew West and two 2011 Dove Award nominees for Song of the Year: “Starry Night” by Chris August and “Lead Me” by Sanctus Real. In addition, a special musical tribute to Third Day included remarkable performances of a couple of the band’s hits by Dove nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year Kerrie Roberts, and newcomer Trevor Morgan.
ASCAP Vice President and Managing Executive, Nashville, Tim DuBois presented Dan Muckala with his first Songwriter of the Year award. Muckala penned three of the most performed songs of the past year: “All of Creation” (MercyMe), which also took home the award for Song of the Year, “Beautiful” (MercyMe) and “Light Up the Sky” (The Afters).
Collecting ASCAP Song of the Year honors for “All of Creation,” recorded by MercyMe, were writers Brown Bannister, Jim Bryson, Nathan Cochran, Barry Graul, Bart Millard, Dan Muckala, Mike Scheuchzer, and Robby Shaffer. The publishers for “All of Creation” are Banistuci Music, Kobalt Songs, Simpleville Music and Wet As A Fish Music. The song had a huge presence at radio, spending an extraordinary 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Christian charts.
MercyMe was honored with its first-ever ASCAP Songwriter/Artist of the Year award. In past years, the band has collectively taken home a total of 52 ASCAP Most Performed Song awards. Lead singer Bart Millard was named ASCAP's Christian Songwriter of the Year in both 2003 and 2004. This year, in addition to taking home Song of the Year for “All of Creation,” the members of MercyMe collected two Most Performed awards for “All of Creation” and “Beautiful.”
ASCAP Publisher of the Year honors went to EMI CMG Publishing who had six award-winning songs: “Before the Morning,” “I Will Follow,” “Jesus Saves,” “Lead Me,” “My Help Comes From the Lord” and “Our God.” Tim DuBois presented the award to EMI CMG Publishing’s Eddie DeGarmo. This is the eighth consecutive year EMI CMG has been honored with this award.
Tim DuBois and Terry Hemmings, President and CEO of Provident Music Group, presented Third Day with ASCAP’s Vanguard Award, which recognized the band for its “extraordinary impact on Christian music.” Third Day is the first Christian music artist to receive the ASCAP Vanguard Award. Past ASCAP Vanguard Award honorees include The Killers, Sara Bareilles, Santigold, All-American Rejects, Arcade Fire, The Mars Volta, Jack Johnson, The Strokes, Modest Mouse, Built To Spill, Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, Beck and Bjork.
Songwriters and artists in attendance included Third Day, Dan Muckala, Brandon Heath, Matthew West, Brown Bannister, Chris August, Sanctus Real, Ben Glover, Britt Nicole, Josh Wilson, Dave Barnes, Kerrie Roberts, Rusty Varenkamp, Mark Schultz, Jason Gray, Jonny Diaz, Trevor Morgan, Jamie Moore, Tony Wood, Cindy Morgan, Scott Davis and Moriah Peters.