The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)honored the songwriters and publishers of Christian music's most performed songs of the past year at the 39th annual ASCAP Christian Music Awards on Tuesday, September 19th, at the Franklin Theatre in downtown Franklin, Tennessee. The evening was hosted by ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews, ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, Executive Vice President of Membership John Titta and Vice President of Nashville Membership Michael Martin, before an audience of distinguished songwriters, Christian music stars and music industry leaders.
Top honors were awarded to the following:
- ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter of the Year: Matthew West
- ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter-Artist of the Year: Joel Smallbone (of For King & Country)
- ASCAP Christian Music Song of the Year: "The River," written by Colby Wedgeworth, published by Colby Wedgeworth Music and Fair Trade Music Publishing
- ASCAP Christian Music Publisher of the Year: Capitol CMG Publishing
Country music star Reba McEntire made a special appearance to present the Song of the Year award to writer Colby Wedgeworth and publisher Fair Trade Music. Performances included Jordan Feliz with Wedgeworth on "The River;" Hannah Kerr, "Warrior;" Ryan Stevenson, "Eye of the Storm;" Emily Weisband, "Thy Will;" and Matthew West with Randy Phillips (of Phillips, Craig and Dean) on "Tell Your Heart to Beat Again." A total of 24 most-performed song awards were presented by Martin along with ASCAP Senior Creative Director Mike Sistad, Director of Strategic Services Kele Currier and Creative Manager Beth Brinker.
West earned his second ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter of the Year award, having previously claimed the title in 2014. He also earned three ASCAP most-performed song awards for his own chart-topping single, "Mended," as well as "One Step Away," recorded by Casting Crowns and "Tell Your Heart to Beat Again," recorded by Danny Gokey.
Joel Smallbone earned his first ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter-Artist of the Year award and two ASCAP most-performed song awards for hits "Priceless" and "It's Not Over Yet," recorded by For King & Country.
ASCAP Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Matthews presented the ASCAP Christian Music Publisher of the Year Award to Capitol CMG Publishing, which claimed the title for the 15th consecutive year with an impressive nine award-winning titles. Capitol CMG Executive Vice President Casey McGinty and his team were on hand to accept the award.
Notable songwriters and artists in attendance included Mike Gomez, Chad Mattson & Jon Lowry (Unspoken), Randy Phillips (Phillips, Craig and Dean) Jodi King and Chris Rademaker of Love & The Outcome, Jonny Diaz, 2016 ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter of the Year Ben Glover, songwriter David Garcia and more.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With more than 625,000 members representing more than 10 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com, on Twitter @ASCAP and on Facebook.