|Matthew West grabs top honors at ASCAP Christian Music Awards|
|Written by Jeremy Burns|
|Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:55 AM America/New_York|
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 36th annual ASCAP Christian Music Awards. Matthew West won both of the top songwriter awards this year, while industry legends Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant received special career honors.
At the May 5 event held at the historic Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tenn., ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams presented songwriter-artists Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith with a special award in honor of ASCAP’s 100th anniversary. The ASCAP-commissioned short film, “Why We Create Music,” featuring Grant among many other notable members from across all genres, was screened at the event to commemorate ASCAP’s centennial.
West earned his second consecutive ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter of the Year award, due in large part to the major success of his single, “Hello My Name Is,” which spent a record-setting 17 weeks at the top of the Christian music charts and was named ASCAP’s 2014 Christian Music Song of the Year. He also earned an ASCAP most-performed song award for co-writing Casting Crowns’ “Already There.”
The ASCAP Christian Music Publisher of the Year award was presented to Capitol CMG Publishing, which claimed the title for the 11th consecutive year with 11 award-winning songs, including The Afters’ “Every Good Thing” and Mandisa’s “Overcomer.” Capitol CMG Publishing President Eddie DeGarmo and his team were on hand to accept the award.
Emerging Essential Records rock duo PawnShop Kings opened the show with “Love Like Jesus.” Other performances included MercyMe’s “You Are I Am;” West with his 2014 Christian Music Song of the Year, “Hello My Name Is;” and, in a special tribute to ASCAP’s top Christian music songs of the past 100 years, Smith and MercyMe’s Bart Millard performed a medley of worship standards “Awesome God” and “I Can Only Imagine.”
In a special awards segment in honor of ASCAP’s 100th anniversary, Smith and Grant were honored as “cornerstones of Christian music” for their groundbreaking 35-year careers and significant influence on the genre. Don Finto, pastor emeritus of Belmont Church and friend and mentor to Grant and Smith, and Brown Bannister, award-winning producer/engineer and friend of the duo, paid tribute to the pair, noting their enduring faith in God and devotion to serving others. Songwriter-artist Ashley Cleveland performed “Thy Word” in honor of Grant and Smith.