Laura Story is having a kudos-filled month.
Slightly more than a week after nabbing her first Grammy Award for best contemporary Christian music song for “Blessings,” Story, a worship leader at Perimeter Church in Johns Creek, scored five nominations for this year’s Dove Awards – Christian music’s most treasured acknowledgement.
The nominees for the 43rd annual ceremony, to be held for the second year in Atlanta on April 19 at the Fox Theatre, were revealed Wednesday morning across the street from the venue in the Georgian Terrace hotel.
A trio of Christian artists – quadruple nominee Jamie Grace, champion wrestler AJ Styles and hip-hopper-turned-minister Montell Jordan – announced the competitors in key categories in more than 40 categories.
Grace performed her nominated “Hold Me,” with her sister Morgan playing guitar.
“I remember sitting at the kitchen table holding the antenna so I could watch the Doves and hear Natalie Grant sing,” the 20-year-old singer-songwriter said, smiling in her pink cowboy boots.
The show returns to the Fox after a sold-out event last year that garnered more than 1.5 million viewers when it later aired on the Gospel Music Channel. Prior to its Atlanta debut, the Doves had always been held in Tennessee.
“It was such a great experience,” said Jackie Patillo, executive director of the Gospel Music Association, which presents the Doves. “A lot of Christian artists are based here and we received a lot of support from the churches. We had to come back.”
Story, meanwhile, is up for song of the year for “Blessings,” as well as female vocalist of the year, pop/contemporary song and album and the coveted artist of the year, won last year by Canton-based Francesca Battistelli.
The sweet-voiced Battistelli is back this year, too, and will compete with Story for female vocalist honors (along with Kari Jobe, Mandisa and Natalie Grant) and pop/contemporary album with her “Hundred More Years” release.
Others in the running for artist of the year are McDonough-based Casting Crowns (which landed two other nominations); Atlanta’s Lecrae; Jason Crabb, who leads the Dove nominations with eight; and The Isaacs.
Chris Tomlin, a worship leader at Atlanta’s Passion City Church, is also following up his inaugural Grammy win with a trio of Dove nominations for male vocalist of the year, praise and worship album (“And if Our God is For Us…”) and short form video (“I Lift My Hands”).
Another local artist making a big sound is newcomer Grace, a student at Point University, a Christian college in East Point.
Grace, who was also just nominated for her first-ever Grammy, will try to score wins for song of the year and pop/contemporary song (“Hold Me”), new artist and pop/contemporary album (“One Song at a Time”).
Other nominees in the massive song of the year category are Natalie Grant (“Alive,” “Your Great Name”); the Perrys (“Celebrate Me Home”); Casting Crowns (“Glorious Day [Living He Loved Me]”); Kirk Franklin (“I Smile”); Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (“I’ve Been Here Before”); Gaither Vocal Band (“Please Forgive Me”); and Jason Crabb (“Who Am I”).
Area singers popped up in a couple of other categories: Canton Jones will vie for urban recorded song of the year with “Windows” – also a recent Grammy nominee – while Karen Peck & New River, of Dahlonega, is up for country recorded song (“Good Things are Happening”) and southern gospel album (“Reach Out”) and Jeff and Sheri Easter are nominated for country recorded song of the year (”I Get To”).
Here’s a complete list of nominees.