By Jim Patterson
The Associated Press
Reigning best artist Michael W. Smith and Toby McKeehan of the group dc Talk have a leading nine nominations apiece for the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards.
Mr. Smith, named the top artist in Christian music last year and in 1999, was nominated for best artist along with Steven Curtis Chapman, the groups MercyMe and Third Day, and tobyMac (a pseudonym that Mr. McKeehan performs under).
Mr. Smith also will compete for best male vocalist, inspirational recorded song for "Purified," praise and worship album for Worship Again, short form music video for There She Stands and long form music video for Worship.
Like many artists competing for Dove Awards, he got multiple nominations in several categories because he writes many of his own songs and is a producer on his albums and videos.
Mr. McKeehan's nominations included his work as artist and writer on two songs nominated for best rap recorded song: "J-Train" and "Irene." He wrote and sang "Get This Party Started," nominated for best modern rock song, and also was nominated in video categories.
Other multiple nominees included Kirk Franklin, Bebo Norman, Nichole Nordeman and Third Day.
"Toby, Michael and Kirk truly represent the depth and breadth of Christian and gospel music today," said Frank Breeden, outgoing president of the Gospel Music Association. "Their music, as our industry, spans the musical spectrum from worship to rap/hip-hop and urban gospel with many more styles in between."
Nominees for best female vocalist were Ms. Nordeman, Natalie Grant, former Cincinnatian Nicole C. Mullen, Rebecca St. James and Joy Williams.
Mr. Smith, Mr. Chapman, Mr. Norman, Mark Schultz and Mac Powell, of the group Third Day, were nominated for best male vocalist.
Best group nominees were Audio Adrenaline, MercyMe, Selah, Sixpence None the Richer and Third Day.
The awards show is set for April 10 in Nashville. The complete list of nominees is online at www.doveawards.com.
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