TobyMac is named ARTIST OF THE YEAR at the 44th Annual GMA Dove Awards

The 44th Annual GMA Doves Awards, hosted by Amy Grant and Kirk Franklin, were handed out last night at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena in celebration of Gospel and Christian music’s biggest night.

TobyMac, DiverseCity and Britt Nicole opened the show with a rousing performance of "Eye On It." Then, TobyMac was awarded the Dove for Pop Contemporary Album (Eye On It). He was also announced the winner in the last category of the evening - Artist of the Year. During the pre-show, "Eye On it" won in the category Short Form Video and the album Eye On It won in the category Recorded Music Packaging.

After being announced "Artist of the Year," TobyMac received a standing ovation and was joined on stage with his band, Diverse City. Responding to last night's four award wins, TobyMac said, "Writing songs that connect with people's lives is my heart. I always want to push musical boundaries but a song offering someone hope or understanding in struggle is my creative bulls eye. I am honored to be called 'Artist of the Year' and can only hope that it's an indication that my songs are hitting that mark."

Jamie Grace and Chris August were the co-hosts of the preshow ceremony where over 30 of the awards were received and outstanding performances by CT presented by International Crisis Aid. Both the preshow and the Dove Cares Red Carpet were streamed on www.hearitfirst.com/live.

The night’s 42 award presentations represent a wide-array of musical styles ranging from Gospel, Contemporary Christian, Rap/Hip-Hop, Urban, Country, Worship, Contemporary and Traditional Gospel, Rock, Pop, Bluegrass, Spanish Language and Inspirational categories.

The memberships of the GMA (Gospel Music Association) determine the winners in each category. Kraft CPA is the official accounting firm for the GMA.

The broadcast is to air Monday, October 21st at 8:00P.M./EDT exclusively on UP, America’s favorite network for uplifting entertainment. For a full list of winners, please visit www.doveawards.com.

[Photo credit: Getty Images]

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