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GMA ANNOUNCES DOVE AWARD NOMINEES FOR SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR #doveawards

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -   The Gospel Music Association (GMA) announces the final nominees for the Dove Award for Songwriter of the Year, to be presented at the 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards. The nominees are Francesca Battistelli, Michael Boggs, Mike Donehey, Jason Ingram, Jennie Lee Riddle, and Neil Thrasher.

"Lyrics are what set Gospel music apart from any other music," states Ed Leonard, Chairman of the Board of the GMA. "It's all about the song, and we have some of the greatest songwriters in any form of music."

In addition to other songs they have written, each songwriter is nominated in the Song of the Year category. Battistelli penned her own tune "Free To Be Me," while Boggs and Thrasher co-wrote "Somebody Like Me," as sung by Jason Crabb. Donehey and Ingram, along with Philip LaRue, co-wrote Tenth Avenue North's "By Your Side" and Riddle wrote "Revelation Song," as recorded by Phillips, Craig & Dean and Kari Jobe.

The 2010 Songwriter of the Year Award will be presented on Wednesday, April 21st during the Opening Ceremonies of the GMA Dove Awards at Nashville's famed Grand Ole Opry House. Admission to the Opening Ceremonies is free with the purchase of a ticket to the Dove Awards, which can be obtained by going to www.gospelmusic.org.

About The Songwriter of the Year Nominees:


FRANCESCA BATTISTELLI

Inspired by legendary jazz greats and current contemporaries like John Mayer and Sara Bareilles, singer/songwriter Francesca Battistelli set out to write pop, soul-infused music that would motivate and encourage listeners. Her exposure to the arts began at a young age with her interest and involvement in theatre, music and dance; and at 15, Francesca began writing and performing her own songs. Since releasing her debut, she has had a string of radio hits including "Free to Be Me" and "I'm Letting Go."


MICHAEL BOGGS

An original member of FFH, Michael Boggs is a songwriter at heart. He currently leads worship at a weekly Bible study for young adults in Brentwood, Tenn., and keeps a rigorous touring schedule, performing and leading worship over 120 days each year. Boggs has lent his songwriting talents to other artists, garnering multiple Top 10 singles as well as a featured song in the major motion picture Facing The Giants. He co-wrote tonight's Song of the Year nominee, "Somebody Like Me," recorded by Jason Crabb.


MIKE DONEHEY

Tenth Avenue North lead singer Mike Donehey is currently prepping for his band's sophomore release on Reunion Records, The Light Meets the Dark, releasing in May. As passionate about ministry as he is about songwriting, this nomination marks Donehey's first Songwriter of the Year nod. He co-wrote Song of the Year nominee "By Your Side," along with Phillip LaRue and fellow nominee Jason Ingram.


JASON INGRAM

Son of well-known speaker/author Chip Ingram, Jason Ingram has become one of the most sought-after songwriters and producers in Christian music. His songs have been recorded by Point of Grace, Avalon and Bebo Norman, among others. He also co-wrote 2009's Song of the Year, "Give Me Your Eyes," with Brandon Heath and is nominated tonight for co-writing Song of the Year nominee "By Your Side." He was Billboard Magazine's 2009 Christian Songwriter of the Year and is a four-time recipient of SESAC's Christian Songwriter of the Year honor.


JENNIE LEE RIDDLE

Jennie Lee Riddle is a Top 25 CCLI writer and Dove Award nominee best known for "Revelation Song" recorded and made popular by Gateway Worship and Kari Jobe, then carried to No. 1 at Christian radio by Phillips, Craig & Dean. Her catalog includes songs recorded by Christ for the Nations, Gateway Worship, and JJ Heller, among others. She enjoys mentoring young artists, leading worship, and writing and is a regular speaker at several Bible colleges and conferences. Riddle currently travels with New Nation Music, the ministry she founded.


NEIL THRASHER

Neil Thrasher began his musical career as part of the duo Thrasher Shiver. He quickly developed a love for songwriting when other artists began recording his songs. Thrasher has had songs recorded by some of country music's biggest acts, including Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Lonestar and many others. In 2004, he was named ASCAP's Songwriter of the Year. Tonight, he's nominated for Song of the Year for his co-writing efforts on Jason Crabb's "Somebody Like Me."

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About GMA: Founded in 1964, the Gospel Music Association serves as the face and voice for the Christian/Gospel music community and is dedicated to exposing, promoting and celebrating the Gospel through music of all styles including Pop, Rock, Praise & Worship, Urban Gospel, R&B, Hip Hop, Southern Gospel, Bluegrass, Country and more. The GMA community consists of more than 2,200 members including agents, artists, church leaders, managers, promoters, radio personnel, record company executives, retailers, songwriters and other industry visionaries. The GMA produces the GMA Dove Awards, GMA Dove Week and IMMERSE. For more on supporting the GMA or becoming a member, please visit www.gospelmusic.org or contact the GMA directly at 615.277.1376.