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Attending The 2011 Dove Awards Press Conference

Monday, February 21, 2011

Attending The 2011 Dove Awards Press Conference

42nd Annual Dove Award Press Conference
February 16, 2011 (Report by Ryan Barbee)

Atlanta. Home of Coca-Cola, the 1996 Olympics, decent fried chicken, and some of the most popular mainstream hip hop. In addition to these fine attributes, Atlanta will be the home of this year’s Dove Awards. Is it a natural fit? Some would say, “Oh yes!”  To me? Not really.

This past Wednesday I had the privilege of attending the Dove Award Press Conference at The Fabulous Fox Theatre (Yes it is called “The Fabulous…” I’m not being flamboyantly excited about the place – that’s just the literal name of the building.)

As I left my car in a sketchy parking lot with a police officer arresting a homeless person I kept thinking, “Is this really the place they thought would best suit the Dove Awards?” With my cynicism in high gear and a smile on my face I walked the two blocks over to the theatre in high hopes for what I was about to see. But as I approached the building it was eerily quiet. I asked myself, “Is this the right place?” Thankfully a sign saying “42nd Annual Dove Awards Press Conference: Upstairs,” let me know that I wasn’t crazy.

The information I was sent said that the press conference would begin at 10 o’clock SHARP! And according to southern tradition (please forgive the twang) – if ya 15 minutes early den ya on-time. If ya on-time den ya late! If ya late, ya fired! With this mindset in play I figured it would be wise to arrive 15 minutes early. And thus begins my recording of the event… please excuse my sarcasm (I actually enjoyed myself.)

9:45 (I’ve inserted this time just for time reasons.)
I have arrived. Get my computer out and look like I’m doing something.

9:49
The GMA crew is still setting up for the Press Conference. They’re trying to set up a TV and it looks like it’s not working very well at all.

One of the organizers named Jules comes out to greet everyone. She’s very polite and cordial but looks like she’s as stressed as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. The crowd has people from Gospel Music Channel, TBN, etc.

9:50
Some Dove “Trophies” are put out for all to see. How pretty! J

9:54
Elevator music begins to fill the room. It’s kind of pitiful the way the music sounds. Why not play some of the music that’s being nominated? Maybe that’s too practical… it’s just a suggestion.

9:58
The photographer in front of me asks what time it is. The pictures he’s taken so far are amazing. And he takes them like it’s nothing. His work is beautiful, simple, and he makes it look effortless…

10:00
Haven’t started yet… so much for SHARP

10:01
Everyone’s mingling… I’m not. I’m not that kind of guy. Mingling always wigs me out.

The tech guys are still testing the microphones. OH! And one of the tech guys just knocked over a Dove… awesome!

10:02
GMA’s sharpness is looking to be about as sharp as a 3 year olds plastic butter knife.

10:04
Let’s get this show on the road!

People are having “pretend” conversations… with fake laughs and religious banter. Either that or “Professional Christians” are really just that shallow.

10:05
They’ve decided to put up another TV. It took them about 20 minutes to set the other one up… Let’s see how this one does. These TVs look like they’ve been thrown around in the back of a garbage truck for the past 4 years.

10:07
Jules announces that they’ll be beginning soon so everyone starts to take their seats.

10:10
Such intriguing conversations…

This one guy has a great time cutting his dog’s hair… tulips are totally in this season… I give expensive presents on Valentine’s Day.

Oh Lord, save me!

10:16
They begin…

The Chairman says that Atlanta is so well known for Christian music… he must be confused. We’ve got Coca-Cola, the ’96 Olympics, and Ludacris! Yeah, we’ve got a few artists who make their home in the metro Atlanta area but just cuz you bake with an easy bake oven doesn’t make you the Ace of Cakes!

10:17
The artists walk out… together.  They remind me of the original American Gladiators. Not in the way they look but… I mean come on! That’s a bunch of Christian Artist MEGA STARS!

Wow - Mac Powell really does look like Jesus.

10:18
Everyone in the audience clears their throat at the same time. That was weird. I guess I missed the memo on “what time to clear your throat.”

Carlos Whitaker is as tough looking as his album cover makes him look.

10:20
Bishop Morton opens the conference up in prayer. Very nice!

10:22
Once started… it doesn’t stop! I could barely breathe. They announced the nominees for their respective categories. (click here for the FULL list)

Mandisa
Third Day
Lecrae
Francesca Batistelli
Sisters

10:46
That was a lot of information in a very short amount of time.

The GMA Chair mentions that this year they will have the Dove Awards focusing on the pastors and church choirs this year. Paying honor where honor is due. Which I think is a very cool thing.

10:48
Bishop Morton closes us in prayer. This guy is good. He doesn’t pray exasperatingly too long but aims straight at the heart of prayer. Many thanks Bishop! 

10:50
News crews and reporters bum rush the artists. I should probably stand out of the way.

My overall thought of the nominees is very mixed. It seems more and more that the popular adult contemporary music is the only thing really highlighted. Yeah there are a few standout selections of rap, rock, and alternative, but as a whole… it’s the same artists every year. And if not the same artists – it’s just the same music with different packaging. While yes, my respect for the artists is there, my heart kind of sinks for those who really aren’t getting much recognition.

They should come up with a recipe for “How to Win a Dove Award.”
1 cup of contemporary recycled lyrics
3 ounces of 4 year aged CMR radio play
1 teaspoon of Chris Tomlin
½ cup of butter
Stir until it sounds like what won in previous years.
Bake at 350 degrees for 14 months or until it’s reached Gold status in sales.
Voila! A Dove Award!

This might sound like I’m trying to bash the Dove Awards. I’m not. I honestly respect what all of these artists do. They give music that honors God and blesses the listener. But to deny the reality of what is… would be lying. However on the bright side, looking at what is to come this year it’s as if the Doves will have no option but to recognize the greatness that will be released. Think about it: Switchfoot, Blindside, Eisley, David Crowder*Band, Phil Wickham, Leeland, Family Force 5… 2011 is a year for music! And that’s something to celebrate. So if we don’t hear them receiving recognition during next year’s awards… maybe we should start a riot. Not really – cause that would be bad. But hey, that might fit-in in Atlanta just right.

11:10
I’ve arrived back at my car. That was fun.

~ Ryan Barbee

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