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Donald Lawrence, Pastor Marvin Sapp, Matthew Brownie & Universal Music Publishing Win Top Honors

Photo: No.1629 -Pictured at the 2009 BMI Christian Music Awards (l-r): 2009 Christian Songwriter of the Year Donald Lawrence; BMI award writer and Christian music legend, Toby Mac.

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NEWS SOURCE: The M Collective
April 19, 2009

NASHVILLE, April 19, 2009 - U.S. performing right organization BMI saluted the writers and publishers of the past year’s most performed songs on Christian radio and television during the annual Christian Music Awards last night at the company’s Music Row offices in Nashville. BMI named Donald Lawrence the 2009 Christian Songwriter of the Year, while “Never Would Have Made It,” co-written by Pastor Marvin Sapp and Matthew Brownie, garnered Song of the Year honors. Universal Music Publishing Group garnered its second consecutive Christian Publisher of the Year crown. BMI Vice President Jody Williams, along with Senior Director Thomas Cain and Associate Director Beth Mason, of BMI’s Writer/Publisher Relations Department in Nashville, presented awards spanning five categories: Christian Rock, Contemporary Christian, Inspirational, Urban Gospel and Southern Gospel. BMI Senior Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Phil Graham joined his staff on stage for the presentation of the night’s top honors, Song, Songwriter, and Publisher of the Year.

Prior to the presentation of awards, guests enjoyed a round of intimate performances from a selection of Christian music’s elite composers and rising stars. 2009 Dove New Artist of the Year nominee Fee front man Steve Fee delivered an acoustic rendition of BMI Award-winner “All Because Of Jesus”; songwriters Jim Daddario and Catt Gravitt, joined by Jim Kimball on guitar, performed their BMI Award-winning composition “In Better Hands,” recorded by Natalie Grant.

Prolific producer, choir director and songwriter Donald Lawrence earned the BMI Songwriter of the Year crystal thanks to his compositions “Giants,” recorded by Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers, and “Livin’,” recorded by the legendary Clark Sisters. A profoundly influential figure in contemporary gospel music, Lawrence was also an honoree at the prestigious BMI Trailblazers of Gospel ceremony in January of this year.

The impassioned testimonial “Never Would Have Made It” garnered the BMI Song of the Year honors for Stellar Award-winner and Grammy-nominated Pastor Marvin Sapp and his esteemed collaborator Matthew Brownie. Recorded by Pastor Sapp on his critically acclaimed album Thirsty, “Never Would Have Made It” was published by Marvin L. Sapp Music and Minstrel Melodies. Pastor Sapp will also vie for the Artist of the Year title at the 2009 Dove Awards on April 23 in Nashville.

The ceremony also feted Publisher of the Year Universal Music Publishing Group (Bridge Building Music, Universal Music-Z Songs). The award is determined by the highest percentage of copyright ownership in award songs, and the company’s four award-winning songs include Donald Lawrence’s two award-winners, as well as “Give Me Words to Speak,” written and performed by Aaron Shust, and “Love Song for a Savior,” co-written and recorded by Matt Bronleewe, Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, and Steve Mason of Jars of Clay.

2007 BMI Christian Songwriter of the Year Mark Hall and Skillet’s John Cooper and Brian Howes (SOCAN) all garnered two awards each. The night’s other big winners included genre-bender tobyMac; genre titan Steven Curtis Chapman; Sanctus Real producer Chris Stevens and Sanctus Real member Dan Gartley; Scott Campbell, guitarist for rock outfit Mainstay; singer-songwriter Matt Maher and Needtobreathe’s Bo Rinehart.

In addition to Universal Music Publishing Group, publishers winning multiple awards were EMI Christian Music Group (EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc., River Oaks Music Company, Sparrow Song, Worship Together Music), Club Zoo Music, Inc., My Refuge Music, SWECS Music, Q W Publishing, Christian Taylor Music, Photon Music, and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

A complete list of the 2009 BMI Christian Awards is available at . Downloadable, high resolution photos and press materials will be available Monday, April 21 at 10 a.m. on . To request access, please contact

Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI) is an American performing right organization that represents more than 375,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music and more than 6.5 million works. BMI’s latest financial results, $901 million for its 2008 fiscal year, are the highest performing right collections for any copyright organization in the world. BMI has represented the most popular and beloved music from around the world for over 65 years. The U.S. corporation collects license fees from businesses that use music, which it then distributes as royalties to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.

A complete list of the 2009 BMI Christian Awards is available at

*Photo: No.1588 -Pictured at the 2009 BMI Christian Awards are the night’s big winners (l-r): BMI’s Thomas Cain; Song of the Year co-writer, Matthew Brownie; Publisher of the Year, Universal Music Publishing Group’s Dale Matthews; Songwriter of the Year, Donald Lawrence; BMI’s Phil Graham; BMI’s Jody Williams; BMI’s Beth Mason.

*Photo: No. 3365 -Dove Award nominee Steve Fee performs his award-winning “All Because of Jesus” at the 2009 BMI Christian Music Awards

*Photo: No. 3424 -Performing "In Better Hands" at the BMI Christian Music Awards are (l-r); co-writers Jim Daddario and Catt Gravitt; joined by Jim Kimball on guitar.

(Photo credit: Steve Lowry)



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