By DEBORAH EVANS PRICE
One of the things I love most about Grammy Award nominations are those intriguing surprises that make industry folks scratch their heads and ask, ‘‘What?’’ In the Christian music community, there were a few pleasant surprises, like Kenny Bishop’s nomination for best Southern, country or bluegrass gospel album for his self-titled Daywind release. Bishop exited the music industry a few years ago to work with Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher. This marked his return to Southern gospel music, and it topped my list of the best albums in 2006 on billboard.com. ...
‘‘Awards and recognitions have never been my motivation to share Christ, but they do give me a reason to do my craft as well as I possibly can,’’ Bishop says. ‘‘I’ve tried to think of a more creative way to say how surprised and excited I am with all of this, but I think I’m too simple to say anything more than I’m humbled and very, very grateful.’’
Every format is always looking to break acts, so it’s encouraging for the Christian/gospel community to see so many new artists receive nominations. Among the first-time nominees are Leeland and Red, both great new acts on Essential. Gotee Records also has new songbirds Sarah Kelly and Ayiesha Woods in the running, while EMI artists Kierra ‘‘KiKi’’ Sheard and Myron Butler & Levi received nods, as well.
Slanted Records band DecembeRadio got its first nomination in the best rock or rap gospel album for its self-titled debut. ‘‘Even though we knew what we were trying to accomplish with this album, it very much surprised us when the Grammy voters also took notice,’’ DecembeRadio’s Eric Miker says. ‘‘We feel very humbled and honored that the ÆacademyØ members feel we are worthy of this recognition.’’