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NASHVILLE -- Music awards shows will soon be back in full swing in Music City, and one star-studded gathering will stand out from the pack.

The Gospel Music Association Dove Awards will recognize all kinds of music makers - from rock to rap, bluegrass, country and soul - when it returns to Lipscomb University's Allen Arena on October 7. That diversity was driven home on Wednesday as this year's nominees were announced by a wide range of Christian music stars.

Reigning artist of the year TobyMac had the honor of revealing the 2014 nominees in the category, which included Nashville's own Mandisa along with Casting Crowns, Hillsong UNITED, Lecrae, NEEDTOBREATHE and Switchfoot.

Those artists weren't on hand to celebrate on Wednesday, but several others were, including Brandon Heath. The Nashville singer-songwriter earned two nominations, and as a big fan of fellow presenter Tasha Cobbs, he made sure to say hello to the Atlanta-based gospel singer. Outside of the Doves, many of the nominees' paths don't often cross.

"We have a common God that we worship, and so there is a very specific commonality between us," he said. "I think that's what's cool about the GMA. We're very diverse, but we can offer something together and collaborate."

Chicago soul/folk artist Jonathan McReynolds - who scored a nod for contemporary gospel/urban song of the year - sang a similar tune.

"We're all doing this for Jesus," he said. "Honestly, we're all going in the same direction."

Beyond the nominations, there was more good news to go around on Wednesday. The association's executive director Jackie Patillo announced that the awards show would air for the first time on Trinity Broadcasting Network, reaching more than 100 milion homes in the United States.

The show will be staged at Allen Arena for the second year in a row, and Patillo trumpeted the association's new permanent residence on the Lipscomb campus, thanks to the "embrace, support and vision" of the university.

Nashville also continues to be a homebase for contemporary Christian music artists, labels and publishers.

"Nashville blew my mind with the amount of music getting made right outside our back door," said Jodi King of Love & The Outcome. The married musical duo- nominees for new artist of the year - moved to Nashville from Canada a year and a half ago.

Wednesday's presenters seemed to make fast friends, joking as they took a group photo on stage after the announcements.

"There's no competition," Cobbs said. "It's just appreciation. And that's what I love about the Doves."

The 2014 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards takes place Tuesday, October 7 at Lipscomb University's Allen Arena. Tickets are $35-$200 and are on sale now at www.doveawards.com.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Dove Awards spread nominees across Christian genres

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