The red carpet was rolled out at the Franklin Theatre on Monday night, but it wasn’t for a film premiere. Instead, the historic movie house — which also has become an in-demand concert venue — hosted the 36th annual ASCAP Christian Music Awards.
Pictured (l-r): ASCAP's Michael Martin, Publisher of the Year Capitol CMG Publishing President Eddie DeGarmo, ASCAP100 honorees Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, ASCAP Song of the Year winner and Songwriter of the Year honoree Matthew West, ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams and ASCAP's LeAnn Phelan.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers recognized the songwriters and publishers of the year’s most-performed Christian music songs, and two of the top honors went to Matthew West. The Nashville artist was named songwriter of the year, following a 2013 that saw his song “Hello My Name Is” atop the Christian charts for 17 weeks. “Hello,” which West penned alone, also was named ASCAP’s song of the year.
Capitol CMG Publishing earned its 11th straight award for publisher of the year, boasting 11 most-performed songs.
West told The Tennessean he “couldn’t be happier” about the ride “Hello” has been on. It was inspired by a letter he received from a fan — a recovering drug addict who’d learned to believe in himself and rebuild his life.
“I got to give a No. 1 plaque to this young man who told me his story, and the fact that he can see how many people that his story has touched, it comes with a really special sense of gratification. Tonight’s really a celebration of the power of a true story, and how when we tell our story, we can impact somebody else’s life.”
West took the stage to play “Hello” during the show. Other performances and tributes came from Michael W. Smith, Ashley Cleveland, MercyMe and PawnShop Kings
.ASCAP is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and to coincide with that milestone, Middle Tennessee Christian stars Amy Grant and Smith received special career awards from the show’s host, ASCAP Chairman and President Paul Williams(himself a songwriting legend who penned “Rainbow Connection”). Before the show, Smith said he was “overwhelmed” by the honor.
“You always think that somebody that gets this award should be like 80 years old or something,” he said with a laugh. “But, you know what? I’m grateful, and I think it’s kind of cool that it’s not only me, but it’s Amy Grant, and there’s so much history there with us. We didn’t know we were blazing a trail. We were just doing what we loved to do, and it connected.”
- credit The Belle Report